Home ‘E-tailer’ Concludes Review

BBH to Fashion National Effort; Donovan, Neil Faber Retained
BOSTON–Furniture.com has selected Bartle Bogle Hegarty to handle its national brand-building account while retaining the Donovan Group for project work.
BBH’s New York office will kick off a multimedia ad campaign this fall using the bulk of $35 million in financing recently obtained by Furniture.com, said Kirsten von Hassel, vice president of marketing at the Framingham, Mass.-based online furniture retailer.
Donovan, Northborough, Mass., and Neil Faber Media, New York, broke the company’s first national branding campaign in June with the tagline, “The best way to shop for furniture.” The $5 million print and radio effort ended recently.
Furniture.com decided to conduct a review because it needed a larger shop to handle a much bigger ad budget and fast growth, she said. Its sales have jumped from $900,000 in the fourth quarter of last year to $1 million in May alone this year. The review began in February, when von Hassel joined the company from The New York Times subscription marketing department.
Donovan will continue to do project work such as direct marketing and promotions, and Neil Faber will handle media buying for the next campaign, von Hassel said.
The client considered many agencies, but most did not have the ability to produce work quickly enough to be competitive in the online market, said von Hassel. Donovan did not pitch the expanded account.
Three finalists, including BBH, were selected to give presentations, von Hassel said, but she would not identify the others. “[BBH] really gets the space, and they’re fast,” she said.
Furniture.com has worked with Donovan since launching its Web site 18 months ago and treats the agency like an extension of its own marketing department, von Hassel said.
The retailer became so close to the staff that it hired Donovan public relations director Don Goncalves as manager of public and investor relations a couple weeks ago. The agency even assisted the client with the review.
Furniture.com is not the only home furnishings “e-tailer” moving its account. The category last week was hopping with activity. Living.com, Austin, Texas, hired Leo Burnett in Chicago for its $20 million ad account.
HomePortfolio.com, which offers a mix of design services, decorative hardware, accessories and furniture on its site, will next month break its first work from new agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York. (See related story, page 3.)