I Can’t help but make a comment about these two companies. Both of them are actively pushing their brand through tv spots, both of them are very well known names, and both of them offer the exact same services and products. And at first glance, their commercials might even seem similar. However, there is a rudimentary difference between them that I believe makes one successful and the other, well, not so much.
But first, we have to determine what the goals of the company are and the goals of their targeted consumers. Only then can we make an objective critique.
- Goal of the company:
- Entice more people to use their store for their home improvement needs.
- Goal of the consumer:
- To fix, improve, and modify their homes.
You will see that both of these ads actually do very well at addressing the needs of their consumers. At the root of their concepts they communicate the same message: to do something. I recently read this book. It’s written by a man who spent most of his career as a psychologist, and then used his experience to transfer over to corporate marketing and advertising. He argues that behind every product, there is a ‘code’ or a specific trait that a particular culture associates with it. It is a fascinating book filled with some great insights into why we behave the way we do when it comes to purchasing decisions. In the book, he discusses how important ‘doing’ is to Americans. It is a word that speaks to us. We measure our success by what we have ‘done.’ When we meet someone, we ask what they ‘do.’ If there is an industry that this concept speaks to directly, it is the home improvement industry. How well do these ads speak to someone that wants to ‘do’ something to improve their home?
Let’s Build Something Together
These spots center around inexperienced home owners that go to Lowe’s to receive the tools they need as well as the training and advice to send them on their way. Both the concept and the slogan are extremely on key for giving the customer the means to ‘do’ their projects. However, there are a couple small flaws that we can see after a second thought. Who are these ads really enabling? Is it the customer? Apparently, their customers are airheads that need help with the simplest of tasks. How to paint a wall? How to tighten a nut? Really? What about the big stuff? Think they could build their own deck? Lay their own sod? It’s not likely. That’s why the ads are actually only enabling the store’s employees. They are the only ones that are competent enough to actually ‘do’ something noteworthy. Even the clever slogan, ‘Let’s Build Something Together,’ implies that you need their help. You can’t do it yourself, let us help you do it. This might help their reputation for customer service, but how realistic is that kind of customer service anyway? I’ve never received that kind of attention in a home improvement store.
More Saving, More Doing
If that doesn’t make you want to get out and build something, I don’t know what will. This ad appeals to just about anyone that has a little bit of handyman in them. Who doesn’t have a little pet project or idea they’d like to try out to improve their home? You’ll also notice that Home Depot doesn’t put a specific face to any of their employees. Who is in the commercial? The customers. They are the ones putting these awesome projects together — not just tightening their plumbing. The slogan is spot on, ‘More Saving, More Doing. That’s the Power of The Home Depot.’ Nailed it. They even use the word ‘do!’ It completely empowers the customer, and doesn’t even ask for a thank you.
And the Winner Is…
Yes, these are subtle differences in messaging, but they make a huge difference. The Home Depot definitely pulls out on top on this one. Lowe’s is actually doing pretty well, and should be commended for what they’ve accomplished. But when you compare the ads side by side, there is really no question as to which empowers the customer to accomplish their home improvement projects. The Home Depot has a completely different attitude. It’s all about providing you with the tools and resources you need and then getting out of the way while you give your neighbors something to talk about. Really, my hat is off to the Home Depot marketing department on this one.
I'm Scott, and I love writing things like this. But I spend most of my time working as a designer.
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