Bunnings has transformed seven stores across Australia and New Zealand into Bluey’s ‘Hammerbarn’ in a play to attract a new consumer demographic. ‘Hammerbarn’ is the fictitious hardware store that features in the hit kids show Bluey, which is being regarded as one of the most popular animated television shows of the decade. Bunnings’ rebrand to ‘Hammerbarn’ is a case study of how retailers can activate their bricks-and-mortar stores to better engage consumers by offering uniq
g unique experiences. By bringing the make-believe hardware store to life for its customers’ children, Bunnings is seeking to solidify its reputation as a trusted Australian retailer for generations to come. Typically, parents are the ones convincing their kids that a family trip to Bunnings will be a quick pit stop but now kids are dragging their parents to the ‘Hammerbarn’ experience. Putting family first Since its founding in 1886 and the opening of its first warehouse in 1996, Bunnings has cemented its status as an Australian legacy brand but now it’s looking to secure its next generation of customers. Beyond its commercial customers, Bunnings is frequented by DIYers shopping for home improvement products, and for this demographic, a weekend trip to the local hardware store is an occasion for the whole family. Ryan Baker, Bunnings’ chief customer officer, said “Bricks-and-mortar environments lend themselves to deeper connections with customers. And for many of our customers, their relationship with Bunnings starts in childhood and goes through to retirement – so we’ve created a fun, memorable experience that families can share.” Despite not being able to bring ‘Hammerbarn’ to every store location, Bunnings is hosting Bluey-themed activities for kids at every Bunnings store across Australia and New Zealand. Bunning’s organic Facebook post promoting the Bluey-inspired kids’ workshops was its most successful to date, receiving more than 500,000 impressions in two days and generating 15,000click-throughs to its website. “Consumers are always on the lookout for a retail experience that’s fresh and different, and from a marketing perspective, you want to be on the front foot by doing things that get people talking. It’s been great to see such an overwhelmingly positive response to the collaboration,” Baker explained. While DIY workshops aren’t a new experience at Bunnings, the collaboration with Bluey provided a fresh take on a tried-and-true retail activation for the brand. Previous to the ‘Hammerbarn’ makeover, Bunning’s record for DIY workshop registrations was 10,000 but the collaboration with the popular kids TV show saw a turnout of 30,000 people in the first weekend. When authenticity sells The success of Bunnings’ collaboration with Bluey hinged on the authenticity of the brand partnership. A kids’ animated television series might not have been the most obvious choice for a retail collaboration but the Bluey franchise and Bunnings warehouse have a long history. The promotional rebrand was based on a Bluey episode called ‘Hammerbarn’, where the Heeler family heads out on a classic weekend mission, a trip to their local hardware store – a storyline that hits home with Bunnings customers. It’s no accident that the cartoon ‘Hammerbarn’ resembled Bunnings since the creators of Bluey, Ludo Studio, visited the Keperra store in Brisbane to sketch the store for the original animation. “We’re so excited to be collaborating with Bluey and bringing ‘Hammerbarn’ to life across Australia and New Zealand during February. Families everywhere have developed a deep affection for Bluey and the rest of the Heeler family, and we couldn’t think of a better way to engage them than by bringing two iconic Aussie brands together,” said Baker. But of course, Bunnings extended this retail activation into a co-branded product line that Bluey fans can purchase and take home with them as a keepsake of their trip to the real-life ‘Hammerbarn’. “Our dedicated Bluey merch range was extremely popular the moment it hit our shelves, from the ‘husband’ garden gnomes and pet toys through to the bucket hats and tote bags. The gnomes were particularly sought after, and we’re working hard to bring additional stock to selected stores as soon as we can,” said Baker.Unexpected but authentic partnerships are finding surprising success in retail and Bunnings’ collaboration with Bluey is no exception – ‘Hammerbarn’ is proving to be an attraction for the whole family.