Primark. The Season's Worst-Kept Secret.
the challenge. Christmas 2022 was set to be dismal, to say the least. In a time of ‘permacrisis’, with the after-whiff of the pandemic pushing us into a cost of living debacle unlike anything we’ve ever seen, how could Primark show off its extensive Christmas offering without encouraging over-consumption, and cut through in one of the busiest times of the year for high-street brands?
the work. The season’s worst-kept secret. An idea born of truth: that whenever anyone pays a compliment on something you’ve got from Primark, you can’t wait to tell them where you got it from. It also worked on a seasonal level, as what Primark offers in terms of festive fashion, gifting, homeware and licence is so varied, people can hardly believe it’s Primark.
As a senior creative, I was responsible for coming up with the concept itself, and crafting the language to reflect the cheeky underdog tone of the brand, leading to the campaign line ‘The Season’s Worst-Kept Secret’, supported by the complimentary subline of ‘PSST- IT’S PRIMARK!’ I worked closely with an art director and designers to bring that tone to life visually, inspired by kitsch pop culture, and bright blasts of colour seen in the fashion world from the likes of Moschino - helping us stand out from the stereotypical Christmas colour palette of other brands. This was a fully integrated global campaign, including windows (and translations for non-english speaking territories), in store videos and POS, an online 30” spot for website and social, social media activity and stunts: all supporting this sense of very badly kept secrecy.
In terms of the shoot, I was involved in both casting, and then down in London for 5 days (during the hottest week on record, FYI), working closely with the director and DOP to capture a myriad of content: window shots, general e-commerce product shots, and with the videography team to tick off our 30” launch video. For the film itself, I wanted to pull from the world of retro, ‘breaking news’ reels: so we included props such as binoculars, newspapers and old fashioned telephones to give a sense of gratuitous, gossipy goodness that people could not wait to spread.
In terms of our socials, I created several launch stunts such as adding everyone to Primark’s close friend list on Instagram, and a fake ‘leaked email’ to drive awareness and make the concept feel even more holistic: from high-street, to hand-held device.
the results. This was a big creative shift for Primark, in the sense that their campaigns have historically been heavily visually focused, without a core concept or even supporting copy. I’m proud to have provided them with a creative idea so deeply embedded in their own brand truth, that they couldn’t wait to launch it (November 1st, 2022). In this sense, I guess you could say that it was their worst-kept secret too.