NEW YORK: Frustrated home-owners unable to move house in the property slump are being urged to upgrade their furnishings and decor and sit out the recession in rather more comfort.

Conceived by a collection of agencies in the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide group and funded by organisations such as the American Society of Furniture Designers and Furniture Brands International, the $20 million (£12m; €14m) ad campaign launching this week argues that family properties should once again be viewed as homes, rather than quick-buck investments, and need  money lavished on them even when times are hard.

Sales of home furnishings fell by 12.9% in July, according to the Commerce Department.

Running on TV, press, posters, on-line and in-store, the Ogilvy campaign uses unashamedly sentimental imagery of cosy living room furniture and welcome mats to tug at heart strings. The overall theme is "Is it home yet?"

Says Doug Scott, president at Ogilvy Entertainment: "We want to move people back to the belief that home is where the heart is and prove that there's a lot more value in a home beyond economic value."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff