Courts goes funk, urban and classic

Courts goes funk, urban and classic

SINGAPORE - An advertising campaign for a new furniture label over the past two weeks had many homeowners scratching their heads over the brand's origins.

Struocfurniture showed off styles that could cater to a variety of decor themes, from industrial to vintage.

But it was not a new Scandinavian furniture line making inroads into Singapore. Take a closer look at the name and you may realise that "Struoc" is "Courts" spelled backwards.

It turned out to be a clever marketing ploy by the home and electronics retailer to launch a new furniture collection here - one that is vastly different from its past offerings.

Mr Terry O'Connor, group chief executive officer of Courts Asia Limited, says that the company spent a year researching what its customers were looking at and wanted to buy.

He explains the decision to update the range: "We get a natural evolution with electronics because the tech companies constantly innovate with new products. With furniture, we're our own catalyst."

Mr Steve Church, group furniture director, adds: "As we radically changed the range, we wanted to get people talking about the new look and feel of it. So, with Struoc, we sent out a trojan horse to get people looking at the products."

Indeed, there is much to sit up and take notice of. The pieces are now classified into three categories: funk, urban and classic.

The updated furniture and decorative accessories range - there are still some bestsellers from the past collection which have been kept - has about 2,800 product lines to choose from. This includes about 110 sofa lines.

All Courts stores carry the new line, except the outlets at Jem in Jurong East and Funan DigitaLife Mall. It is also available at its online store.

Many of the pieces were sourced from trade shows in Australia and the United States.

The urban range, which makes up the largest part of the new collection, has a contemporary, modern look, while the classic range has a vintage-chic vibe, filled with furniture that has slip covers, which can be easily removed.

The funk range, the smallest of the three lines, has brighter colours and furniture that could be used as accent pieces.

There are also more accessories, which Courts previously did not offer much of.

Mr Church says: "Accessories are not something that we're really known for. But we're catering to the dotcom-type customer who has individual style and wants to make a statement about who he is. Our accessories allows him to do that."

Courts is known more for its utilitarian and affordable offerings. With the new range, would customers have to fork out more?

Mr O'Connor says: "The price range has grown. It's lower and higher now because we have more options. There are items under $100 and bigger ticket items that cost between $4,000 and $5,000."

After a two-week teaser over social media and through television and print advertisements, Courts stores saw many curious customers when the range was launched last Saturday.

The "truth" that Struocfurniture was actually Courts was revealed on the same day through a different series of advertisements. The advertising campaign was done by DDB Group Singapore.

Mr Church says: "I think our new line has a lot of wow factor. We've come up with a product range that is fresh. Many people walked in and probably thought, 'I didn't think Courts would sell that'."

Indeed, Mr Max Tay, 40, an interior designer and design director of uberdesignhouse, was surprised that the chic Scandinavian- looking and industrial furniture was being sold at Courts.

"Courts isn't traditionally known as a place to go for trendy furniture that focuses a lot on design. The new furniture line is very current. I would like to see more pieces added to the Funk section because the furniture is different and is getting a lot of attention," he says.

"It was a successful advertising campaign, so hopefully, they can sustain it with competitive pricing and growing their range of items."

natashaz@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 18, 2014.
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