The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Don’t Just Do It …

To people outside of the UK, the title of this post might sound like a diss to NIKE.

But it’s not.

It’s part of a well known tagline by UK hardware giants, B&Q.

Originally the whole expression was ‘Don’t just do it, B&Q it’ however it’s recently had an evolution … which is my excuse for talking about their new ad campaign.

A campaign by – in my opinion – the best agency in the UK right now and one of the best in the World.


I’ve written about how much I love them – and Nils in particular – and this campaign is another reason for that.

DIY often gets promoted by ‘salt of the earth men and women’ making, fixing or changing stuff.

Or ‘cheeky chappy’, blue-collar cliches … having a giggle as they saw some wood.

It’s all very practical, rational and very before/after.

But Uncommon have done something different.

For a start they are trying to bring more people into the DIY world rather than just appeal to the people already there. It’s smart, because with COVID, we’re having to rely more and more on our own abilities than those of a specialist.

But they’ve done something more than that.

They’ve tapped into the emotions of what DIY does for us.

Not in the terms of a new shelf or a better shed … but in terms of crafting the place we live and turning it into our home.

A place that reflects us not just shelters us.

The quirks, the tweaks, the creativity, the failures.

The stuff we will always remember when we see it.

The stuff that makes it OURS.

The stuff we built … literally and figuretavely.

And it’s this premise that Uncommon tapped into with the thought, “you don’t buy a life, you build one”.

It’s always been true, but in these times where we try to outsource everything for a generic perfection, it is even more pertinent.

Doesn’t matter what you make.

Doesn’t matter how good you are.

All that matters is you make something that makes it yours.

I love everything about this campaign.

The idea. The craft. The writing.

I love that they’ve evolved the line from ‘Don’t just do it’ to ‘You can do it’.

It’s the right thing to do.

Not just because it is more inclusive, emotional and personal … but because it has a positive, encouraging energy to it. Something that conveys confidence for whatever you’re going to do rather than judgement and doubt.

But one thing I like in particular is the poster campaign.

As I wrote previously, Uncommon are seemingly single-handedly bringing the beauty and value of posters back into the ad world.

The work they’ve done for B&Q is a perfect example of that.

Simple. Clear. And each expressing a different attribute of the brand idea.

No bought in stock shots with some throwaway, meaningless copy dropped on it …, oh no … they’re all individually and beautiful art directed to within an inch of their life.

This is what advertising can be. Should be.

This is how we build the industry again.

This is how we turn it into a home people want to live in again.

23 Comments so far
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This is lovely. Relatively obvious but the industry has played to the stereotype of DIY rather than the emotion.

Comment by George

It is obvious … but not so obvious that it has been done. Or at least not done as nicely as this.

I also love that it’s an ‘integrated’ idea … that thing agencies have talked about for years but have generally failed to understand that it doesn’t mean everything in the campaign has to literally look the same.

It’s our old cynic ‘integration is not duplication’ creds slide … where you see those ads where the print are screen shots from the TV, despite the fact print ads have a different craft needed to make them really shine.

If you hadn’t noticed, I really like this campaign.

Comment by Rob

Wonderful campaign but didn’t I read your recent DIY attempts broke doors, sheds and your heating system?

Comment by Pete

Thanks for that Pete.

And yes, I am B&Q’s worst nightmare as a customer. But I did manage to fit a lock to a shed and while I basically fucked the shed, I feel like I’ve just built the Taj Mahal. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Don’t worry Rob, at least you can build brands without too many injuries. ; )

Comment by Pete

I can almost hear someone from adland saying that on a DIY show.

They’ve been given a simple task to build some shelves but are threading screws, drilling holes in the wrong place and probably smashing their thumb with a hammer.

The presenter comes up to me and smugly say’s, “do you need some help?”

And the adland contestant look at them and replies, “Who cares about building shelves when you build big brands for a living”.


Comment by Rob

Comment of the week Pete.

Comment by Bazza

campbell is about destruction before making.

Comment by andy@cynic

What about the time he tried to “fix” the fuzzball table?

Comment by George

You’re an uncommon fanboy aren’t you Rob. Get why, this is great.

Comment by Bazza

You are health and safety gone mad.

Comment by John

Gone wrong.

Comment by Bazza

Sadly I agree with both of these.

Comment by Rob

Delightful. Celebrates the effort more than the outcome of DIY.

Comment by Lee Hill

This is why it appeals to Rob so much.

Comment by John

Hahahaha … you cheeky sod.

Comment by Rob

The ‘you can do it’ line has been used by B&Q for ages though…? I agree with everything you’re saying here, it’s a great campaign and Uncommon are absolutely smashing it, but I saw this as a much more emotional evolution of the line than a brand new direction.

Comment by jonstoked

I didn’t know that. Probably because I’ve been away from the UK for so long. Well in that case they infused emotion and meaning into it rather than just some soulless tagline.

Comment by Rob

finally something with an idea that isnt an ad, craft that isnt sloppy and a script that isnt contrived schmaltz bullshit. for once campbell, i agree with you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’ll call the press.

Comment by DH

Really really nice. I hope they don’t sell or try to expand too quickly. What they’re doing shouldn’t be rushed.

Comment by DH

In reply to:Really really nice. I hope they don’t sell or try to expand too quickly. What they’re doing shouldn’t be rushed.
Well said. Too many great agencies have learned the cost to be bought out is very high. Hats off to Dan Wieden for holding out and making sure it can never happen to his company. (I may have got the last bit incorrect, but I am sure Robert mentioned it once)

Comment by George

[…] god we have Uncommon’s brilliant B&Q work to remind people we can be good. We can be really, really […]

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