<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=998375496925788&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Watford BID

A record-breaking digital campaign drives a return to the high street.

A record-breaking digital campaign drives a return to the high street.

After a series of challenging years for retail, it was time to continue bringing consumers back to the high street and spending their money locally.


We Are Acuity had previously created assets for promoting the Watford Gift Card for Watford Business Improvement District (BID). This gift card can now be used in more than 150 shops, restaurants, salons and other businesses in Watford, and following our 2021 Christmas campaign surpassing its sales target by over 700%, we knew there certainly was an appetite for town-centre spending that we could build on further.


Now with more businesses on board and with greater sales ambition, our challenge was to plan and execute a full 12-month digital campaign which continued to raise awareness of the gift card, whilst identifying and targeting key ‘gifting’ opportunities throughout the year.


A key priority was to ensure that each part of the campaign felt fresh, but was still immediately identifiable as part of the same activity, triggering recall in the viewer and helping to build awareness of the gift card through each iteration.



Watford BID and the We Are Acuity team identified a range of potential campaign windows, before selecting Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the end of the school term, exam results and of course Christmas as the points on the calendar most likely to generate the largest response. Each is a traditional gift-giving occasion, so the perfect opportunity to promote ‘The Gift of Choice’ that the Watford Gift Card offers.


With the card available as both a physical and digital gift, we planned to promote the physical card at the beginning of longer campaigns, and switch to the e-card towards the end (and for shorter periods), hooking last-minute shoppers with its instant, job-done nature.


Using the previous Christmas campaign as a starting point, we evolved the creative to suit each of the targeted gift-giving periods, highlighting the kinds of moments each lucky recipient could enjoy.

ezgif.com-gif-maker (1)-2


The previous campaign had also shown us the most effective digital channels to reach our audience:


  • Google Display Banner Ads would be used to hit a wide audience in and around Watford, raising awareness of the gift card
  • Google Search Ads would target a specific set of search terms from locations in and around Watford, giving the ads a much greater conversion rate
  • Facebook Carousels were served to people based on location, age and platform, with additional targeting based on relevant interests.


As the key gift-giving period of the year, a higher proportion of the budget was allocated to the Christmas push. The digital campaign was supported by a kiosk and a range of marketing assets we created in the Watford Atria Shopping Centre itself, ideal for capturing the attention of shoppers already in the purchase state-of-mind. These physical assets were designed and delivered by We Are Acuity in the style of the existing campaign, helping to build a link between the digital ads shoppers may have already seen, and the immediacy of the gift card being available there and then.



With the success of the 2021 campaign, sales targets for 2022 were understandably more ambitious. Despite that, our campaign generated sales over 30% higher than the targets, and beating 2021 sales by a whopping 450%.


In total, for the five campaigns in the year, we received over 1.2 million impressions on Facebook and nearly 5.1 million impressions with our Google Display ad. This, combined, generated 8,200 click throughs to the sales hub.   


“Gift Card sales have gone amazingly well for us this Christmas – it shows the marketing has been working.”

Glen Hempenstall, Marketing and Communications Manager, Watford BID


This increase in gift-card sales told the story of shoppers and socialisers wanting to return to their local high street, which is an encouraging sign for every business in every town centre.


+6.3 million impressions.
+8,200 clicks.
450% higher sales in 2022 (over 2021).


If you’d like We Are Acuity to help you reach your local customers more effectively, then why not schedule a FREE 30-minute assessment today here? It will be well worth your time.


Or alternatively read more about Local Marketing on our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog