Here's a Funny Way to Liven Up Tired Old Furniture Advertising

Gardner-White messes with the formula

"The largest selection." "Same-day delivery." "No interest for years."

Such claims have ruled local furniture-store advertising at least since Edison (or whoever) invented the reclining chair. They're often delivered by a chain's namesake, at maximum volume, from a showroom awash with suede and vinyl. 

Could there be another way? A more creative approach a chain might use to deliver its promotional message?

Cue Detroit-based Gardner-White, which employs edgy humor from DeVito/Verdi in quickie 15-second spots with unexpected elements, including marital strife and a herd of anxious cows: 

Gardner-White | Selection
Gardner-White | Delivery
Gardner-White | Quality
Gardner-White | Interest

Dude's a sofa now. Heh.

So, DeVito/Verdi, did you find this approach under the cushions one day or what?

"We felt they needed a voice," says agency account service director Andy Brief. So, the team decided to portray Gardner-White "as an approachable, none-too-serious retailer. For the most part, the category's advertising is a sea of sameness. It seems the philosophy is that in order to be heard, you have to scream, usually via a price/item promotion. So, rarely you see a conceptual approach to support retailers in the category." 

The agency also tried to bend the category need for continuous promotion to its advantage. 

"There is a need for a high-volume of spots, which led us to find cost-effective approaches to developing a library of commercials," Brief says. "We decided on an approach of using existing footage for this initial round of commercials. There are multiple messages which, historically, the client would put into a single spot: 'Same-day delivery,' 'no-interest financing,' 'no sales tax,' etc., which we decided to break into individual spots. We also decided to do 15-second spots, which allows for two Gardner-White messages within a commercial pod." 

Naturally, Gardner-White hopes its irreverence will help differentiate the store as it battles players of all sizes, including Bob's Discount Furniture, which is making a major push into the Detroit area.

We're told that commercials are in the works featuring "a down-on-his-luck, ambulance-chasing lawyer bent on finding fault in Gardner-White's merchandise." So, that will give the chain another opportunity to couch its pitch in comedy.

UPDATE: Below are the fake lawyer ads.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.