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#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

#OrchidsandOnions: Builders Warehouse hits the nail on the head with latest ad

Being born with bunches of bananas instead of fingers on my hands, it goes without saying that I am not the most adept at DIY fixers. It’s not that I don’t know how – I’m pretty good at the theory – but when the screwdriver hits the screw head… well, let’s just say that it is often not pretty.
#OrchidsandOnions: Builders Warehouse hits the nail on the head with latest ad

Despite that, I have learned that there are some duties a husband cannot avoid. And minor household repairs are first in that line. It is one of the age-old tests of masculinity, after all.

So, now and then, on a Saturday usually, I get in the car and head for the nearest Builders Warehouse. That’s some testimony to the power of the brand, that I subconsciously believe they will have what I am looking for and that it will be reasonably priced, too.

Quite often, though, the friendly neighbourhood hardware oke just up the road is just as useful, as is Builders’ rival, Chamberlains. Still, we (my wife can’t resist plants and things for the garden) have spent a lot of money over the years at Builders. That’s probably why the latest Builders Warehouse TV ad resonated with me.

It’s built around the inspiring speech in Braveheart, where Mel Gibson’s character almost instantly turns a bunch of cowards into strong, fighting Scotsmen by telling them that no one can take their freedom from them. The ad shows us a suburban battlefield – some open ground on the edge of a housing development – where hundreds of DYI’ers are hesitantly waiting for inspiration. And it comes, not in the form of William Wallace on a fiery steed, but from a dude riding a mini-tractor, wearing tough working gloves, ready to get stuck in.

“Builders and renovators,” he shouts. “Today we make a stand against ugly, against unfinished…” His eye passes over his army: “You’re scared. I see it, worried that that job you took on was too ambitious. Worried, perhaps, that the lime green paint you chose for the lounge was too bold, but bold is the enemy of boring.” As they hold their ladders, their pool equipment, their garden shears, their drills and their wood, he tells them: “Today, we take back our homes, our gardens! Because today is ‘Do Day!’” And, inspired and energised, they march off into battle.

It’s clever, it’s different and it makes the point that not only does Builders Warehouse have everything you want, but that the variety can inspire you to perform great household achievements. And it gets my first Orchid this week.

Outa calls out Eskom

It’s painful because it’s so close to the truth; the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) posted a meme on social media “celebrating” Eskom’s 101st birthday, and it is already a classic.

The picture is of a deflated jumping castle – flat because there’s no electricity to power the pump to fill it with air. Part of the wording above says: “Here’s to more years of candlelit dinners and flashlight scavenger hunts.”

#OrchidsandOnions: Builders Warehouse hits the nail on the head with latest ad

It’s a funny meme and a reminder that Outa is still out there holding our government to account. So, it gets an Orchid from me.

Shotgun Fashion jumps the gun

Tardiness is a quintessential South African thing. People – particularly journalists – are always arriving late for events or not pitching up at all, despite having said they would attend. Not surprising then that some PR companies send out invitations in good time.

But I have never received an invitation to an event seven months in advance. And to an event that holds absolutely no interest for me whatsoever.

Clearly just sending out e-mail invites, Shotgun Fashion, the Africa-UK concept store, breathlessly invited me to the launch of Tutu and Juicebox, its new “kiddie fashion” brand. When is this once-in-a-lifetime happening? 24 September.

That’s ridiculous – not only because it is way too early (who makes these sorts of plans seven months ahead?) but because I can now expect regular nagging e-mails about why I have not “RSVP’d”.

Stupid communication. Stupid marketing. In this case, the early bird gets the Onion.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.
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