Lowe's Black Friday ad puts 4 builders in an escape room
- Lowe's turned to long-form video with a spot promoting products for its Black Friday sale, as reported by Adweek. The 17-minute video is based on the reality TV-style format and features four craftspeople — an electrician, a contractor and two DIYers with YouTube channels — in an obstacle course escape room scenario.
- The course has three rooms with puzzles to solve and participants have an hour to reach the ground floor. Going into the course, each participant was allowed to bring one tool and more Lowe’s products were scattered throughout the maze. An example of the challenges they faced include the first room being completely unlit. One of the participants brought a screw gun with small flashlight which allowed the team to find a larger flashlight left in the room by Lowe’s and then let them replace a breaker in the room’s circuit box. During the video ad, a foghorn alarm sounds every 15 minutes to keep the participants apprised of how much of the hour they have left and to ramp up the drama.
- The Adweek report pointed out that both HBO and Google have tapped escape rooms for marketing purposes in the last few years, but that Lowe’s is a more natural fit for the format given its business sector. The video ad isn’t a how-to or product demonstration, but it does include a lot of product placement and footage of the participants using tools in dramatic, problem-solving circumstances.
Escape rooms have become popular over the past few years as consumers look for live experiences. Lowe's astutely leverages the phenomenon and interprets it for a DIY audience in this campaign.
In the build up to the Black Friday, typically the largest shopping day of the year, many retailers have released traditional flyers and online catalogs of the deals shoppers will be able to find. The Lowe's video includes a strong brand message in the final scene mentioning Lowe’s Black Friday sale and how many products in the video will be part of the holiday promotion. However, by integrating the message into a fun video, the brand is betting it will engage millennials who are interested in short, entertaining digital content.
The video ad is another example of brands turning to Hollywood and the entertainment industry for video content meant to be more fun to watch for viewers than a traditional advertisement. Some brands have tapped Hollywood talent both in front of the camera and in the production staff, and others lean into borrowing from pop culture touchstones. Lowe's video, for example, echoes the interest in home improvement and other DIY reality shows based on tools and construction.