Hornbach specialty stores empower Europe’s DIYers

The onslaught of bad economic news last year left many consumers feeling powerless, incapable of regaining control over their lives. Hornbach, a DIY specialist store with 130 locations in nine European countries, sought to inspire and invigorate DIYers with “Make it your project,” a 2009 campaign that won a gold Euro Effie Award in mid-September. The campaign helped attract millions of new customers, with the percentage of those who “purchased something at Hornbach within the past twelve months” increasing by 18 points, according to the Effie Award case study. Competitors, by comparison, reported a 2 percent decline in the same time frame.

The TVC features an anthem intended to instill consumers with a sense of urgency about stepping up and starting to address what needs fixing, from the everyday details—the wobbling table, the crack in the wall, the paperwork and the garden work—to the much bigger picture (forgotten dreams, broken banks, bureaucracy and democracy). Viewers are told to “make it your project” while a montage of dreamlike imagery and a fierce set of strings builds to a crescendo. The DIY message hit home among consumers feeling let down by big institutions during the Great Recession, reminding people that things are fixable if you start taking concrete action, and that each small fix creates positive change, whether on a personal or a global level.

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