That couch was made for tracking

Leon's is creating a receiver that records the amount of time you sit on a couch (and bond) with the family.
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Leon’s has come a long way from “Ho Ho Hold the Payments.” The furniture retailer is now enlisting new tech in its mission to bring families together.

Using technology developed by ad agency Taxi, a small receiver can be attached to any piece of furniture in the home, be it the living room couch or dinner table. “Together time” is recorded when two or more family members wearing a small, rubber tracking bracelet are within close proximity of the receiver. Simple LED lights will let people know how their family time is tracking: green if they’re on pace for more time together, red for less, with more detailed stats on a tablet display.

In March, Leon’s and Taxi launched the retailer’s new “Part of the Family” brand positioning aimed at being more relevant to consumers under 45.

Diversifying its previous focus on promotions and discounts, the insight was that furniture is where families come together.

“We want to continue to build that emotional connection with our audience, but, you have to find new and interesting ways to reach customers if you want to do that,” says Andrea Graham, senior marketing executive at Leon’s.

Graham says the brand’s insight work revealed that even though Canadians are increasingly using wearables and apps to track activities, they struggle to find time to spend together. The average time a working adult in Canada spends with family has been declining for 30 years.

“If we make them more aware of how much time they are spending together, they may make a change, the same way someone tracking their diet or exercise would,” Graham says.

The connected furniture will likely not be sold in stores, instead being given away as part of a promotional campaign in the new year, the details of which are still being planned.

This article appears in the November/December issue of strategy.