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Consumers to get home furnishings education

Television network HGTV and the National Home Furnishings Association have created the first industry-wide consumer education and awareness program developed exclusively for the home furnishings industry.

The new Preferred Retailer Program is set to launch in late summer 2008 and ultimately will educate and motivate consumers to make informed decisions regarding furniture purchases.

The HGTV-NHFA Preferred Retailer Program will deliver expert information on furniture types, quality and value considerations, design styles and color tips. The multi-tier campaign will leverage the strength of the Internet with a co-branded HGTV-NHFA Web site where consumers will benefit from interactive design tools, articles, ideas and localized listings of participating Preferred Retailers.

In addition, the Preferred Retailer Program will receive promotion across multiple other media platforms to generate awareness with print ads, on-air commercials and in-store materials, all created and produced by HGTV. The network experienced record ratings in 2007 while the HGTV Web site regularly attracted more than 5 million unique visitors each month.

“The furniture market has become exceedingly competitive at both the retail and manufacturing levels,” HGTV President Jim Samples said. “After extensive research, HGTV and NHFA recognized the need to reinvent the way this industry does business in order to create stronger connections with consumers and help them make informed decisions.”

According to a study conducted by OTX in August 2007, consumers cite too many options (42%), uncertainty regarding design preferences (41%) and too little information on how to make selections (29%) as factors causing a lack of confidence when buying furniture. Almost 75% of those surveyed said they would utilize a resource that provided simple, easy to understand information prior to buying furniture. More than 40% said they would buy furniture more often if they had greater confidence in their purchasing decisions.

“HGTV is a national home design icon that enjoys an extraordinary relationship with a very home-engaged and loyal consumer,” said Doug Kays, NHFA president. “By leveraging the power of the HGTV brand and the credibility of the NHFA, participants in the Preferred Retailer Program will benefit in very tangible ways, and for probably less than what most stores pay for a half-page, black-and-white Yellow Pages ad.”

The program’s $20-million, multi-platform campaign will enhance awareness and interest in the furniture industry on a national scope, while also incorporating local marketing benefits. Detailed information about each participating retailer will be included on the HGTV-NHFA Preferred Retailer Web site, including store hours, lines carried, Web site link, recognitions or awards and community affiliations. Participants also may highlight a sale or the introduction of new furniture lines and utilize in-store materials to further leverage the program and the powerful HGTV brand. HGTV also will extend its public relations, programming and editorial support to the campaign, establishing various talent as national spokespeople to create added interest and enthusiasm.

HGTV is ranked the No. 1 cable network when measuring loyalty among females age 25-54 (Nielsen, Sept. 2007). In addition, according to Nielsen Net Ratings, visitors to HGTV’s Web site are significantly more likely to own a residence and to purchase a home, and most important, more likely to purchase furniture (70%) than the national U.S. average.

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