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Barker and Stonehouse: Do the bullet points deliver?

Bobby Ghayouri

Each month, The Adquirer provides insight into the creative and media strategies of industry-leading advertisers in a particular sector. Estimated cost per web visit results are provided by our data scientists, utilising sources including Hitwise, Nielsen and BARB.

This month, we look at four different home furnishing advertisers with a similar target audience: indexing highly with females aged 55+, with a suburban lifestyle and who enjoy a bit of Emmerdale. In an industry filled with price promotions and product-heavy creatives, the challenge here is to stand out from the crowd and convince the viewer that your products and service are superior in order to trigger a response. Who tows the line and who breaks the mould? We explore the similarities and differences in their media and creative strategies, and the different calls to action at play.

Barker and Stonehouse utilises 10-second ad lengths for the majority of their campaigns, with 65% of impacts being delivered with the shorter format, versus 35% for the 30-second offering. In this example from February, this precious time is used to promote their contemporary sliding two-door wardrobe from their winter sale; which they are keen to show is big enough for an adult to hide in.

With other advertisers in the home furnishings industry using longer 20 or 30 seconds versions to deliver their messages – incorporating various products and offers – Barker and Stonehouse looks to land one knockout punch to ensure viewers respond. This ad simply displays the wardrobe and its price, with a descriptive voiceover throughout. Crucially, the brand name and URL are only displayed for the last 4 seconds, which is a potential oversight: outlining who you actually are throughout an ad is imperative when aiming to generate a reaction, especially when you only have 10 seconds to do it.

So, did this approach prove successful? Well, out of the four advertisers analysed, the data available for Barker and Stonehouse didn’t provide robust results, but the web visits graph shows that they had the least uplift throughout the year, especially in the post-Christmas sales. There are many factors that could have led to this figure: the light call to action, or perhaps the ad wasn’t different enough. The latter would be a missed opportunity, as their store designs certainly indicate a level of individuality and independence. Apt, as they are the largest independent furniture retailer in the UK.

Barker and Stonehouse only advertised on two stations; with ITV seeing 82% of all impacts, and the remaining 18% being delivered on C4 North. Understandably popular stations in this reach-seeking sector, but in the quest for differentiation the smarter move could be to explore a wider station mix and not directly taking on the big spenders at their own game – unless of course they are achieving the desired results from this approach.

There is a high reliance also on The Chase and Emmerdale, each seeing 11% of all impacts. Both programmes are consistently in the top 5 across all the advertisers in this Adquirer, potentially indicating that their viewers are more responsive to home furniture ads, or alternatively that there are opportunities being missed elsewhere in the programme guide.

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