B&Q and Uncommon show the time for post-pandemic positivity in advertising is now

While there remains so much uncertainty, the role of creativity in providing reassurance to weary consumers is a significant marketing opportunity.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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“Dear Winter, we didn’t lose hope, we planted it.” The powerful copywriting of the ‘We Will Grow Again’ campaign for B&Q raises a flag for post-pandemic positivity. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for marketers is hitting the right tone in the midst of the global pandemic because, while lockdown restrictions have eased, significant hurdles and lies ahead. Having the creative confidence to be positive isn’t easy.

At every measure we are not yet as a society in a ‘post pandemic’ world, yet as B&Q’s latest spot from Uncommon underlines, marketers have a unique opportunity to embrace the warm glow of post-pandemic positivity in their marketing activity. For while there remains so much uncertainty, the role of creativity in providing reassurance to weary consumers is a significant marketing opportunity.

The past 12 months have been exceptionally challenging when it comes to hitting the right tone, specifically for brands based on ‘occasions’ in an experienced-deprived world. Yet as brands emerge from a consumer ecosystem in which fashion brands routinely marketed ’Zoom-ready’ outfits (pyjamas?) the opportunity to shift the tone is clear.

Of course, this isn’t always easy. The last 12-months have seen everyday occurrences in adverts, from full stadiums to the simple act of hugging, touching and socialising become emotionally jarring to consumers. Yet the danger is brands taking a softly, softly approach won’t be heard at all.

This is what makes this B&Q spot so powerful. The brand has already laid the groundwork, with its successful ‘Build a life’ campaign which included an outdoor campaign where straplines included, ‘Change isn’t scary when you’re holding a hammer'.

B&Q has an incredibly broad audience from those renting their homes, to first-time buyers, families and retired people. Yet while historically DIY and gardening have been depicted as a job to be done, a leak to fix, or a chore to add to a never-ending to-do list, B&Q’s shift in approach has been underpinned by the fact that improving a home, or nurturing a garden can be a joyful pursuit.

As Chris Graham, Marketing Director at B&Q, explained, “the campaign is the next iteration of our ‘Build a Life’ platform, which celebrates the role that improving a home can play in making life a little better.” He continues: “As we mark a year in lockdown, our new research also shows how consumers think of outside spaces as a top priority. Of the 86% of British homeowners who embraced DIY as a way to adapt to challenges of the pandemic, more than a quarter (27%) focussed on the garden as a way to spend more time with friends and family outside.”

Nils Leonard, Co-Founder of Uncommon Creative Studio added: “The arrival of spring has never meant more to all of us than it has now. We’re not just coming out of another winter; there’s a whole load of stuff we’re leaving behind this time. The sentiment that we will grow again is a lesson nature teaches us every year: the good stuff will always come through if you plant it.”

This spot recognises that while for many people this spring is more precious, fragile than ever, there is joy to be found in celebrating it.