Agency: Bainsfair Sharkey Trott Author: Deborah Johnston

The launch of Fona Dansk Elektrik


Fona, the electrical store from Denmark, began appearing on the UK High Street in July 1993. This case covers the first stage of its launch in the Tyne Tees TV area. Despite still extremely difficult trading conditions for electrical retail this has been a major commercial success: both relative to the previous trading format in the sites involved (Rumbelows) and in a broader competitive context. It shows that:

  • this success is founded on the creation of a sense of innovation and difference over and above the functional delivery of the stores
  • beyond this a strong consumer relationship has been built based upon a fresh and inviting personality (in a sector largely devoid of personality) and the expectation of a more friendly, helpful, less pressurised approach to service – altogether a more pleasant way to buy electrical goods
  • advertising which disrupts the very strong electrical retail advertising convention has been central to this success (specifically using TV as our main medium to develop real personality and convey the store experience, rather than just range and price)
  • this advertising has performed strongly on several criteria: making the launch a matter of major significance, something people felt they had to check out; creating understanding of a multi-faceted retail offer; bonding with consumers (a brand they could immediately relate to); creating expectations that would condition their experience when visiting the store, further enhancing bonding
  • the bold use of Brigitte Nielsen to present the Fona message not only added impact to the launch, it reinforced Fona's 'Danishness' and helped generate empathy
  • the end result was due more to the quality than quantity of the advertising – Fona's advertising-to-sales ratio is lower than the competitive norm, even during this launch phase. A considerable sales uplift versus the previous store format was achieved with a smaller advertising spend.