B and Q – By @_helenasmith

By Helena Smith


B and Q


God I love B and Q. For me, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if my Dad and I didn’t make a stop at B&Q. If not for last minute replacement light bulbs on the Christmas tree, it will be for the bit of DIY Dad has had on his to do list since summer, but only now has had the chance to complete.


Though I can acknowledge this is not everyone’s idea of a couple hours spent well, every time I walk in to the warehouse, I can’t help but get a little excited.


This Christmas, on our first visit which promptly took place a couple hours after I arrived through the door, it hit me how since living in London how small my regular shops are. With obvious space restrictions in central London superstores are fairly hard to come by. Arguably the larger supermarkets are easier to find, you just have to be committed to the cause. You won’t notice the extra half mile walk on the way there, but on the way back you will be fully convinced you bought the six-pint milk instead of the four.


I love feeling small against the vast amount of choice such big stores have. For most people having so many options to choose means the experience of shopping is more. For me, it only enhances it. I find I am always more educated when walking out of B and Q and that my mind has been opened by words and products such as ‘mitre box’. It really does get my brain cogs going in terms of the possible things I could make. I feel inspired thinking how I could use a step ladder to make my life more efficient or how ‘once raspberry diva matt emulsion’ could brighten up a few of my wooden desk accessories. Which, I have already decided that I am now making, having seen the new range of rose gold nails and furniture panel in loft pine grey, in aisle 10.


So after getting back in the car, my now natural thinking process after walking out of any shop is that I begin to consider their advertising. I have to admit other than the rather sticky slogan of ‘you can do it, if you B and Q it’ I couldn’t remember what their most recent campaign was, so gave it a google.


Created by WRCS, the brains behind the infamous ‘Look At Me’ billboard, ‘Garden’ is their latest campaign said to be positing their staff at the heart of the brand, coming to the rescue of the customers. As an agency, there is not much I don’t like about what WCRS create but I feel as a B and Q lover they have missed the mark here.


My reasoning here is that, though I can’t speak on behalf of everyone, but pretty much every employee I have interacted with has left me frustrated. Though perhaps this is just the Loughborough store. So based on my experiences, the staff are certainly not what I’d be putting at the heart of my brand.


Another line of thought that makes me feel that the ‘Garden’ advert isn’t necessarily effective is because like previous adverts they only appear to be talking to one type of consumer. I know it’s a home maintenance store but I feel their reach is a lot broader than the average 35 year old home owner with a family. For example, to people like myself.



It’s not what I can use their products for in the house but rather the creative possibilities it gives me, for other uses. Like, making an extra desk accessory opposed to buying it or creating concrete vases like the ones I’ve added to my board on Pinterest.


I really do think that there is a late teen mid twenty generation that they could be targeting. Especially, in an environment where a sort of rebirth of interest in crafts along ‘do it yourself’ has emerged alongside the success of websites such as Etsy and Not On The High Street. 


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