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“We have to be close to the zeitgeist”

“We have to be close to the zeitgeist”

“Yippieyayayippieyippieyeah” – Jürgen Schröcker, Head of Marketing and Human Resources at Hornbach-Baumarkt-AG, brings fresh color to a wood industry. But are the creative achievements sufficient to get Hornbach safely through the crisis? In the current issue of absatzwirtschaft, Schröcker answered our questions.

Pictured: Jürgen Schröcker, Head of Marketing and Human Resources at Hornbach-Baumarkt-AG

Mr. Schröcker, is the award-winning Hornbach advertisement your work?

SCHROECKER: You could say that. I came to Hornbach at the end of 1999. We revised the marketing concept, then carried out a pitch. From 2001 the campaign was implemented. The creative ideas come from Heimat, our agency.

In the Ron Hammer campaign, a motorcycle stuntman flies over a Hornbach market and crashes into a pillar. What is it supposed to express?

SCHRÖCKER: We did the Ron Hammer campaign to give customers an idea of ​​the size of our stores: We are larger than other DIY stores, have more products in stock, including volume products. In the period before the VAT increase, it made sense to draw attention to this point.

Why did you shoot the film with a shaky camera and then let it circulate on the internet?

SCHRÖCKER: Ron Hammer was planned as a normal campaign. At that point, however, viral marketing and the internet were hot topics, and we wanted to see what was inside.

Was the experimental aspect more important to you than addressing the target group?

SCHRÖCKER: The lion’s share of the budget was used in a classic way and tailored to the target group. We also met our target group via the new media. Do-it-yourselfers, essentially men between the ages of 30 and 54, use the Internet intensively. It was a different kind of speech. A new, unpredictable effect is achieved via blogs and forums.

Recently, Hornbach has been showing homosexuals, disabled people, foreigners and believers in Islam. Why does a DIY store have to put these people at the center of its advertising?

SCHRÖCKER: The “Tolerance in Society” campaign is the continuation of our “Heroes” series. We want to take a socio-political position and document that we are open, liberal and tolerant.

Is this a prelude to more corporate social responsibility? Will Hornbach employees soon be renovating kindergartens and schools in their free time?

SCHRÖCKER: Taking a stance on these issues in advertising is corporate social responsibility. Other activities are independent of this.

If you follow the Hornbach campaigns over the years, you will notice that the creative output is enormous. Don’t you overwhelm the target group?

SCHRÖCKER: It’s all a question of control, dosage and intensive cooperation with the agency. The agency needs to develop a feeling of how the different messages intertwine and how the individual parameters of a brand unfold. We had the Yippie campaign in 2002, which was very successful. At the time, we thought about whether we should let them continue. We didn’t do it because we didn’t want to go down in history as the yippie hardware store. It was clear to us that we had to become a personality and need a clear direction, but with different messages and facets. We have to convey diversity and radiate dynamism, appear as a modern trading house and be close to the zeitgeist. It’s good for Beck’s to have the green sailing ship in advertising for years to come. For us that would be the wrong way. We have to be active, we have to be the communication leader. That’s why we keep doing new, surprising, touching campaigns.

Does Hornbach advertising also work in other countries?

SCHRÖCKER: With minor restrictions, our TV spots are running everywhere. The exceptions are Romania and Slovakia, where Hornbach is still underrepresented. Otherwise, the advertising acceptance is excellent and far ahead of the competition.

Competitor Obi wants to get into the ring with Jung von Matt. Does that make you nervous?

SCHROECKER: Not at all. We look forward to every creative competition.

The conversation is an excerpt of an interview that Peter Stippel conducted for the current issue of absatzwirtschaft – magazine for marketing.

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