Viking eyes consumer appeal with relaunch

Viking: launching new ad campaign voiced by Chris Evans
Viking: launching new ad campaign voiced by Chris Evans

Office supplies company Viking Direct is relaunching with a multimillion-pound campaign that positions it as a consumer-friendly brand, as it looks to challenge Amazon's dominance in the sector.

Viking Direct, owned by Office Depot, sells office furniture and technology products to smalland medium-sized businesses. However it is now set to widen its focus to include consumers under the shorter trading name Viking.

The company hired branding agency Lippincott to devise the fresh positioning and visual identity, as well as redesign its website to feature more product reviews and a greater emphasis on usability.

The ad campaign to promote the changes, created by retail specialist Gratterpalm, features the voice of TV and radio presenter Chris Evans.

A 30-second spot, incorporating the strapline 'All the inspiration your office needs', features a fictional company buying its supplies from Viking and subsequently winning a business pitch. It also includes sequences set outside the office environment to reflect the company's efforts to appeal both to SMEs and consumers.

The campaign broke this week, with TV ads supported by radio work, including on Heart FM, and outdoor. Planning and buying were handled by Feather Brooksbank.

'The distinction (between companies and consumers) is not obvious any more. SMEs need a one-stop shop, and we supply everything from phones to coffee-makers. We are now making ourselves more relevant to consumers,' said John O'Keeffe, commercial director at Viking.

He added that Viking is developing a mobile site, although initially it will not be transactional. 'There are now more searches made on smartphones than on PCs, and this is a market that did not even exist two years ago,' he said.

Dixons Retail dominates the electronics sector with a 22.8% market share, which includes offline and online sales.

Amazon, however, is the UK's leading online retailer. It has quadrupled its share of the total general retail market (offline and online) to 5.2% - on a par with John Lewis - over the past five years, according to research by Verdict Datamonitor.

Viking Direct started trading 20 years ago as a mail-order business, but now achieves 40% of its sales via its website. About 560,000 people use the website annually.

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