local media insider

American Furniture Warehouse campaign wins Top Ad for June

Digital First Media's AdTaxi created the winning marketing strategy for a Colorado home furnishings retailer

By Brandon Shaw
Product placement on Facebook is part of the communications strategy.
American Furniture now also uses its 8000 plus fan base to recruit new employees via "word of mouth."
A clever posting strategy solicits replies, such as this one about style of couch: "Well this is...futuristic? Yes or No, would you ever try this on your patio?"

Campaign: American Furniture Warehouse social media and mobile campaign

Media: Digital First Media's AdTaxi and Denverpost.com

Audience: 18-49 year olds, throughout Colorado 

Key Executives: Joe Straface: Director of Advertising, American Furniture Warehouse,

Kylie Borgias: Marketing Manager, AdTaxi Networks 

Greg Messinger: Vice President, Business Development, Digital First Media;

Account executives  Maria Trujillo and Adam Lee, Denverpost.com

 Initiative: Redesigned social media strategy, first foray into mobile advertising. 

Campaign Concept

American Furniture Warehouse is the largest home furnishing retailer with 12 stores in the state of Colorado, and six of those located in Denver.  It has run robust print, radio and television campaigns for five decades. So brand recognition is not the challenge. For it's new campaign, the store wanted to initiate a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to drive store events and online store traffic.

In particular, AFW also wanted to ensure that potential customers throughout Colorado were aware of delivery services and to integrate annually recurring events into the promotions and social media  strategy. They selected AdTaxi Networks, the digital agency created by Digital First Media to design the comprehensive digital marketing program. The campaign repurposed brand messaging and store events into social, mobile and web site platforms. 

Revamping the Facebook page and commenting strategy

The first step for AdTaxi was a redesign of AFW’s Facebook page, to portray a more professional, and established organization. Images of the company branded trucks on the home page quickly convey the delivery services available. 

The new content strategy for the Facebook page mixes social conversations with calls-to-action for annual promotional events such as back-to-school sales, and before-the-summer season sales, as well as other seasonal sales opportunities and comments on products.  A typical call to action might be “Celebrate Dad this weekend by giving him the perfect gift. Browse our online store for some great ideas:http://shout.lt/jDhb”.  They also use the page to solicit comments on products, or recruit employees from their fan base (see slides top right of a variety of Facebook  communications). 

Driving likes through Facebook advertising and contesting

To drive traffic to the page, the campaign used Facebook targeted ads. 

The targets were carefully selected to match American Furnitures target market:  Live in the US, within 5 miles of cities selected (Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona and Colorado Spring, Denver, Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction (Colorado), between ages 20 to 60, either male or females, who are not users or fans of American Furniture Warehouse, who like #IKEA, #Kohl's, #Macy's, #Nordstrom, #Pier 1 Imports, #PotteryBarn, #Sears, #Williams-Sonoma or Mattress King, are in family status of Parents, engaged or newlywed. 

The buys had an average .16% CTR to the Facebook page,  where the sale information is communicated.  

Part of the strategy also involved using sweepstakes giveaways to secure more likes, such as this giveaway for four Avalanche tickets, a local sports team, plus tickets to a "meet the players" gala event: 




 Advertising Director Joe Staface said that reluctance towards “overly modern” images and graphics in the social media campaign was a hindrance early on, but once the company discovered the power of enticing imagery and interactive displays through social advertising, the results matched the goal.  Fans began clicking through to the store to purchase specific items promoted on Facebook, or access sale inventory. 

Promoting big sales via targeted display sales

American Furniture Warehouse's traditional schedule of big event marketing was expanded across the digital spectrum, using AdTaxi to buy iPhone, iPad and website advertising,  targeting consumers browsing home furnishing content. They also incorporated wallpaper ads and sponsored a breaking news widget on Denver Post's web site Denverpost.com.  A total of 20 million impressions were served, including Facebook ads. 


AdTaxi also help build new landing pages for multiple devices that incorporated the modern look and feel, with calls-to-action to fan the Facebook page or shop the store.


• During the course of the campaigns,  Facebook “Likes” increased by 8,821 in  9 months.

• Overall, the Facebook re-design, content strategy, and targeted ads drove $7,211.30 in online sales directly from Facebook traffic.

• The total of 20 Million impressions deliverd 58,000 clicks to the web site or Facebook page, for a CTR of .28%, overall.  Of this, the wallpaper units had  .40% CTR for the Wallpaper, while traditional display had a  .13% CTR for the traditional display and breaking news sponsorships,  iPad ads produced a .38% CTR and  smartphone ads resulted in a .35% CTR.

 2013 campaign will add more display, mobile, and social advertising as well as implement a Search strategy with AdTaxi.

“AdTaxi has streamlined buying digital media by taking all of the guess work out of it. Our media mix has changed quite a bit in the last five years. We are doing a lot more display advertising as well as pre roll video, and in- banner advertising. Social Media is important to our business because it is word-of mouth advertising. In our business, word-of-mouth advertising is the most important advertising,” said Joe Staface, Director of Advertising for American Furniture Warehouse, in an interview.

“My experience doing mobile and social advertising with AdTaxi has been fantastic. They really understand that mobile and social advertising is growing in the marketplace,” Staface said.

Judges take

Top Ads are awarded for campaigns on the basis of 33% concept, 33% interactivity and use of multi-media and 33% for results.  This campaign is an example of a newspaper company getting more deeply involved with a large traditional advertiser to help them expand into non-traditional marketing.   While AdTaxi is largely known for it's ad network buying skills - only 16% of their buys are on the newspapers' own web sites - a star of this campaign is the social media strategy that keeps both built the fan base and kept the conversation going. We liked the modern look and feel and conversational style on the Facebook strategy. The comprehensive use of targeted mobile display, website ads and ad network broadened the reach.  And CTR's are outstanding; while  CTR is not the true return on investment, it is  indicative of the effectiveness of the buy. Finally, we like the measurement of online sales directly attributable to Facebook promotions.  Congratulations to the team at Ad Taxi and Digital First Media for a first rate campaign. 

Note:  AdTaxi is endorsed on MediaExecsTech; see member reviews and contacts for AdTaxi here on MediaExecstech.com. 



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