Ad of the Day: Hornbach

DIY projects remain epically inspiring in the German chain's latest surreal and symphonic spot

You might think the sound of a jackhammer crunching through concrete is obnoxious. Wrong, says German home-improvement brand Hornbach. It's music.

The building-supplies chain is out with an offbeat new spot titled "Symphony" that's meant to illustrate the sweet, euphoric feeling home improvement can bring to do-it-yourself enthusiasts. The sweat-soaked, dust-caked jackhammerer isn't just breaking up his basement floor—he's playing along to a heavy metal drummer. The woman painting her walls bright orange isn't plugging her way through a dull chore—she's cackling her way through an eargasm, thanks to an angelic trombonist, who, in her fantasy, gets slimed Nickelodeon-style the same color as her walls. And a tank-topped bald man hears, in the sound of his saw slicing through a 2-by-4, three naked, blindfolded bombshells playing cellos in a polished wooden cave.

It's a weird, well-crafted piece of unusually surreal commercial art—reminiscent of Darren Aronofsky's style—that takes a darker twist on the brand's traditionally epic depictions of DIY satisfaction. (Previous efforts have included the heavenly hammer-on-the-deck-nail spot, and the long-form, TED-honored "Infinite House.") The new spot also flirts, if deliberately, with being creepy: The jackhammer guy's soft gaze and open-mouthed smile make you wonder just what he's excavating, while the saw man's dream feels a bit evocative of Kiss the Girls abductees. The sound design and pacing, though, are great, and the tagline, "Nobody feels it like you do," drives the point home nicely.

As for the question of the ad's credibility, I'll leave that up to the DIY fanatics. Next time a hardhat starts cutting up the street outside my apartment at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, I probably won't forgo my usual rage to break into an aria.


Client: Hornbach

Agency: Heimat, Berlin, Germany

Creative Director: Guido Heffels

Production Company: Stink, Berlin

Director: Martin Krejci

Executive Producer: Jan Dressler

Director of Photography: Stepan Kucera

Editor: Filip Malasek

Telecine: Seamus O'Kane, The Mill, London

Online: Stephane Allender, Tom Sparks, One of Us, London

Music, Sound: Thomas Berlin