Say Hello to Mr Clarke

The Client

Barker and Stonehouse, a longstanding client of Cool Blue and nationally respected furniture retailer, was ready to continue its expansion in the South with the opening of a landmark new store in Hove.

The Brief

To launch the new Barker and Stonehouse Hove store with an unforgettable combination of online, offline, pre and post event marketing. To gain exceptional awareness and footfall in the local area and drive opening weekend sales, maximising return on investment.

Omni-Channel Content

Our collaboration and experiential team took an omni-channel approach that centred on TV presenter and architect George Clarke—a relevant and wellknownfigure amongst the audience we were looking to attract. Bringing know-how and expertise to the table, we collaborated with his team to create a fully formed content package and experience-based activities that focused on the new store, the brand reach and reputation and the style customers could expect from Barker and Stonehouse. The central point of the campaign was a personal appearance from George at the opening of the Hove store.

Publicising the Launch Event

Publicising the Launch Event

In the days leading up to the store opening residents in the area received a personal invite in the form of a direct mail and door drop brochure pack. Cool Blue created this brochure to introduce the brand to the new audience and also included tactical editorial based on George Clarke’s appearance at the store.

We’ve worked with the Barker and Stonehouse brand for many years, understanding the type of quirky additions to its campaign that would make the brand stand out, while getting across the fun and friendly side of its identity. We enlisted the help of an on-street promo team that travelled around the local area, interacting with residents and spreading the word of the store’s imminent launch.

The Launch Event

The busy launch day schedule included a questions and answers session with Talib Choudhry, The Telegraph interiors editor, and George Clarke, a chance to meet George in person and obviously the opportunity to browse and buy from the new collection. A competition to win £2,000 to spend in store also attracted footfall and provided valuable data for future use.

We inspired more brand love with the help of a beautiful ice cream taxi – keeping visitors entertained and attracting further footfall on the day. As Hove is a coastal town, ice cream seemed an appropriate choice and a strategic way to introduce the brand to the area.

Testimonial image

George Clarke, Architect and TV Presenter

“I only get involved with companies I am passionate about and Barker and Stonehouse offer an amazing array of products, styles and brands. For those looking for design-led interiors this store is a real destination.”

Barker and Stonehouse video

Social Hype

During the event the interview with George Clarke was streamed on Facebook Live and we also invited Twitter users to ask George questions using #AskGeorge. The quality, volume and relevance of questions posted was excellent.

A short launch day video was posted across social media via the Barker and Stonehouse YouTube channel.

Prior to the event George Clarke’s team shared posts about his appearance alongside date and venue details.

And on launch day we branded all Barker and Stonehouse social channels with a ‘George Clarke Takeover’ message. Throughout the day we posted imagery and comments, promoting the free ice creams, the competition and George’s personal appearance, to engage all users and attract local residents.

Store Brochure Design and Development

Cool Blue is responsible for the production of Barker and Stonehouse’s quarterly direct mail campaign so we were perfectly placed to design and develop specific content for this event. Alongside the press Look Book and the Spring/Summer magazine we also designed in-store signage, featuring George Clarke’s favourite pieces from the store.

Media and Influencer Relations

Alongside the live Q&A session, George also participated in numerous regional print and broadcast media interviews.

Radio coverage was secured with Heart FM Sussex in the week leading up to the launch and the April edition of Sussex life also included a full page reader competition. Both media pieces heavily promoted the new store location, launch weekend details and the personal appearance information.



As part of the launch day event a local blogger interviewed George Clarke, the purpose of which was to gain further exposure with local residents while appealing to a different demographic from The Telegraph interview. George’s favourite pieces from the collection and an overview of the launch event were posted as articles on the Barker and Stonehouse blog, providing content pre and post event.



customers visited the store during the launch weekend


Facebook Live views with George Clarke


radio listeners reached

Cool Blue has really changed the perception of our brand amongst media and consumers. They’ve put a lot of effort into researching the media and carefully matching our messages and materials to specific journalists and titles. They’ve impressed us with the front-end thought they put in and then the hard graft to quickly get great results. We’re delighted with what they’ve achieved on our behalf.”

James Barker
Managing Director, Barker & Stonehouse

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