A campaign which helped resuscitate the “struggling” Jessops brand and take it back to its former glories by utilising left-of-field thinking, quirky humour, and little help from staff (including its most famous employee).

The Brief

When headlines rang out in January 2013 that Jessops had fallen into administration, it appeared there was no light at the end of the lens for this failing brand. Jessops had fallen off the radar, a brand lost to a generation who took selfies with their smartphones. We had a challenge- and response targets- to meet: we had to revive the Jessops brand to its former status as a household favourite while also promoting its website and driving sales in the make or break run-up to Christmas. If that wasn’t enough, Jessops’ new owner Peter Jones wasn’t a fan of advertising.
Central to the campaign was regaining trust and prompting reappraisal of the brand. We needed to leverage Jones- a businessman synonymous with backing successful businesses- in a left-of-field manner, otherwise we were in danger of not achieving stand out. Twinning Jones with the expertise and camera knowledge of Jessops staff in a quirky manner would give people a reason to talk about Jessops again.


Jessops’ reputation had been built on expert service from staff, so we needed to demonstrate that not even a well-respected business guru could do their job. Thus #BeardedDragon was born. We devised the idea of testing Jones out as a sales assistant, in the disguise of a “bearded dragon”. Through this, we would generate fly-on-the-wall content of his real experiences, while the real Jones would interact with his 800,000 Twitter followers and those that uncovered his true identity.

A tease and reveal campaign created buzz- using SecondSync and Google Analytics data to gauge audience hotspots, tweet volume and web traffic. We launched with two second blipverts featuring the disguised Jones, followed by tweets from Jones asking if people were ready to meet the #BeardedDragon. Lord Sugar and Piers Morgan got involved, driving interest before we went live with a 30 second ad during I’m a Celebrity. Ads ran in national newspapers, Twitter buzz was created through Jessops and Jones’ account, while online display retargeting was used to retain leads generated.

The Results

The results were staggering. A near quadrupling in expected ROI delivering £78 for every £1 spent, and almost 4,000 Twitter mentions without paid-for social support, delivering over 36 million impressions worth £360,000. Over the course of the campaign website traffic increased by 87% and sales by 118%. Even Richard Branson blogged about the campaign. Crucially, more brands are now lining up to work with a retail brand whose market share is climbing.

Neil Old, (Chief Operating Officer) at Jessops said: “As this was our first Christmas it was critically important that we were able to amplify the message and impact that a very limited budget would normally deliver. Through careful planning, targeting, the use of social media and an incredibly close working relationship with the7Stars we once again made Jessops a household name and this time for all the right reasons.”

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