• Clint Engel

Broad River has generous answer to greedy mattress store campaign

The truth is thousands of kids are sleeping on the floor

broad-river-billboardFORT MILL, S.C. — Broad River Furniture is offering a charitable counter to those “Mattress Stores are Greedy” billboards you may have noticed on the highway, courtesy of e-commerce bedding retailer Tuft & Needle.

The 16 store Ashley HomeStore licensee will kick off a “Furniture Stores are Generous,” campaign Tuesday and will donate one mattress for a child in need for every mattress it sells in its Charlotte, N.C.-area stores through the end of the month.

The Top 100 company is fueling the promotion with billboard advertising and via social media, e-blasts to customers and in-store materials. It’s working Charlotte non-profit Beds for Kids, to execute the donations.

“We’ve decided to leverage outdoor advertising for this campaign because we had seen some negative ads calling mattress stores greedy and wanted to contrast that with a more heartfelt approach to addressing a real need and call to action within our community," said Broad River President and CEO Charlie Malouf.

And it’s having some fun in the process. Tuft & Needle has been using billboards in major cities as part of its “Learn the Truth” campaign, giant black-and-white placards that declare “Mattress Stores are Greedy” and direct consumers to its website, where a video contends mattresses have “only three ingredients,” (it takes a chainsaw to one in an attempt to prove the point) and suggests the cost of mattresses in stores balloons thanks to retail and wholesale markups, marketing and commissions.

Broad River is countering with orange billboards with white text (in contrast to the black and white “shock-value messaging” and “a softer, gentler, caring and more loving campaign,” Malouf told Furniture Today.

In an online video, the executive director of Beds for Kids and Broad River employees call attention the problem of thousands of children sleeping on the floor or on a sofa. “Now’s the time to give the gift of sleep to children who need it,” says HomeStore associate Kathryn Barmore in the spot.

“At least twice a year we accelerate our giving in order to provide beds for the thousands of children in this area who have no bed of their own,” Malouf said in a release. “This is the first time we’ve ever sponsored a giving campaign for such an extended length of time. The need is growing faster than we can keep up.

“We hope this bold campaign will help raise awareness of the severe need in our area. Many are completely unaware that we actually have children in our own area sleeping on the floor or sofa or with other family members, let alone that the figure exceeds 7,500 children.”

Broad River employees will help deliver the beds in July with Beds for Kids, it's partner in the campaign for the past six years. This is the first time Broad River has run the event for more than one week.

Karen McKenzie, vice president of marketing and communications for the Top 100 company, noted Broad River always donates a portion of every mattress sale to support Beds for Kids, but during this month-long campaign, “we hope to donate several hundred mattresses to address the need that currently exists.”

“All of us at Beds for Kids are excited to be a part of this campaign because we’ve seen firsthand the joy and relief in the eyes of these children and their parents when we deliver a needed bed,” said Daniel Fogarty, executive director of Beds for Kids.

“Not only does a bed improve sleep to help with the physical needs of growing children, but a mattress also helps build self-esteem. We are grateful for all the effort Ashley HomeStore has invested to bring this campaign to life in a bolder way for the sake of all of the kids.”

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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