Home Depot breaks from the past to reach new homeowners

Who: Home Depot, with FCB for strategy and creative, UM for media, and Fela for production (directed by Jackson Tisi).

What: A new brand campaign, “Do You,” that breaks from Home Depot’s traditional style and approach in order to target younger consumers.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, with a focus on TV (through the end of May) and online/social video (through the end of June).

Why: Home Depot has long been a dominant brand among homeowners and DIYers, a group it calls “doers.” But the brand has been looking at how it can remain as relevant and popular with a new—and very different—consumer cohort.

Breaking through and connecting with that group was the most important goal of this year’s spring campaign, while also responding to the shopping behaviour and interest shifts caused by the pandemic.

“It’s making sure that we are really ready for a new generation of homeowners,” said Shelley Brown, FCB’s chief strategy officer. “These are people who don’t have a ton of experience.”

How: Connecting with a different consumer target group meant a decidedly different creative approach—ads that don’t feel like typical Home Depot ads. “We wanted to make sure that the creative would stand out visually from what Home Depot has done in the past,” said Jodi Spanninga, VP and group account director.

Home Depot campaigns have typically been product focused, and set in a very recognizable Home Depot store. This campaign is not that.

The agency chose a director (Tisi) who has worked a lot on music videos. The result is fast-paced ads with lots of quick cuts and attention-grabbing music (“New Thing” by Bonti). “This is one of the first times that we’ve actually invested that heavily in music, just as another opportunity to break through, particularly with younger demos,” said Spanninga.

Most importantly, the creative is about how the store can have an impact on the lives of younger homeowners. Home Depot products and tools are featured (arriving by delivery), but the focus is on how they transform consumers’ backyard space— whether they’re into gardening, pretty decks and outdoor furniture, BBQing or play areas for kids.

The lead 30-second ad shows how Home Depot can empower consumers, said Spanninga. “It is intended to inspire people to be able to maximize the space they’re living in, regardless of what type of a person they are, what type of aesthetic they have, versus being about this specific chair or this specific stain for your deck.” The ad ends with “Do You” as a closing campaign line.

The COVID factor: Home Depot and FCB had a campaign planned for last year that was “a little bit fresher” and targeting younger consumers, said Spanninga. But the day they got back from shooting in Miami was the first day of the first lockdown.

That fresh approach had to be thrown out in favour of ads with a tone and tenor that matched the early pandemic mood. “We no longer could have a spot where people were feeling great about their backyards and standing close to each other,” said Spanninga. Instead they had to be more subdued, with new creative that  leaned heavily on stock art (like so much creative from Q2 2020).

The COVID delay also led the agency to rethink the messaging itself. “It shifted the perspective pretty dramatically to ‘What does Home Depot mean beyond the store? What does it represent in people’s lives?'” said Brown

“What we’re showing is that Home Depot as a brand allows people to make their space whatever they want it to be. So it’s a fresh modern interpretation of ‘doing,’ focused very much on ‘These are the results that you can create, this is what you can do with the Home Depot.'”

David Brown