How Real People Furnish Their Homes


Dunelm’s story began over 40 years ago, on a market stall in Leicester. Its first store opened in 1984, by 2018 it had 170 stores. 

UK retail is in a tough place. With Brexit uncertainty, falling consumer confidence, and recession looming, consumers have reined in spending. By April 2018, the high street suffered its worst year on record, with sales down 3.1% year on year.

For many years Dunelm operated without investing into brand. Instead they focused on opening stores in retail parks and using communications for tactical sale & store openings. Building its business through store expansion, value and range.  However, a combination of out of the way store locations, new store expansion plateauing, homewares sales shifting online, Dunelm’s like-for- like growth had begun to deteriorate, and actually declined. This necessitated an expansion of Dunelm’s customer base via ‘brand’ investment.


Our strategic starting point was Dunelm’s purpose: to help everyone create a home they love, but we needed an idea that spoke to our new growth audiences and differentiated Dunelm from competitors.

Our objectives were to raise awareness and broaden brand appeal in order to grow sales amongst these newly identified audiences. Whilst driving significant increases on the metrics ‘quality & stylish’ and brand consideration.

Dunlem’s the Home of Homes campaign was born, showing how Dunelm helps and inspires their customers to create their perfect home. Featuring real customers, in their real homes, with homewares they had selected to complement their existing décor. The creative was entirely unscripted, and their stories were brought to life in their own words.

We created a series of brand films for TV and social. In addition, Dunelm worked with ITV to co-fund a TV series – Back to Mine. The show stayed true to our creative platform, showing real people and real homes. Our sponsorship idents complimented the programme, with beautiful (but real) homewares images, whilst also injecting products with personality as they chatted each other up.


From Autumn 2018 throughout 2019 we allied smart channel choices, innovative media behaviour and distinctive creative content to reach our target.

From sponsorship idents to brand campaigns we established Dunelm as everyone’s chosen partner in home making.

Dunelm’s brand building campaign was an outstanding success, driving brand perceptions, customer numbers and sales, despite an unforgiving retail climate.

We saw 6.1% sales growth, vs market growth of just 1.4% (a 4.7% differential). Sales were driven both in-store and online up +7.3% and +28.4% respectively.

We are pleased with our overall performance in the first half and are helping more customers than ever to create a home they love. By focusing back on our core business, under one Dunelm brand, we are improving our trading and financial performance.

Nick Wilkinson, Chief Executive, Dunelm

2020 - Need for Change

Covid -19 resulted not only in huge changes to our shopping habits, but importantly, in how we view and use our home. With the nation in lockdown we had to ensure our creative reflected the changes in family and society’s need for their home.

We needed to identify the emotional core of Dunelm’s brand purpose and leverage this, expressing it in a relatable way, at a time of massive change. The importance of colleagues, community and commerce couldn’t be overstated. The result was a new campaign built on the nation’s home truths sourced from Dunelm’s customers and colleagues that highlight the importance of home to everyone – Home. We get it. was born.  

The campaign showcased universal moments of truth that are relatable, funny and joyful, helping celebrate real homes and firmly positioning Dunelm as a brand that gets home. We wanted to show the reality of home - comfortable, content, messy and brilliant.


The campaign consisted of 3x 10”, 1x 30” & 1 x 60” TV spots, 30” radio ads, alongside supporting social and digital content. 

The campaign resulted in a positive shift in all key metrics, exceeding industry engagement scores for the first time for Dunelm. Both brand awareness and consideration metrics increased and social sentiment was overwhelmingly positive.

Following its success we launched the Christmas Nap and a Spring Home We Get It campaign will launch at the end of March 2021.


MullenLowe Group UK: Dunelm, How Real People Furnish Their Homes

MullenLowe Group expanded Dunelm's customer base through brand investment over the last three years, through market uncertainty, retail collapses and the pandemic.

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MullenLowe Group UK

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