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HomeStop: An ambient solution for a retail store

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 28, 2008
Shoppers Stop's lesser known sister concern, HomeStop, has finally decided to step out of the shadows. Contract Advertising has launched an elaborate on-ground and ambient campaign to ensure footfalls in this home furnishings store

Shoppers & #BANNER1 & # Stop Ltd's home furnishings store, HomeStop, is all set to step out of its shell. The store, which has outlets in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru currently, is relatively lesser known than its sibling, Shoppers Stop, but has just rolled out a campaign to attract more footfalls.

After the recent revamp of Shoppers Stop (one of Contract Advertising's first accounts - the agency had worked on its repositioning), the focus is now on the two year old HomeStop. This is a relatively smaller venture, stretching to only three cities. Its punchline thus far has been, 'For Your Kind of Home'.

In order to drive greater footfalls to HomeStop, the company decided to launch its regular exchange offer scheme under which customers can bring in their old furniture (which in turn will be donated to charity by HomeStop) and avail of attractive discounts and offers on new furniture in return. HomeStop hopes to build a distinct brand imagery for itself by November or thereabouts; for now, it is concentrating on announcing this tactical exchange offer and has briefed Contract accordingly.

Press ads for HomeStop
Click on the images to enlarge
The Contract team has given things a twist: It has created a campaign that positions this exchange offer as an Old Furnishings Retirement Plan (earlier, the offer was called Refresher Homes). Under the new idea, old furniture is being juxtaposed with old people, and the thought is that just like old people need a break from work, old furniture, too, should not be stretched beyond its working life.

Vinay Bhatia, customer care associate and vice-president, marketing and loyalty, HomeStop, reveals the insight behind this: People are often attached to old things, like an old lamp that supported them during their study days or even some old piece of furniture handed down to them by their ancestors. "They fail to chuck these items out, even if those things can't be used any more," he says.

Generally, catalogue/sale-type ads dominate this category of home furnishings. Contract didn't want to tread that ground even for a tactical exchange offer. Therefore, the agency has launched an ambient and below-the-line campaign that hopes to drive relevant footfalls to the store. Manish Bhatt, vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising, says, "We thought of multiple touchpoints to get the message across." Catchment areas were identified around the HomeStop stores and the activity was carried out.

The whole plan is to get people to exchange their old furniture for new, instead of keeping them in the house or selling them to the 'kabaddiwala'. Firstly, leaflets/ brochures in the form of a real retirement plan are being distributed in and around the HomeStop stores and other Shoppers Stop Ltd ventures. This is to get people interested in the offer.

Next, ambulance like vans branded as Old Furnishings Rescue Vans are placed outside InOrbit Mall in Mumbai and HomeStop and Shoppers Stop stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The number given on the ambulances is that of the Old Furnishings Helpline through which one can avail of the offer.

To add to the drama, stretchers and wheelchairs, with old furniture items as the patients on them, have been placed in the malls and stores. "For instance, you would see a stretcher with an old lamp on it to catch the attention of the people," says Bhatt. Direct mailers were sent out to First Citizen Club (FCC, Shoppers Stop's loyalty programme) members, containing the retirement plan leaflet distributed in the store.

Within the Shoppers Stop stores, there is branding in the washrooms ('Even I need a break' and the image of a broken piece of furniture on the door, for example). Changing rooms have been branded similarly, with the line, 'Even I need a change'. Elevators have been branded with the image of a chair with a broken leg propped up with some support. Ascending escalators carry the images of old furniture (with the caption, 'Bring this') and descending escalators carry the images of brand new furniture ('Take this').

Apart from these on-ground initiatives, a seven ad press campaign has been rolled out in the three cities, which carry images of old furniture and speak of how badly these need a break, as they have lived past their prime. In Mumbai, this was in the Bombay Times.

The DIN font has been used throughout the communication for HomeStop, and the letter 'L' in the font, wherever used in the communication, has been rotated around and modified so that it represents a walking stick.

"As we had low budgets, we didn't want to tread the mass media plan too much, with the exception of print," says Bhatt of Contract. The campaign has been created by Bhatt along with partner Raghu Bhat, and Anshumani Khanna, Priya Gurnani, Gautam Wadher, Haem Roy, Kalyani Pathare, Shruti Bhandar, Ankit Pandya and Arjun Sen of Contract, as well as Vinay Bhatia, Purva Baldua and the visual merchandising team at Shoppers Stop.

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