B&Q Build a Life: Time to get gooey-eyed about DIY?

B&QChoose nails. Choose tools. Choose plasterboard. Choose rawlplugs. Choose paint. Choose wallpaper. Choose DIY. With apologies to Irvine Welsh, this week we are in the land of home improvements and where better to go than Block & Quayle (that’s B&Q to you lot), which has been trading since Neil Armstrong first uttered those immortal words “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for DIY” (or something like that).

Now, B&Q has come a long way since those days; Block might have quit early but Quayle went on to trouser £4m when the business was eventually sold to Woolworths at the beginning of the Eighties. And, by then, DIY was firmly in the national psyche.

Of course, since the pandemic struck, home has not only been where the heart is, it’s been where everything is and it is this new connection which Uncommon Creative Studio is trying to tap into with the agency’s first campaign, since being appointed to the B&Q account in December last year.

Breaking this week on TV, with outdoor executions to follow, “Build a Life” attempts to create a more emotional link with consumers, by capturing a portrait of British homes and showing how they have changed over the years.

Crafted from real home video clips made by 69 families across the UK’s 69 cities, we see birthday parties, catch-ups over a cuppa, family rows and slamming doors, all interspersed with DIY disasters and triumphs.

Game of Thrones actor Rory McCann narrates the spot, which is set to Manhatta by The Cinematic Orchestra, the British “nu jazz” and electronic group. As the track builds into a stirring crescendo, the voiceover concludes: “You don’t buy a life you build one. What a day it was, the day you found out you can do it.” Pretty heavy stuff if you are only after a couple of washers.

The overall message is that home has never been so important, especially after lockdown. The brand’s recent survey found that lockdown has changed British attitudes towards their homes, with 57% agreeing their homes are more significant than ever in improving their lives.

B&Q marketing director Chris Graham seems pretty chuffed. He said: “At B&Q we’ve been making, growing, and selling the tools, materials and know-how to improve homes for over 50 years. To us, these things are more than bricks and mortar.

“We believe that anyone can improve their home to make life better. It’s precisely this insight that makes us so proud and privileged to be a business where we can help people shape the homes that mean so much to them. Our 27,000 colleagues, myself included, love hearing about the projects our customers take on – it’s what inspires and motivates us.”

Uncommon co-founder Nils Leonard is equally pleased: “‘You can do it’ has never been a more powerful thought. The idea that you can build a room, a house, a life. Uncommon are proud to partner B&Q in their mission to help everyone build the life they want.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Will we be rushing down to our local store to pick up those essential last bits to finish that job we’ve been meaning to complete for years? Will we be eyeing up the paint charts to give the dining room a new look for autumn? Or how about checking out a new garden shed?

Well, we’re not too sure this ad will drive us to “B&Q it”. As well crafted – and well meaning – as it is, getting all gooey-eyed about DIY somehow does quite work. We get where they’re trying to come from, but this is do-it-your-bloody-self guys, something that most people only do begrudgingly because they can’t afford to the get the trades in.

Still, we’ve always liked The Cinematic Orchestra…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “pass the hammer and nails, son, let’s patch this up” 7 of out 10

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