The first spot, "nobody does it better", oozes emotion. Dad and son are seen toiling away to a Carly Simon soundtrack (6). What's it all in aid of? A nosy neighbour is seen peeking from behind her net curtains. Car pulls up outside house. Ahhh ... mum is home with a new baby. She's delighted with the new nursery her boys have been preparing. This could bring a tear to a glass eye.
Various supers throughout the spot highlight the rational benefits of B&Q's opening hours, product range and delivery service. Admittedly, it is a little clunky, but it works. Now where's that hammer?
The next two spots display an unprecedented level of complexity, not to mention production budget, to deliver straightforward price messages.
The beginning of "king's messenger" may well have inspired Tim Burton when he was making Sleepy Hollow (1). It's a dark evening with an air of mystery. A knight and his trusty steed ride hard, taking news to the king. What import this news? Perhaps a hostile force is advancing to ransack and pillage? Nope, roofing felt is £8.49 a roll at B&Q. Mind you, the castle probably has a large roof, so this could entail significant savings.
When watching "restaurant", I thought I had been sent a Gold Blend commercial with a Martini soundtrack (2). Successful-looking man makes eyes at attractive woman across restaurant. He's in. He calls for the waiter, unsurprisingly called Gino, to take a note across to her, presumably asking her back to his place for "coffee". She accepts the note with a seductive smile that quickly fades as she reads that twin and earth cable is down in price at B&Q. "Prices so low that you just have to tell somebody," says the voiceover. Maybe he should have kept it for his mate down the pub.
A totally new pricing policy on paint, meaning that everyone can afford to splash out, is effectively communicated through "pots for paint - train" (3). This ad is lovely, a simple spot that turns all of the grey carriages of a train into a riot of colour, much to the delight of a grandfatherly stationmaster. Range and price, the mainstays of much retail advertising, are delivered in a refreshing way.
The next spots move us from house to garden. In "horticulture", a friendly chap called Joe tells us of the quality control that bedding plants go through to meet B&Q's high standards (4). There's an overriding feeling of freshness in the commercial and, when Joe tells me "you can do it when you B&Q it", I'm worryingly inclined to believe him.
The last spot is the one I've been dreading, simply because it's called "do more outdoors" (5). I know I should and I have a nagging feeling that this ad is going to shame me into doing so. It doesn't fail. The ad takes us through everything that B&Q does to help us with outdoor living. It's cleanly shot and features a huge range of products from plants to furniture, swimming pools and barbecues. It reminds me that the garden is about a lot more than simply mowing the lawn, and tells me that I can be more stylish, bright and warm in my approach to it. Above all, the ad reminds me that it can be a huge amount of fun.
Now, where's that list of chores? There's a busy weekend ahead.
1. B&Q Title: King's messenger Agency: J. Walter Thompson - Bates UK Year: 1991 2. B&Q Title: Restaurant Agency: J. Walter Thompson - Bates UK Year: 1991 3. B&Q Title: Pots for paint - train Agency: J. Walter Thompson - Bates UK Year: 1992 4. B&Q Title: Horticulture Agency: J. Walter Thompson - Bates UK Year: 2003 5. B&Q Title: Do more outdoors Agency: JWT - Bates UK Year: 2005 6. B&Q Title: Nobody does it better Agency: J. Walter Thompson Year: 1988