How a Company Known for Retail Ads Suddenly Made a Gorgeous Spot for Hardwood Floors

Lumber Liquidators gets romantic

Headshot of Tim Nudd

IDEA: Lumber Liquidators isn't exactly known for beautiful, romantic advertising. The hardwood flooring specialty retailer is much more versed in transactional, price-focused messaging. (Just look at the website, which is a smorgasbord of sale pricing.)

A new spot for its high-end Bellawood brand, though, is a revelation—a gorgeous, nuanced, ethereal ad showing everything a floor endures over the years. It's a very different look from the client, though according to CMO Marco Pescara, it's still all about value.

"Bellawood as a product stands for the highest-quality hardwood flooring. Lumber Liquidators as a retailer delivers the lowest prices. They work together to support our brand position of value: getting the best hardwood flooring at the lowest price possible," he said.

Bellawood is about beauty and durability, and the new ad, from Richmond, Va., agency Big River, communicates both to the company's female target.

"We didn't want to simply explain the science," said Pescara. "Our objective was to appeal to our core customer by making her feel and see how Bellawood can be a part of her everyday life. Showing instead of explaining. Big River did a great job of making that happen."

COPYWRITING: The ad presents a series of slow-motion scenes, showing how much a floor has to withstand from a busy family—tricycle wheels, roller blades, smashed bowls, dropped food, high heels, skateboards, chair scrapes, candle wax and more.

There is no dialogue or voiceover.

Inspired by a recent viral NPR video, the agency envisioned that the storytelling would be percussive and driven by sound design. "The script was called 'Beats,' " said Big River chief creative officer Kai Fang. "We wanted to look at all the different things that hit the floor in the life of a family, and that would create a musical score and a beat."

But director Ruben Latre helped evolve the concept, going for a more emotional rather than technical execution. "People don't necessarily buy the facts. It has to awaken something in them emotionally," Fang said of a high-end product like Bellawood.

Text at the end reads, "Bellawood. Prefinished hardwood flooring." There is no tagline.

FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Latre shot for four days, mostly in a home outside Richmond but also in a studio to get certain close-ups. The home was large, perfect for the camera to roam, and was entirely relaid in Bellawood flooring (to the owners' delight, presumably).

The agency loved Latre's reel. "He specializes in this overcranked, slow-motion kind of look. It's very cinematic, romantic and moody," Fang said.

The director, meanwhile, said he was drawn to the open-ended plot. "I thought of it as a great chance to play, to bring all the mischief I used to create as a kid onto the screen," he said. "The agency gave me a lot of freedom on the shots, which is not always the case. I really appreciated that, and I think it allowed me to push myself even more."

TALENT/SOUND: The budget was limited, so the agency cast local, non-union talent—and the lack of speaking roles eased the burden. Still, the characters manage to feel timeless. "It's a little bit of the family we all wish we had," said Fang.

There is some sound design to punctuate things like the breaking objects, but the soundtrack—a piano-based orchestral piece—is very much on top.

MEDIA: The spot has been cut into 60-, 30- and 15-second executions. (There is also an 80-second director's cut.) "The media buy is a smaller subset of our overall spend as an added layer of branding," said Pescara.



Client: Lumber Liquidators

Chief Marketing Officer: Marco Pescara

Creative Director: Angel Gonzalez

Director of Marketing and E-Commerce: Colby Walker

Marketing Traffic Manager: Katie Allen

Agency: Big River, Richmond, Va.

President and CEO: Fred Moore

Chief Creative Officer: Kai Fang

Broadcast Producers: Dee Briggs

Design Director: Geoff Stone

Account Director: Daniel Riddick

Copywriter: Elizabeth Daniel

Production Company: TradeMarky Films

Production Company: Hostage Films

Director: Ruben Latre

Executive Producer: Mark Meyers

Line Producer: Amanda Ricks

Executive Producer: Melissa Beth

Editor: Ruben Latre

Editor: David Ariew

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.