If you watch television you will certainly have seen a DFS advert. DFS is the sofa store with the Bank Holiday Sale, DFS is the sofa store that offers interest free credit, DFS is well, DFS. Their adverts let you know what they sell and what offers they have and don't let you forget it. Kids bounce around on sofas, mum and dad relax on sofas, grandpa snoozes on sofas. DFS sell sofas. As adverts they are mundane and ever so irritating unless you really do need reminding that you want a new sofa.
Step in a new advertising agency, Krow who took over the DFS account in November 2011. I'm not sure what the discussions were but we can surmise that they presented a new idea, grown up music and adverts which capture the attention. The first of the new look adverts was aired in late spring 2012 and featured Tree Hugger by Kimya Dawson. The kids don't just jump on sofas they use them as part of their play or as the tagline goes "Right now our wild west forts, pyramids and magic castles are half price". Yes, kids have always been able to utilise sofas in their fantasies.
Grown up advertising was the mainstay of the much parodied Hovis adverts and the Heinz soup adverts. I suppose HSBC are leading the way at the moment with their adverts produced by JWT, simple and thought provoking without in your face vulgar advertising like "Little Investor" where a young kid does a series of jobs to earn pocket money and cheerfully adds it to his money boxes back at home. What they have in common is that they are beautifully shot and above all they are shot on film.
Back to DFS. Back to August 2012. The bank holiday is four weeks away and more importantly so is back to school or in the case of the DFS advert, the start of a new school. What we get from DFS via Krow is a majestically filmed look at the trials and tribulations of a new school through the eyes of the youngster just starting. The soundtrack is Growing Up Beside You by Scottish folkster Paolo Nutini and captures the love/hate relationship between the new schoolboy and his older brother. The advert was shot on 35mm film and directed by Owen Harris from Outsider Productions. The Street scenes were filmed over a three day period in Orpington with the school scenes shot at Langdon School in East Ham, London. We wait 25 seconds until we see the sofa and what a sofa, I want that sofa. It's big and brown leather and yes, you will imagine coming home from work and just getting that sofa to hug your weary backside. If all advertising was as inviting as this the world would be a happier place and with four years interest free credit not such a pipe dream.
When advertising is good, it's a delight to watch and well worth the extra outlay which surely give a new appeal to a tired brand.
Owen Harris' Show Reel at Outsider
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