This Crazy, Wonderful DIY Ad Revels Not in the Agony but the Ecstasy of Defeat

Hornbach's latest gem

There’s a weird pleasure that always comes from watching a new ad from German home improvement store Hornbach, and this time is no different.

The delightfully titled “Regret Nothing. About the Grandeur in Failure” tells you (almost) everything you need to know, but an added element of unhinged insanity burrows under your skin over its one-minute length.

The film opens with a boy riding his bike toward the skeleton of a house under construction, right in the middle of some idyllic plain that hails straight out of escape fantasies of a simpler life, free of screens, T-sheets and nagging people in suits. At the center of it all, swinging a mallet with self-empowered majesty, is one man.

Then it all goes horribly wrong.

“Every project has its pitfalls and its challenges,” observes creative director Guido Heffels of Berlin-based Heimat, which is responsible for this madness. “It was time to shatter the image of the notorious hero, yet still have this character emerge victoriously from the rubble of his endeavors.”

The playful pomposity in those words aligns with the brand identity Heimat has helped cultivate. Hornbach fuels almost delusional satisfaction with do-it-yourself projects, while embracing the fact that—for people who don’t do this kind of thing full-time—it’s likely you’ll make a mistake, even get seriously hurt. We witnessed this masterfully lunatic balance in its last ad, “You’re Alive,” where a naked man tumbles in fits of ecstasy through less-than-tender terrain.

Heimat really leans into the potential horrors here. When the little boy bursts into tears and the music picks up, it’s clear he thinks his dad is dead.

But the man crawls out of the rubble … laughing hysterically. A big shard of wood is sticking out of the side of his nose. He is dirty, scratched and covered in blood. When the ad transforms into some kind of wacky bonding moment between father and son, we’re left speechless as the copy appears, rugged and bold: “Regret nothing.”

“Regret Nothing” was directed by Andreas Nilsson of Czar, and features music from composers Andy Hull and Robert McDowell. (You may recognize their work from the equally bizarre film Swiss Army Man. They made the whole soundtrack.)

“The campaign is an impassioned call for people to give things a go for themselves—spring projects around the house and garden, but also beyond that,” says Thomas Schnaitmann, Hornbach’s head of marketing in Germany and international communications. “Even when these attempts fail, you should only ever regret not having tried.”

It’s an encouraging message, epically conveyed. But while going forth in confidence, free to fail and thus to succeed, maybe bring a helmet. And some gloves.

Check out the out-of-home portion of the campaign below.

Client: Hornbach
Spot: “Regret nothing”
Press (international): TV, print, out-of-home, radio, POS, digital (website, video, display, radio, social media)
Time frame: on air on TV and the web in Germany from 17 March
Countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania
Agency: Heimat, Berlin
Production: Czar, Berlin
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Editor: Ben Campbell, Cut+Run