Sep 9, 2020
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Freemans in “ground-breaking” rebrand, airs TV campaign, links with Julien Macdonald

Sep 9, 2020

Online shopping giant Freemans on Wednesday unveiled what it calls a “ground-breaking” new multi-platform retail strategy and rebranding. Relaunching as “a vibrant digital department store, this marks an exciting new chapter,” Freemans, which is the largest UK brand owned by Germany’s Otto Group, said.


As part of the new branding Freemans has also dropped the ‘.com’ from its name and introduced a new signature ‘f’. 

It’s spending multi-million pounds to roll out its new retail concept across the website, app, social channels, publications and advertising as part of an 18-month repositioning programme. The rebranding has been developed in-house over the last three months.

Freemans was originally a catalogue brand and, like others such as Very Group and Next that had giant catalogue operations, has reinvented itself as a pureplay e-tailer. 

And while such businesses would seem to have an in-built advantage as online sales continue to boom, competition is becoming more intense both from pureplay newcomers and from physical retailers building up their omnichannel operations.

It all means long-standing players need to stay ahead of the curve constantly and Freemans said that the digital department store “not only defines the brand’s new modern identity, but places product at its core with the biggest influx of new product and brands in over 10 years”.

The revamp has a “more concise and contemporary aesthetic,” we’re told, while brands like Radley, Seasalt, Joules, Dorothy Perkins, Quiz, Miss Selfridge, Hiit, Sheridan and Villeroy & Boch are joining the retailer for the first time. And an exclusive partnership with UK designer Julien Macdonald is set to launch in Spring 2021. 

A new campaign supported by the strapline #BeMoreFree “aims to highlight the brand’s position as a leading multi-category digital destination with a breadth of new choice”.

A TV campaign will premier online via Facebook and on TV on September 12 “as the brand moves into prime time for the first time,” with network ITV spots running across the weekend. 

And the firm is marking a “significant shift in spend away from paper toward digital and social”. This includes a digital-first partnership with Mail Metro Media that will see MailOnline and MetroOnline creating exclusive editorial content for the brand.  

Chief Customer Officer Richard Cristofoli said: “We think there’s never been a better time for launching a vibrant digital department store backed by [a] new product offer and a refreshed credit proposition.

“The reality is people carry the largest catalogue in the world in their pocket. It’s not about removing all paper but refocusing it on inspirational magazine-like content and then letting the m-site and app do the catalogue and content role.”

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