Assessing Pan-European Campaigns
McArthurGlen’s new marketing team faced a dilemma which is
common to those with marketing responsibilities in multiple
territories – to what extent should their brand communication
strategy be standardised?
Insight. Strategy. Implementation.
Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 2 of 6
IS PAN-EUROPEAN ADVERTISING WORKING?
McArthurGlen’s new group marketing team faced a problem which is common to marketers operating across
multiple geographies; to what degree should the organisation balance the benefits of a standardised marketing
communication programme with the needs of country markets in aligning themselves with consumer
preferences and distinguishing themselves from local competitors.
McArthurGlen introduced factory outlet retailing to
Europe in 1995 and has since has become the leading
developer and manager of designer outlet villages in
In 2008, the company operated 18 European sites, and
partnered with hundreds of luxury brands offering
discounts of 30-70% off manufacturers recommended
retail prices in attractive, out-of-town environments.
Twelve of McArthurGlen’s designer outlet villages are
owned by international asset management company
Henderson Global Investors (HGI), the sponsor of this
McArthurGlen had been marketing all of its European
sites under the tagline 'Guilt-Free Shopping' since 2005.
Changes in group marketing leadership and agency
relationships meant this strategy was due for re-
appraisal. But, before the incoming team began to
develop a new approach, HGI’s asset managers
requested an independent assessment of the
performance of the campaign in Europe to understand
whether it was delivering the desired benefits to the
business and to highlight examples of sharp and incisive
delivery which could be socialised among marketing
teams in multiple countries.
Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 3 of 6
Lucidity London were commissioned by retail marketing
specialist BWP Group to help them evaluate the impact
of McArthurGlen’s 'Guilt-Free Shopping' campaign on
the performance of three designer outlet villages in
Troyes (near Paris), Rome and Berlin.
Before we began to develop a framework for assessing
the effectiveness of the campaign, we set up a feasibility
study to determine whether key datasets were going to
be available or if anything crucial was going to be
Data briefs were sent to McArthurGlen’s country
marketers to gather business performance data over the
modelling period, and market-related data held
internally which might explain changes in performance
(e.g. advertising campaigns, events, promotions,
economic variables, seasonal trends and more).
McArthurGlen’s internal systems captured weekly
footfall, sales and ATV data, so we chose to base our
model on weekly footfall volumes over the 3 year period
the campaign had been on show.
Business performance, adspend and marketing planning
data arrived for each village, along with copies of
creative treatments and evaluation reports of individual
events and activities.
To understand the influence of external factors on
footfall e.g. trends in disposable income, clothing
expenditure, consumer confidence, competitor
expenditure and weather conditions, we briefed local
research and media monitoring organisations to source
data in a weekly time-series format.
When datasets began to arrive, they were translated,
checked for inconsistencies and variation, and then
introduced in to our initial model to determine whether
we had robust data on the main factors driving footfall
to each village.
Three Market Mix Models were created (one for each
village) and an examination of relationships between
individual variables and footfall began. In particular, we
focused attention on media expenditure, competitor
activity and macro-economic factors to determine
whether these were influencing footfall at each village,
and to what degree they were influential.
A campaign report was produced for each village, with a
clear view of all marketing expenditures and activities
undertaken and an assessment of the impact of the
Guilt-Free Shopping campaign on footfall. Furthermore,
we highlighted several key factors that were influencing
that performance alongside examples of high quality
delivery of the campaign.
Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 4 of 6
The ‘Guilt Free Shopping’ campaign was created in the UK
by the creative agency Publicis Dialog to appeal to
affluent consumers across Europe. The creative
executions featured images of women in passionate
embraces with products purchased at McArthurGlen’s
designer outlet villages, and attempted to capture the
abundance, style and quality of designer clothing and
accessories available at each outlet village.
Source: McArthurGlen, Oct 2008
Example of a high level overview of an individual campaign activity
Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 5 of 6
The ‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign coincided with a
period of growing footfall and sales at each village and our
study was able to provide evidence of how part of that
growth was driven by the communication campaign.
However isolating the effects of advertising is typically
difficult and time-consuming, and to do so effectively
companies must design a measurement framework
before their campaign starts.
In executing this campaign though, McArthurGlen’s
local marketing teams didn’t put sufficient measures
in place to assess the group’s investment in reaching
advertising goals - like increasing consumer
awareness, consideration, preference or loyalty. They
were so focused on driving footfall they committed
too much expenditure to media purchasing, and too
little on advertising performance assessment.
There was also strong evidence to suggest that the
‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign was only partially
implemented in some European markets. Anecdotally
this was due to the use of the word ‘guilt’ which is tied
up in complicated socio-cultural/religious nuances.
For this reason, marketing teams in France and Italy
judged the ‘Guilt-Free’ copy line to be unusable as a
messaging strategy, which meant the campaign was
little more than a set of high fashion images and
layouts for adverts.
For McArthurGlen’s incoming marketing team, the
programme highlighted the importance of
establishing a methodology, budget and a line of
responsibility for assessing the effectiveness of
advertising in individual country markets.
For Henderson’s asset managers though, the question
was whether McArthurGlen should continue with a
standardised communication programme in Europe to
keep control of the brand image close to corporate HQ
and deliver economies of scale in marketing. Or should
marketing be decentralised so individual business units
can focus on meeting local consumer preferences while
driving differentiation among local competitors?
To this question, we recommended retaining the current
strategy. The evidence from our study showed that each
village was working to a tailored marketing plan and were
suitably adapting head office generated campaigns to
their own needs. Differentiator’s such as the village
environment and anchor brands available were receiving
some prominence in campaign collateral, and the
company’s core message 'big brands at reduced prices'
was applied very consistently.
As well as answering this question, our evaluation also
uncovered multiple examples of sharp and incisive
campaign delivery, particularly in the areas of customer
events, consumer research, digital communication and
Actionable insights and communication efficiencies like
these were written up as best practices and socialised
between marketers in a dedicated exchange forum which
featured excellence in marketing performance.