OKRP Tells Viewers to Ask for Help at Ace Hardware

By Erik Oster 

Ace Hardware’s jingle, “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.” has always played on consumers lack of knowledge when it comes to home improvement, highlighting the brand’s helpful sales people. O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, who won lead creative duties for the brand last May, launched a new campaign emphasizing this message, with a series of spots concluding with an addendum to the jingle. 

Each spot in the campaign beings with the jingle, before exploring a particular problem a customer might need help with. In “Ace is the Place for WD40,” for example, a clueless young man (supposedly a real Ace customer) asks for “that stuff for squeaky hinges, I think it’s called 10w40.” A helpful salesperson shows him where to find WD40, before the ad ends with a riff on the jingle: “Ace is the place with the stuff for squeaky hinges that’s called WD40, not 10w40, which is motor oil that we also sell.” Another spot sees an Ace employee send a woman home with a paint sample so she can see how it looks on her wall, with the jingle referencing Ace Hardware as the place for “a taste before you buy the whole meal,” before adding, “That’s a metaphor. Don’t eat paint.” A third ad explores a dad looking for a new mower since its his apathetic teen’s time to take over the lawn, while another features a customer who doesn’t know where to begin. OKRP’s approach attempts to use humor to empathize with customers overwhelmed by the home improvement shopping experience while managing to employ the brand’s recognizable jingle twice.

“The recall is really high on our jingle, so we decided not to re-create the wheel,” John Surane, executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and sales at Ace Hardware, told Adweek. “We wanted to start with what our customers were most familiar with and show real problems that our customers come in with.”

“When you hear the new jingle, you still think about the old jingle, even though we’re having fun and singing new lyrics,” added OKRP CEO Tom O’Keefe. “We wanted to celebrate the well-loved jingle and find a new way to bring it to life in a way that felt true to the essence of Ace and Ace’s helpfulness.”