Lowes Home Improvement just launched a new campaign called “Make your home happy.” The spots feature a talking unicorn and flamingo in a manicured lawn. The flamingo ad talks about a 1-year guarantee on plants and the unicorn ad talks about Lowe’s Personalized Lawn Care Plan, although I had to watch it a couple of times to figure that out. The ads try to bring a humorous touch to Lowes Home Improvement as it is the beginning of the busy season.
The problem is that the positioning is all wrong, especially in terms of tone. Lowe’s chief rival, Home Depot, has been hitting the same messages for sometime now – either a version of “Let’s Do This” or “More Saving, More Doing” – with the very serious voice of Josh Lucas. The seriousness of the voice overmatches Home Depot’s serious look and feel as well the images of work and accomplishment. The Home Depot ads try to empower and encourage the viewer to say, “The home owner takes this seriously and so does Home Depot.”
Now juxtapose the Home Depot ads with the Lowe’s ads. Those ads lack seriousness and are more about the joke than getting the job done. Further, the ads give the viewer no real reason to choose.
Lowes Home Improvement needs to consider a different tone.
Positioning, especially in ads, is difficult. The purpose is to represent something that is different and better but at the same time carrying enough gravitas to make it important to the prospect.
Typically, the best position is stationed in opposition to a position already taken in the market. This gives a prospect a real choice while providing the most separation between the brands. In the case of the Lowes Home Improvement, it is positioning itself directly opposite of serious.
Remember when I said that positioned brands should represent something different, better, have gravitas and reflect the prospect? At least Lowe’s got the different part.
If you just look at the ads, do you want to be the homeowner who has pride in their home and approaches things seriously? Or the opposite of that?
I am all for humor in ads. I find humor memorable and, when it is done in the right way, it can have a strong connection with a target audience. However, it has to be used appropriately. For Lowes Home Improvement, talking unicorns and flamingos miss the mark. Homeowners and do-it-yourselfers take what they do seriously. Lowe’s should too.