Lowe’s makes DIY a way to (safely) get out of the house

New campaigns for Rona and Reno-Depot go after targets with different experience levels, but an equal desire to be outside.


Lowe’s Canada brands are heading outdoors in its latest creative, showing new renovation and garden projects as a way to get out of the house while still being responsible.

“Do More At Home Outside” for Rona has a professional client dancing for joy in his backyard due to the fact that he is able to work outside. “Sortez, chez vous” (“Go Out at Home”) for Réno-Dépot features the Morissette family – recurring characters for the brand – working outside in a way that emphasizes social distancing, but shows they can still maintain camaraderie, including a neighbourly chat via drone.

“The idea was to bring more joy to the consumer by talking about the new reality and making a home a happy place,” according to Catherine Laporte, Lowe’s Canada’s VP, marketing and ecommerce. She says that COVID remains top of mind for most consumers, but Brian Gill, creative director at Sid Lee, adds that the agency and brand were mindful of Canadians being cooped up, champing at the bit to get outside, a jumping off point for both spots being set in backyards.

While the Morissette family has been used by Reno-Depot to show the accessibility of simpler at-home projects – which can still be done during the pandemic – the Rona spot features a character more representative of a more experienced DIYer. Laporte says Rona has more small-format stores and a community connection that puts it in closer competition with the likes of Home Hardware, but offering materials like lumber have given it a legacy with the DIY and professional contracting set.

Laporte says the company normally activates around this time, but following COVID, it has increased its spend and presence to be more present in the market and give consumers more confidence when hardware stores were allowed to reopen across different jurisdictions. There were some delays while the brand weighed the implications of a dancing protagonist for the French language market as the “Horacio dance” scandal was breaking (in mid-May, Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health, issued a tearful public apology for dancing online to a COVID-referencing Québécois rap song by Rod le Stod that name checked him in the lyrics).

Both new spots both end with mentions of curbside pickup, free delivery and ecommerce options. Those are being highlighted in all of the retailers’ spring communications, which are not directly encouraging people to come to encourage online shopping. To deal with maintaining social distancing at the store level, Laporte says it is relying on elements that have become standard in retail: putting in measures to increase checkout speed, using signage and overhead broadcasts to remind customers to keep their distance, floor markers and plexiglass barriers.

Laporte says its customers are well-adapted to online options, and had already been adapting considerably to click-and-collect pre-COVID when curbside pickup was added to the mix as a response to the pandemic. She says there was a big spike in ecommerce, especially where markets were fully closed like Ontario. However, the spike has not been enough to compensate for store closures. In a May 20 conference call, Lowe’s president and CEO Marvin Ellison reported that in Canada, the company posted negative comparable store sales, which he attributes to the brand being “adversely impacted by store closures and other regulatory related operating restrictions.”

From a marketing standpoint, Laporte says the brands will encourage customers to pursue multiple buy options, as well as other platforms where it can access the kinds of things they are used to having access to in-store. She says Lowe’s Canada has implemented chat with experts on the website for its three banners, powered by iAdvize, and have increased the visibility of its how-to videos for various home building projects.

The latest campaigns will be on air until July 8, and include TV, online, radio and social media executions. Sid Lee handled creative and production, with Starcom on media.