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‘Thing’: DFS Sees a Chic Rebrand via Pablo

Today, December 13, sees the first release of a DFS campaign designed by London-based design agency, Pablo. 

The campaign is the opening iteration of the new DFS brand platform created by Pablo, after the agency won the £64.4m account in April this year. Although the smallest of the agencies on the DFS shortlist, it beat Bartle Bogle Hegarty and VCCP in the final round of the review, which was managed by AAR. Krow and Publicis.Poke had also pitched at an earlier stage.

This rebrand is huge, seriously. While previous DFS campaigns looked very homely and gave off a ‘brand next door’ vibe they definitely weren’t exciting or artistic adverts. This time round, Pablo has incorporated editing, Wes Anderson-like framing and colouring, diverse casting and other features which really elevate the DFS name. 

The ad is framed around the concept that each of us has our own ‘thing’ from tartan to bling to corduroy; each character embodies that specific ‘thing’ thus showcasing the diverse array of products and aesthetics carried by DFS. It is this fashionable and cinematically framed diversity in all forms which change our consumer associations with the brand. 

Mark Sng, partner and chief strategy officer at Pablo, said: “During 2020, DFS online sales grew by 76%. It was a reminder that while DFS stores are hugely important, there is a world beyond the stores where people spend a lot of the purchase journey.

“The ambition is to create a brand that will come alive in these places. The new brand platform aims to shift perceptions of DFS from just being the sofa experts – which they are – to being a brand that’s actively helping its customers make choices that are right for them.”

Devised by a Pablo team led by Dan Watts, executive creative director, and creative directors Chris Bovill and John Allison, the work was created through Drool Productions. 

James Brewer, digital and brand director at DFS, said: “The new brand platform is based on a truth at the heart of the DFS business: we have the biggest range of sofas as well as expert staff committed to helping you find what’s right for you.

“By encouraging a two-way dialogue with our customers across our comms, store and digital experience, we can help them feel comfortable and more confident in their choices, and help the whole nation ‘find their thing’.”

Pablo London has been an agency in the ascendant for the past few years. An independent shop with billings of £15m in 2020 (up 39% on the previous year), according to Nielsen, and a staff of 62, it replaced Krow Communications, which had held the DFS business since 2011.

In a category often defined by “the sale”, DFS wanted to “really tap into the idea of the sofa as a very emotional piece of furniture that represents how you live and who you are”, Watts said. “It’s one of the most expensive, considered things you’ll purchase for your home. This requires more of a brand point of view that DFS can activate. But it needs to come from them, not via the creative layer of Wallace and Gromit, or indeed any other spokesperson.”

With more than 120 stores across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain, DFS employs more than 4,000 people. It is among the UK’s biggest advertisers, ranked 12th by Nielsen, with a spend of £64.4m.

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