Hardware Ads Offer Home Tips

Ogilvy & Mather dispenses quirky home improvement tips in positioning Orchard Supply Hardware as a more customer-friendly alternative to larger retail chains.

“They wanted to carve out a niche and personality,” said Mitch Gordon, a group creative director at the Chicago agency. “The thing [Orchard] has been able to hold onto is customer service.”

Sears, Roebuck & Co., an Ogilvy client, bought the Orchard chain in 1996. Ogilvy landed the business in March 2000. It previously had been handled at the San Francisco office of Sears’ other roster shop, Young & Rubicam

Six television spots from Ogilvy began airing last week. The ads are low-key illustrations of interesting ways to solve household problems that do not involve going to the hardware store, such as employing a carrot to remove a broken lightbulb, or a comb to hold small nails in place for hammering.

“There’s a lot of people who want to get a little help,” with their projects, Gordon said. “[They] actually are selling you information.”

The spots end with a voiceover stating the campaign’s theme: “The answers are out there. We’ll help you find them.”

The campaign is an extension of a print effort that began appearing last May, Gordon said. Ogilvy’s previous TV work was more humor oriented. One spot depicted children in an above-ground pool as a relative prepares to cannonball into it. Orchard provided the tools to fix the subsequent mess.

“That campaign was designed to cut through the clutter,” said Kevin Jackson, director of marketing, hardware stores for Sears. “Our customers are much more intelligent, and we wanted to play to that.”

OSH operates 80 stores, all in California. The ads will air in California through the summer. Similarly themed Hispanic spots, created by Latin Sphere, Santa Monica, Calif., will also air in Los Angeles.

Billings were not disclosed, but spending was expected to remain around the $10 million level of previous years recorded by CMR.