Associated Volume Buyers is embarking on a $20 million national advertising campaign that will position the buying groups' 2,400 members as a single retail entity known as Brand Source.
The effort, which kicks off in April, will encompass television, print and radio, and enlists actor John Ratzenberger of TV's Cheers fame as the Brand Source spokesman.
The ads, driven by the tagline "Your neighborhood expert," humorously deride the shopping experience at warehouse clubs and national chains, and point to the "expert advice and service" that Brand Source dealers provide. TV spots focusing on major appliances and CE products will appear on such cable networks as HGTV, Lifetime and USA, and will be buoyed by national radio spots and print ads.
AVB members will also spend an expected $150 million in local advertising to support the strategy, which mirrors brand-building programs by retail cooperatives Ace Hardware and True Value.
"This is a very exciting time for us," said AVB executive director Bob Lawrence. "It's truly the birth of a new retail entity that, given the breadth of experience and expertise our associates have, should perform quite well in today's competitive appliance, furniture and electronics retail market.
"Our niche in competing with the big-box stores is that you'll find very knowledgeable people at locally owned Brand Source stores who really care about providing customers with value-add solutions versus just pushing products on them."