This Agency Sent a House to Sea for a Lovely Ad About the Choppy Waters of Life

BETC and Leroy Merlin's metaphor for a DIY journey

Headshot of Angela Natividad

To illustrate the personal aspects of taking on a massive home improvement job oneself, Leroy Merlin—a kind of French Home Depot—has released “Life’s Adventure.”

Created by BETC Shopper, this is Up meets Life of Pi, with a couple’s uprooted fixer-upper home taking to the seas as they begin the long, emotional task of turning a house into a home. To this, a modern cover of Rod Stewart’s “Sail” is added.

“The initial client brief was to transition Leroy Merlin from a DIY store to a brand dedicated to home improvement projects,” explains associate director Carole Penillard of BETC Shopper to Adfreak. “The creative ambition was to produce a film that elevates the message of the brand and differs from competitors that simply show cute finished homes in small comedy films and are far from reality.”

Leroy Merlin’s approach in “Life’s Adventure” is dramatically different from even the standouts of the sector, like Germany’s Hornbach, which usually uses a big burly man to depict the naked joy one can find in persisting in a project, even—especially—during the less glamorous bits.

What we get here is more slow-moving and gentle, though it’s just as beautifully shot.

“The goal wasn’t to execute a classic DIY film, full of product shots,” says BETC Paris executive creative director Olivier Apers. “We were looking for the best metaphor to illustrate the renovation project of a house.” The result had to be “both spectacular and poetic, so the image of a house sailing on water turned out to be an appealing idea right from the start.”

Here the sea is used not just as a metaphor for refurbishing but as a literary message about constructing a shared life. We move through that first bloom of possibility and productivity, when seas are calm and the light is gentle. Frustration and an intense dispute are punctuated by dark skies, roiling water and violent rocking.

And, of course, there is the literal renewal of life.

“When you start working on your house, it can take one month, three months or six months. It’s an adventure,” Apers goes on. “You go through unexpected turns, happy moments, doubts, failures, hopes and achievements.”

The shoot took place in South Africa over seven days, with help from divers, drones and helicopters to capture the right shots. Each scene was shot three times—first on land, then a moving set, and finally on water.

Below, find a few scenes from what looked like a pretty epic making-of.

Brand: Leroy Merlin
Ad Agency: BETC Shopper
Chief Creative Officer: Stephane Xiberras
Executive Creative Director: Olivier Apers
Creatives: Viken Guzel, Jean-Marie Gateau
Director: Reynald Gresset
Production Company: La PAC

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.