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How campaign reached five million people with help from MSN

How campaign reached five million people with help from MSN


Part of the Shop Direct family, Littlewoods Direct rebranded its online catalogue to in July 2009.

Designed with internet savvy customers in mind, the website ( gives consumers the opportunity to shop across a variety of product areas, including fashion and footwear to home and electrical, plus clothing ranges by designers and celebrities including Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton, Steve Jones, Jasmine Guinness and Denise Van Outen.

To contribute toward its rebranding, approached Microsoft Advertising with a brief to drive brand awareness amongst its online target audience of women aged 25-44 who value: prompt delivery, easy to place orders, well organised website, high quality products and a good value for money.


Drawing on its research and in-depth understanding of online consumer behaviour, Microsoft Advertising proposed a campaign that would run across MSN, a particularly popular platform amongst women aged 25-44.

Since 1995, MSN has become one of the world’s most influential news and entertainment portals, reaching 69% of the UK’s internet audience with a total of 28.9 million unique users a month (Comscore May 2011).

Using behavioural and demographic targeting, the campaign was designed to maximize user engagement and interactivity with this audience. The campaign was made up of two key elements - display advertising and an editorially-led content partnership - with a view to improving brand awareness and encouraging user engagement, resulting in increased traffic to’s existing brand strategy is to engage customers in creative content using social media, including its VBlog and interactive online magazine. It also uses print to showcase ranges, inspiring customers with the latest looks from the catwalk and offering special deals. Bringing exclusive MSN content together with the portal’s scale and expertise was a natural fit for the brand’s strategy.


Microsoft Advertising designed and built a content hub on MSN called ‘Fashion Clinic’, which featured an editorial campaign lasting five weeks and drove traffic to the campaign’s microsite. The content partnership included:

  • Editorial links on the MSN Homepage and ‘editor’s picks’ to drive traffic to the content hub
  • Editorial features including ‘user’s dilemmas’, product galleries pulled from, online polls, and ‘test yourself’ quizzes to drive engagement and participation
  • An advertising feature on MSN Life & Style linking to
  • Weekly galleries featuring products from the site

A MSN homepage takeover drove MSN users to In addition, behavioural and demographically targeted display advertising was served throughout the MSN in order to maximise the effectiveness of the campaign and reach’s specific target audience.


By combining targeted advertising with high-reach activity such as the MSN homepage takeover and the Fashion Clinic content hub,’s MSN campaign reached 4.9 million people and 429,000 of MSN users who viewed the online campaign went on to visit

In total, 11.7% of women aged 25-44 who saw the campaign went on to visit in the month after exposure, a result which exceeded expectations and demonstrated the campaign was highly effective -  a far higher visit rate than women 25-44 who didn’t see the campaign (2.6%).

The average number of pages viewed per person on increased following exposure to the MSN campaign, with the average time spent on the site also increasing by 7% amongst women 25-44.

  • Overall, the campaign increased brand awareness by +7% to 84%
  • The online advertising awareness questionnaire indicated that the campaign had increased advertising awareness by +6% to 52%
  • The content partnership drove brand favourability up from 29% to 63% and increased recommendation up by 14% to 49%
  • 54% of people that engaged with the campaign said they would tell other people about the microsite

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