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Part of the Family campaign wins two CASSIES for Leon’s

 12 March 2018     Michael J. Knell 

TORONTO – The Part of the Family campaign waged nationally across several media by Leon’s Furniture over the 16-month period ending in July 2017 earned two CASSIES for excellence in advertising from the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) and Strategy magazine.

The furniture retailer – whose in-house team was led by marketing managers Lewis Leon and Andrea Graham and content marketing manager Autumn Hachey – and its Toronto-based agency, Taxi, picked up two bronze awards: one, in the ‘building brand equity’ category and the other in the ‘new brand positioning’ category.

“For years, Leon’s relied on promotion-based advertising to drive store traffic. However, this created the perception of discounts and outdated styles. The retailer needed to reposition itself with younger shoppers for future growth,” the organisers said in announcing the award.

“Running nationally from March 2016 to July 2017 and supported by a $5-plus million budget, the Part of the Family campaign by Taxi shifted Leon’s from promotions to communicating its role in Canadian homes,” they continued.

This upholstery group was part of the CASSIE Award winning Part of the Family campaign created by the Taxi advertising agency for Leon’s Furniture. The campaign was for those Canadians who feel overwhelmed and intimidated by design and feel style can be a bit of a gamble. “People don’t want precious design, they want homes that are styled for real life. Leon’s wanted to show that it offers furniture that is part of the family,” the organisers noted.

Traditionally, Leon’s – one of two banners (the other is The Brick) operated by the publicly-held Leon’s Furniture Limited – was entirely promotion-focused in its advertising but in recent years the competitive environment changed and the company wanted to improve its image in the eye of the consumer.

In its submission to the organisers, the team from Taxi also noted Leon’s needed to reposition for future growth.

“Leon’s had relied heavily on price promotions for years, and though their product has improved significantly of late, little investment had been made to shift perceptions about the brand beyond pricing. On top of that, they faced more competition than ever before,” they said. “In order to grow, Leon’s loyal, but aging consumer base needed to be augmented with younger shoppers who were moving into their prime furniture buying years. This group perceives Leon’s as a store that’s quite out of step with the times.”

In fact, these younger consumers have different and higher expectations. While value is still important to then, they don’t want to forgo style and quality. “They’ve grown up in a new age of accessible design and won’t trade off style for value. If we couldn’t challenge the perception that Leon’s was the store of brown puffy couches, we’d never make it onto their list,” the agency explained. “So, we needed to evolve the brand, to challenge deeply held perceptions, in order to be relevant with this new generation of consumers. We needed to move beyond promotions and build deeper emotional connections. But we knew we couldn’t win on style or inspiration alone – we needed to find a distinct point of view for the brand.”

As consumers primarily associated Leon’s with furniture, they wanted stretch the brand to include mattresses, appliances, outdoor furniture and other product categories. They need to create a high-level brand message that would support specific product, drive tactical promotions and work across all media channels.

TV spots were created to show Leon’s products across a range of living scenarios, such as the whole family (including the dog) sleeping on a mattress, or kids and dads playing on a cross-sectional sofa.

Part of the Family was introduced to consumers with in-store signage, videos and flyers. The agency also said that as of mid-July 2017, sales increased 4.6% over the prior period with a 5% increase in store visits among consumers in the targeted 30 to 40 age bracket.

Now held annually, the CASSIES is Canada’s premier advertising award program and the only one focused on the effect advertising has on driving advertisers’ business.

The program requires the agencies entering to submit case studies showing that advertising is a prudent investment that pays out against measurable criteria. The case study supporting the Part of the Family campaign can be found on the award’s web site at http://cassies.ca/entry/viewcase/53908.

Leon’s was the only furniture retailer recognised in this year’s competition. It won a silver award in 2017 for its Moving Day campaign in Quebec.

To see one of the Part of the Family television commercials, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EwDVmZlgrw


LVM Feb 2018
Stearns & Foster
This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.


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