Meet the man behind Portsmouth’s viral furniture adverts

SCROLLING through Facebook, it’s not uncommon to stumble across adverts in your news feed.

But one man’s adverts have taken the internet by storm, endearing him to local residents and people from further afield.

Barnard Mendel of Italian Furniture Direct

Barnard Mendel of Italian Furniture Direct

For months, Bernard Mendel has been advertising Italian Furniture Direct, based at The Pompey Centre in Fratton Way, Portsmouth – but has recently seen his videos go viral, with tens of thousands of views and hundreds of shares.

The 59-year-old says he is ‘amazed’ by the response to his videos, which have been received with a tongue-in-cheek humour.

He said: ‘We pay to boost our adverts on Facebook, but hundreds of people have been sharing the videos as well.

‘My accountant came up with the idea – we had been doing videos with music and so on for months and I thought “I’ll just stand in front of a camera and get on with it” – so I did.

Bernard Mendel, right, has been at The Pompey Centre for 16 years

Bernard Mendel, right, has been at The Pompey Centre for 16 years

‘I was genuinely amazed when so many people started clicking it and sharing it though.’

Mr Mendel says that his videos have been done for fun, and hopes that people recognise that.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of fun and very tongue-in-cheek – I’ve heard a couple of people say it’s a bit like QVC which is nice.

‘I think some people are too serious about themselves and wouldn’t want any criticism, but it’s nice that people have generally been so positive.

‘Everyone seems to understand what it’s about, but at the same time it's definitely brought more customers through the door too.

‘It’s funny in a way – I tell people we’re at The Pompey Centre in the videos because I assume people will know where that is, not realising people watching it are from places like Liverpool and so on because people have shared it.’

Mr Mendel has worked in retail since he was 19.

He moved into The Pompey Centre 16 years ago – but says that the past few months have been some of the most exciting in his career.

Mr Mendel explained: ‘I walk down the street and people recognise me now.

‘It’s nice that so many people know about the business and what we do; to me, that’s the most important thing.

‘There’s always a couple of people with nasty things to say – some people say I sound like Zippy from Rainbow – but I’m broad shouldered. It’s mostly meant in jest and I can take it.’