Not every relationship is destined to last forever. Whether it’s a breakup, roommates moving out or friends drifting apart, a reality of life is that no matter how hard one might try – sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Additionally, statistics show that the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to Wunderman Thompson, 340,000 American couples filed for divorce in 2021, and in Argentina, 2020 was the first year the country saw more divorces than marriages – with rates increasing by 35%.
And whether the ending of a relationship is a brutal affair or a relief-filled farewell, the discussion of how involved parties will split belongings is probably neither high priority nor one that anybody really enjoys having. It’s for that reason that Wunderman Thompson Lima and furniture brand FC Home & Deco wanted to create a line of fashionable products that could be split equally without losing effectiveness – in the case of a breakup. Including tables, rugs and bookcases, and featuring names parodying famous celebrity breakups such as the ‘Bradiston Sofa’, ‘The Friendly Breakup Collection’ is meant to provide worry-free furnishing to any home, providing a reliable piece of furniture for an unreliable time.
Wunderman Thompson Lima executive creative director Bruno Reggiardo and FC Home & Deco COO Federico Fontenla spoke to LBB’s Josh Neufeldt about how they brought the campaign to life.
LBB> What were your main aims and ambitions with this project?
Federico> The main objective was to meet the modern demand of things changing quickly in this current climate. Bonds between people build and break quickly, so we wanted to create a line that would adapt to people’s lives as they are going through these changes.
LBB> What was the brief for this campaign like? What ideas were you hoping to explore?
Bruno> The campaign came from a deep understanding of the client’s business and the way they look for innovative and creative ways to make it grow. We worked closely with the top management at FC Home & Deco to bring the collection to life and help them create a line of products that look just as good together as they do apart.
Federico> We’re always open to exploring new possibilities and ways to be more relevant in people’s lives, so we wanted to do something for that nomadic person whose life is constantly changing. Based on that, Wunderman Thompson came to us with this campaign that comes from a deep understanding of culture and society.
LBB> What was the research process like with regards to relationship tensions and cost of living? What were the most surprising findings?
Bruno> We found that during the pandemic, the rate of breakups and divorces skyrocketed. And according to the BBC, pandemic-related divorce rates have surged, but they still haven’t peaked. The article reported a 122% increase in divorce enquiries between July and October 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019. As for the U.S., the National Law Review reported a 34% increase in people enquiring about divorce as early as April. The BBC article said similar increases have been found in China and Sweden.
This pattern was also the same in Argentina. In 2020, for the first time, there were more divorces than marriages. In Buenos Aires, 4,480 couples dissolved their conjugal bond and only 3,861 got married (Clarin, June 2021).
Federico> We spoke to returning customers who buy furniture from us when they’re going through the experience of rebuilding their collection after a break-up. Before the line came out, we spoke to our clients again and many of them thought it was an interesting idea which we found encouraging!
Can you give us some insight into FC Home & Deco and their place in the Argentinian furniture market?
Bruno> FC Home & Deco is a young and fresh brand from Fontenla Group, the largest home furnishing producer in Latin America – with more than 70 years on the market and many showrooms across Buenos Aires. They design accessible and modern furniture, exhibited in ‘The Largest Decoration Showroom’ in the country, including home furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom, outdoor and children, to decorations and bazaar, electro, lighting, mattresses, linens, floors and coatings.
LBB> What was the process of collaborating to create the furniture like? And how did you go about designing furniture that works equally well when attached and split?
Bruno> FC led this step of the process, but it was so interesting to co-create the furnishing line with them. We proposed an initial range of items, and they took this input to develop the furnishing and suggest new items. We had an open and fluid communication with the FC design department to develop the best pieces of furnishing for the collection.
Federico> The process wasn’t as complex as it may seem. It was like designing two separate things that work both as one piece and apart, but at the same time weren’t boring at all. We wanted to design something interesting that worked as a standalone piece and didn’t look like it had been cut in half.
During the design process, the ideas aren’t fully formed at the beginning, so you find yourself in a cloud of what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to solve. However, in this case we had already settled on a trend, a problem to solve, as well as a customer in mind, so we knew we had to make the idea work – which is when creative ideas started to fly. We thought more about what our target audience would prefer considering how young, innovative, and open to change they are, and from that point, it was much easier to find the perfect designs.
LBB> With names like the ‘BradIston Sofa’ and ‘KanyDashian Table’, the naming scheme for items in the collection is quite funny. How did this idea come to pass? What was the writing process like?
Bruno> This was a very funny step in the campaign process. We were thinking about what the items could be named and it flowed naturally. Almost immediately we were able to come up with the names of famous couples who had broken up, and it was interesting to fuse two names into one as they often do when they’re dating. We weren’t sure if the client would like it, but they loved it as much as we did.
LBB> How have the public engaged with the naming competition on social media?
Bruno> ‘The Friendly Breakup Collection’ has received a very positive reaction so far. There’s always somebody who doesn’t like the idea, but we think that’s a good sign too, because it’s eliciting a reaction. Beyond the names, the collection has started an interesting conversation about how separations must be more practical and friendly.
The campaign is still live, and we are inviting people to suggest new names for furniture they would like to see via social media. It’s so funny to read people’s proposals!
LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project? How did you overcome them?
Bruno> The main challenge was related to innovation. We knew we had a good idea on paper, and we all loved it, but the challenge was to bring it to life and develop a line of furniture like never before. At the beginning, we didn’t know if it was going to work because the items not only had to look spectacular, but they also had to be functional. FC’s design team did an amazing job to create the whole range in a short period of time!
Federico> The first challenge was to ensure people saw the collection as a response to things that happen in life, and not as an opportunity to associate it with something tragic or bad. From a design perspective, the hardest challenge was to make sure each piece of furniture in the collection had its own personality. Although the sofa and the dining table have a very similar structure, the idea is the product is not seen as something that’s been cut in half, but has its own identity – which is where the difference lies. We had to think about designing two pieces of similar furniture rather than one, and we were able to achieve that much faster than we expected.
LBB> What has the response to the campaign been like? Have you encountered any commentary on the potential awkwardness of buying from this collection?
Bruno> The public’s response has been amazing. People love the collection. You can feel it when reading the comments on social media. Of course, we have found some comments complaining about how edgy the idea is, but it is nice to see how people respond to those comments arguing that relationships have changed, and it makes sense to make the separation between couples or friends more practical and friendly.
LBB> Is there anything you’d like to add?
Bruno> We would like to thank FC Home & Deco for their bravery and for believing in this idea from the beginning. Together we’ve been able to open up a new business opportunity and really add value to the brand.
Federico> We would like to recognise the design team who were involved in developing this incredible collection. We were lucky enough to work with a team of designers, including architects, industrial designers, decorators, interior designers and more. Sometimes even the manufacturing team has been involved in designing a product or idea because they know how to make it as high quality as possible.