How will this patchwork of messaging be remembered?

Wanting the best of both worlds, DFS goes from bargain sale to quality design and back to bargain sale, writes Verra Budimlija, the chief strategy officer of MEC.

The DFS sale has achieved that rare thing among marketing initiatives: becoming part of common speech. So frequent are these events that anyone in the active stage of the sofa-buying purchase journey knows there are deals to be had at DFS. The only challenge is that quality perceptions and margin tend to get lost: down the back of the sofa, perhaps.

The role for advertising is clear. Convince the sofa-buying public that DFS products are high quality and designed by real designers. This is a long-term brand-building strategy. Over time, the brand will persuade sofa-buyers who are still in the passive stage of its quality. They might not be up for replacing their sofa today but they will be forming opinions about brands, some of which will go on their consideration list. Such brands are then three times more likely to be bought when the time comes.

Enter a member of the DFS sofa-design department: an animated creation from the excellent Aardman studios, made from stitched-together fabric swatches and voiced by a real member of the DFS design staff in Creature Comforts style. Over jaunty music, the real-world designer’s voice tells us that at DFS their goal is to design sofas that are loved by everyone, and that her design studio is "exciting, creative and bursting with ideas". In a nice touch, we hear that the designers take their inspiration from anywhere: the curved lines of an office telephone are translated into the elegant sweep of a sofa’s base, first on the page and then in reality. The designer is heart-warmingly proud of her work. 

Despite the reliance on puppets, not people, I imagine it does drive associations with craftsmanship and challenges some of the preconceptions about DFS sofas. 

It’s a shame all this good work is undone in the last five seconds when we cut to the real world and a different voice tells us urgently that "spring collection sofas are now up to half price". 

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