A missed opportunity for Sofa Workshop

When reviewing press advertising within the sofa market there seems to be little difference in terms of brand creative. Everyone includes an image of a sofa – thank goodness – and there is usually a nod to lifestyle – but that’s all.

Sofa Workshop is no exception. It’s a recognised brand but there are some fundamentals that every advertiser should follow. Sofa Workshop has many brilliant qualities: great heritage and expertise, British-made along with a wide range of exclusive designs; huge fabric choice and handcrafted to order. But you’d be hard pressed to know it from this advert.

Placing this ad in situ, it has to work extremely hard. As the reader flicks through the weekend supplement, is there sufficient standout to make them stop and read more? After all, a sofa is a sofa is a sofa. What is different about a sofa from Sofa Workshop?

The star of the show is the sofa; you may not like this particular colour or style but overall, it is a good looking sofa, on trend with fabric and colour. So why show only half a sofa? When you consider the price of the media in conjunction with how much you see of the sofa, the sofa has been demoted to the chorus.

And so to the logo and strapline (A) – ‘our craft, your creation’ – a great message. But to understand this you need to read the body copy (B) which, given the use of white copy on a pale background, is rather a challenge. And it only takes on bad print run for this crucial text to be completely illegible.

Within this body copy are key messages – none of which stand out. The key selling points and call to action are lost amongst the body copy – diversity in font weight, colours and point sizes would have helped here. Simply re-positioning the copy onto a darker coloured rug would also solve this.

So a missed opportunity with the creative here we believe. But, without any attribution in the ad, the marketing team at Sofa Workshop will be none the wiser. The lifestyle strategy is understandable to a degree, but attribution is key to knowing what works in press and what will deliver the most bang for your buck. As a direct response ad agency, it’s a prime focus for us and our clients and how we make a real difference to their business and make the most of every opportunity they have.


A missed opportunity for Eve Sleep?

As a company you’re brand focused. You love your brand and you want others to do so too. So you spend all your marketing budget on promoting it. You’re on TV and you look great. Life’s good. There’s just one thing: sales aren’t growing as quickly as you hoped.

Maybe you should try something different. Another way to reach your customer. Whatever it is, it mustn’t lose sight of the brand. Direct response perhaps? You wrinkle your nose. Really? You decide to give it a go. What about an insert you say? Magazines are full of them so they must work. And if doesn’t, well you won’t have spent much. Let’s not forget the brand though. In fact, let’s make it all about the brand. No need to say much. Everybody knows why they should buy our products. Include an offer? Well, if you must. Make sure it’s discrete though.

Sound familiar?

If so, the question is- did it live up to expectations? In other words, not just promote your brand but generate enquiries which converted to sales. If it didn’t, then perhaps you should re-think how to make your message more responsive next time?

Here’s an example.

Eve Sleep is a relatively new bed company who have built their brand awareness mainly on television. Using a cute mnemonic device in the shape of a cuddly sloth to give the company a distinctive identity, it recently created a 2-sided insert to drive people to their website. Unfortunately, from a direct response perspective it falls into the trap described earlier.

Take the front cover (a). It assumes everyone has heard of Eve Sleep and recognises the sloth character; that they’re aware of what Eve Sleep is as a company and are intrigued enough by the headline to want to find out more. A tall order. Here was an opportunity to catch people’s attention in a much more intrusive way. Money-off anything is one of the most powerful response mechanisms you can use yet there is no mention of it until you turn over.

As for the headline itself (b) – just how relevant is it?  Eve sell a premium range of beds, mattresses and bedding with the offer of a 100-day trial, free delivery and free returns – much more convincing reasons to pick up the insert than the current wording and yet this is hidden away on the back again. It would have made all the difference if this had been the key message instead.

On the back, well here style over substance continues (c). Here was the moment to remind and inform people of the sort of products Eve Sleep has to offer. Not just in the form of imagery but in descriptive selling copy that reinforces the reasons to visit the website and elaborates on Eve Sleep’s USP’s.

Lastly, don’t hide away what you want someone to do next and how to go about it (d). There is no sense of urgency in the current insert. Key to response is to convey the need for someone to react promptly otherwise the moment is lost. An end date displayed alongside the offer and a more prominent call to action would have created a greater incentive to do just that.

The moral here is, don’t rely solely on your brand identity and perceived awareness in every aspect of your marketing. Direct response mechanics exist for good reason – they work. Next time, take a deep breath and, without losing sight of your brand values, include them in your next lead generator. You’ll be surprised at the difference they make.