ashley-furniture-santa-monica-pier-2023-product-vignettes and lounges

Ashley’s Beach Retreat Invites Consumers to Envision Their Ideal Outdoor Setups

Furniture retail brand Ashley activated the Beach Retreat at the Santa Monica Pier that highlighted the brand’s latest outdoor furniture offerings and allowed consumer passersby to lounge, enjoy a festive beverage, and listen to music. The activation took place over the weekend, June 17-18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., in a high-traffic location on the pier designed to show consumers how they can create their own “beach oasis” at home with Ashley’s outdoor collections.

On display were the brand’s Danson Swivel Lounge Chair, Sandy Bloom Outdoor Sofa, and Byron Bay Chaise Lounge, among furniture. But in addition to lounging, there were a few different ways the brand kept attendees engaged within the Ashley’s Beach Retreat footprint. Consumers could create sunglass chains with beads and pearls at a DIY sunglass station, play yard games like giant Connect Four and Jenga, and enjoy a freshly prepared coconut drink from vendor Coconuts by Coco Lily, while DJ Bella Fox spun beats. There were also branded giveaways on offer, like trendy natural fiber totes, branded beach blankets, Koozies and refillable water bottles.


• Experiential marketing is helping traditional brick-and-mortar furniture brands like Ashley compete with e-commerce competitors.

• Ashley’s experiential programs often leverage strategic, national partnerships (Pandora and Tempur-Pedic, as examples).

• Featuring vendors (like Coconuts by Coca Lily, an influencer) helped Ashley support the local economy and create surprise-and-delight moments.

Following the event, Ashley donated all the furniture back to the Santa Monica Pier for the pier to use in future activations as a sustainable solution and to ensure less waste, according to the brand.

“Our stores across the country are currently in the process of being remodeled and refreshed to enhance the in-store and guest experience, and we’re of the belief that the importance of experiential will continue to grow and evolve over the years to support and reflect what’s happening in the stores with new product introductions, and furniture and design trends,” says Liz Dufresne, senior manager-brand activations at Ashley.

Dufresne described “generating buzz” as one of the key strategic objectives for the event, and that local influencers received personal invitations to come out and help promote it. “The first thing we’re always asking ourselves is, does this campaign have legs and can we ensure it will live beyond the event date or physical location?” she says.

The Santa Monica Pier activation is one of several experiential programs Ashley has executed over the past year, including most recently a Hibernation Station activated in partnership with Tempur-Pedic at the brand’s Wesley Chapel and Pinellas Park storefront locations in Florida that offered participating consumers the chance to win a one-night, after-hours experience in the activation (and the chance to keep the mattress). And in 2022, the brand teamed up with Pandora for the Ashley x Pandora Home on Tour campaign, with product showcases and special performances by John Legend in L.A. and country artist Cole Swindell in Nashville.


Photo credit: Kyle Espeleta Photography

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the brand's head of content. Her travels covering the experiential marketing indust ry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (hey, it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
View all articles by Rachel Boucher →

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