The Handyman’s Tale

Home Depot and Lowes have inundated the American consumer with couples spending their weekend painting walls, landscaping, and sealing grout. When the thirty seconds have run their mundane course the audience has most likely averted their attention– watching some unknown man lay another cobblestone doesn’t set the stage for recall.

These ads lack the ability to make an idea “stick.”  Authors, Dan and Chip Heath, describe in “Made to Stick” that stickiness is achieved when various elements are applied allowing an idea to be memorable and interesting. These home improvement organizations have established their core concept as “doing it yourself”, but failed to empower their audience through a narrative.

In case you haven’t seen a male-weed-wacks-while-female-tests-color-splotches spot recently, here is one to jog your memory.

The above strategy is obsolete of unexpectedness and emotion; the two factors of “stickiness” that grasp the audience’s attention and foster an internal understanding of the concept. In integrating these elements an idea has the power to travel beyond the viewer, allowing a brand to infiltrate into people’s minds and hopefully sway their behavior.

Promart Homecenter (available in the US) and Hornbach (of Germany) are home improvement organizations that have accomplished “stickiness” in their promotions.

During each spot the viewer is pulled in, able to since the distress of the main character (the daughter), but unable to identify the source of the issue or the foreseeable solution. The audience’s imagination is left to dwell on how the next fifteen seconds will unfold.

A solution arrives through utilizing items found at Hornbach/Promart, although the viewer is never bored with the father’s store visit. The spots depict “doing it yourself” in a meaningful way, as the audience can interweave the quirkiness of their own families to the plotline of a family making their home as individual as they are.

The power of storytelling proves itself through comparing the differing strategies. Consider tomorrow, will the scent of mulch trigger your memory to the smiling man wheel barreling his Home Depot product? Probably not.

Though chances are upon ringing a doorbell your heart will get a pang of warmth, remembering how a dad helped his angsty, deaf daughter stay in touch with her crush. Better yet, a dad who went to Promart.

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