In this world of constantly changing, increasingly fragmented media, it’s becoming harder for brands to command the attention of the consumers they covet. There is so much content being created, standing out has become a real challenge. And it’s not getting easier.

To meet this challenge, brands have to think of themselves as media companies and create content that informs and/or entertains their audiences.

In the home and building category, few companies understand this like Lowe’s. As we’ve written about before, the retailer has made a commitment to creating engaging original content in an effort to set themselves apart.

Their latest example can be seen in a video promoting their Black Friday sale.

The latest video leans on two current trends: competition-style reality TV and escape rooms. By bringing these two concepts together, Lowe’s delivers marketing confidence in capturing the interest of viewers.

All they needed to do was execute it well.

Celebrating Customers

In the video, Lowe’s created an escape room in a vacant warehouse, and hid clues and tools throughout it that would aid in the contestants’ escape.

The contestants were a group of four people — two professional contractors and two YouTube DIYers — each possessing specific skills. At the beginning of the challenge, each was allowed to select one tool, then they entered the escape room and were given one hour to get out.

The video follows the quartet as they work together, rely on each other’s skills and problem-solve their way through the puzzle. We won’t spoil it for you, so you can see for yourself if they get out.

But you can probably guess the outcome.

The piece is somewhat entertaining. Perhaps not the most gripping video ever made, but it does several things well.

It does a good job celebrating the skills and the know-how of Lowe’s customers, whether they’re pros or DIYers. Through this video, the retailer has aligned itself with smart, skilled, problem-solving customers. Or at least people who aspire to be.

The video also replicates about a half-dozen jobs that customers are likely to run into on a given home repair or remodeling project, from electrical repair to soldering to assembly. This allows them to show the tools and materials in action.

In addition to showcasing tools, the video also integrates the helpfulness of store associates, affectionately called “Red Vests.” Whenever the contestants got stumped, they had a “lifeline” in which they could radio a Red Vest, who then provided them advice.

The general concept of using tools and assistance from Lowe’s to get “out of tight spots” was particularly effective.

Refreshingly Subtle

Overall, the video was fairly well done, and the call to action was in the right context. There were times when the video felt a bit contrived and it was a little too obvious this was a Lowe’s commercial.

But it was refreshingly subtle compared to your average Black Friday ad, as there was no mention of door-busting or gaudy aisle violators strategically placed in the escape room.

At 17 minutes, the video is a bit long, and we wonder how many viewers will stick around to the end. Perhaps the drama of “will they/won’t they” provides for engagement — and there’s even a “behind the scenes” narrative below — that explains further the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and DIY audience strategy.

Will this be a successful effort for Lowe’s? We suspect it will be… a continuing series is promised.

In any event, we give them credit for continually trying new content approaches.