La-Z-Boy, Kristen Bell launch #OneMillionThanks campaign for nurses

By Jay Skebba / The Blade
Wed, 20 May 2020 12:00:00 GMT

link -- with images

MONROE — Essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic can never be thanked enough for their sacrifices, but one area company is trying to give them at least a million.

Monroe-based La-Z-Boy launched the #OneMillionThanks campaign last week with help from actress Kristen Bell. The furniture giant is giving away $1 million worth of new furniture to nurses in the U.S. and is encouraging consumers to send their thanks on social media using the hashtag.

Chief Marketing Officer Eli Winkler said La-Z-Boy harnessed the creativity they saw online and wanted to say "thank you" in one of the biggest ways yet.

"We recognized that frontline medical professionals are currently living without the comfort of their own homes," Mr. Winkler said. "Many of them are working prolonged hours and are social distancing from their families; it is an incredibly stressful time for them. To show our appreciation, we wanted to ensure that, when they can return home, they are able to do so with comfort."

Ms. Bell partnered with the company to spread the word. She posted a video to her Instagram account last week of her writing "Thank you essential workers" with sidewalk chalk. The video featuring her dogs has over a million views.

"It was a no-brainer to announce the One Million Thanks campaign with brand ambassador Kristen Bell," Mr. Winkler said. "She has been a great partner in bringing people across the country together to say “thank you” to frontline nurses. Thanks to her social media post, we have been able to create a wave of support for these nurses."

Twitter users are getting creative with their messages. One user spelled out "Thank you" using college logos, and another made a heart out of flowers in the popular game Animal Crossing.

A virtual thank you card to sign is available at

Furniture donations are going to nurses in areas of the country most affected by coronavirus. La-Z-Boy is working with the American Nurses Association to give away sofas, chairs, and recliners.

The coronavirus is forcing companies to change how they market, and La-Z-Boy is no exception.

"We have worked hard to meet the needs of consumers as they have evolved over the past few months," Mr. Winkler said. "This includes creating new services, means of interaction to ensure that individuals can shop in a way that they feel most comfortable."

Ainsworth Bailey, associate professor of marketing at the University of Toledo, said one of the issues facing companies is the current mood of consumers. Many have a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty.

The new climate has forced companies to alter their approach to marketing.

"A number of studies show consumers have cut back spending and are focusing more on essentials," Mr. Bailey said. "In terms of messaging, how do we market during this time? Should we go for the hard sell and act like nothing is wrong? You've seen some cut back on messaging and the hard sell."

As La-Z-Boy aims to help out frontline workers, they may also make inroads with consumers at the same time. Mr. Bailey said the $1 million can be viewed as an investment.

"They're investing in the crisis in a sense and trying to build up goodwill with consumers," he said. "They're engaging them, but not necessarily right now. They're saying consumers are likely to remember this and when things get back to normal, they'll profit."