With the lofty goal of breathing new life into the $13.3 billion home furnishings industry, the World Market Center (WMC) Las Vegas , with the support of industry groups, recently announced the launch of an unprecedented consumer marketing campaign, themed “Is It Home Yet?”
The $20 million, multi-year initiative is designed to reposition home furnishings – including furniture, accessories and lighting — as essential rather than a luxury.
By providing a unified marketing platform, the ambitious initiative strives to ignite consumer interest and boost retail traffic and sales across all categories.
“This is a rare opportunity to bring together the entire industry for the benefit of raising awareness and positively changing the way people view purchasing home furnishings,” says Robert Maricich, President and CEO of WMC, in the official press release. “Through this campaign, we will offer our partners the tools and resources they need to reach consumers through in-depth industry analysis and creative content that will reinforce transforming a house to a home.”
The broad-based campaign, funded by the owners of World Market Center, will officially launch through various print and digital platforms on Aug. 24. WMC has approached several leading industry associations to endorse the campaign and already has the support of the National Home Furnishings Assn. and Western Home Furnishings Assn. among others..
The American Lighting Assn.  (ALA), which already has its own successful bi-national advertising and public relations effort in the consumer arena focused specifically on lighting, will discuss whether to endorse this campaign during its next board meeting at the annual ALA Conference in September, according to Larry Lauck, Vice President of Communications for the association.
“We obviously applaud any organization trying to drive more sales for consumers to buy more products for the home. That’s a good thing. But anything of this caliber has to go through the proper channels of this organization,” Lauck says.
Lauck says any successful consumer campaign has to be committed to the long haul. “We never want to be the only one raising awareness about solutions for the home. But we feel like it is a year-after-year effort to shape consumer opinion. It’s not an easy task, and it’s not an inexpensive task.”
WMC’s campaign marks September as “National Home Furnishings Month.” The marketing program will include several phases, the first wave of which will be supported by advertising, branding, education, promotions, sales events, policy efforts, public events, social media outreach and consumer research. The core of the campaign is a national sweepstakes program on the MSN Lifestyle Network running Aug. 24-Sept. 30, giving away weekly room makeovers valued at $5,000, and print ads appearing Elle Décor and Metropolitan Home, along with outdoor billboards in several key markets.
Creative agency Ogilvy North America was selected to lead the campaign. It is targeted toward the “everywoman” -- whom the agency has nicknamed Michelle -- who makes purchasing decisions in the home and relies on the Internet to shop smart.
Although the “Is It Home Yet?” campaign has been compared to the hugely successful “Got Milk?” campaign created by the California Milk Processors Board, Cindy Morris, COO of the Dallas Market Center, cautions that a marketing initiative of that scale costs several hundred million dollars. “Our philosophy is to continue a multimillion-dollar marketing effort carefully reinforcing Dallas as the home of lighting with a range of tools, from trade advertising to custom publications,” she says. “We are a wholesale venue not open to the average audience of consumer media. We prefer to commit 100 percent of our resources to bringing wholesale buyers and sellers together.”
Lighting retailers interested in getting involved with the campaign are invited to visit the retail activation center during the Sept. 14-17 Las Vegas Market to access the retail kits, complete with literature, advertising and collateral materials, says Andrew Maiden, Public Relations Manager for WMC.