The latest campaign from U.K. home improvement retailer B&Q is about the coming of Spring and promotes its plants and gardening range-- but its significance goes wider than that.
The new ad, by Uncommon, celebrates the renewal of spring in the U.K. after a long winter of grinding pandemic lockdown, which is currently set to be eased by the reopening of retail and outdoor dining, as well as being able to meet up to six people outdoors, on April 12.
Directed by Sacred Egg via Riff Raff in a style that blends photography and animation as well as live action, the film opens on bleak winter scenes but goes to depict flowers bursting through concrete, green shoots appearing in vegetable beds and children playing in the sunshine as well as people tending their gardens. "Dear Winter, we didn't lose hope...we planted it," says the narrator, " Scottish actor Rory McCann, who played Sandor "The Hound" Clegane Game of Thrones." The ad is set to the track "Valkara" by electronic duo Maribou State.
"The arrival of spring has never meant more to us than it does now," said Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon, in a statement. "We're not just coming out of another winter--there's a whole load of stuff we're leaving behind this time."
B&Q Marketing Director Chris Graham said after a year of lockdowns, consumer research showed that people now think of outside spaces as a top priority. "Of the 86% of British homeowners who embraced DIY as a way to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, more than a quarter focused on the garden as a way to spend more time with friends and family outside."
The film is running on U.K. TV, with print and outdoor work set to follow over the coming weeks.
B&Q's U.K. spot comes as U.S. home improvement retailers, including Lowe's and Home Depot, are also preparing spring campaigns. Lowe’s recently kicked off a month-long spring campaign, called SpringFest, that is meant to continue consumers’ love affair with their homes while Home Depot, like B&Q, is hoping to tap into the sense of renewal and celebration that consumers are feeling after the chill of a COVID-filled winter, in a campaign called “Bring on Spring.”