Tom Kuntz Directs Hornbach's Trial of a Shrunken Man

For when the task at hand seems extra-large

Few things give us life like a new Hornbach ad, and this one doesn't disappoint.

Directed by the illustrious Tom Kuntz, whose precise camera eye and sense of comic timing are well established, the new spot is satisfyingly surreal and ludicrous in its level of drama. Ad agency Heimat, Hornbach's longtime partner in chaos, conceived the piece, which depicts a man, shrunk down Rick Moranis-style, struggling to mount a normal-sized bathroom sink. 

If you think that's hard at human size, the task is gargantuan (!) when you're wee.

HORNBACH – It seems impossible. Until you do it.

The work ends with the slogan: "It seems impossible. Until you do it."

Hornbach says its goal was to put emphasis on courage and facing challenges in a time when fear and worry are more top of mind. 

"The positive power that is generated by completing a project has never been as valuable as it is right now," says Thomas Schnaitmann, who manages Hornbach's brand activities. "That sense of achievement after having created something with your own hands is enduring and emboldens people to take on further challenges."

It's a short, self-contained piece of work. But it also harks back to something that's lived in Hornbach's marketing DNA for as long as we can remember: the notion that a fundamental wildness or warrior spirit inherent to us manifests when we engage in DIY projects (because where else is it going to go?).

But Hornbach and Heimat also have a strong sense of the sublime. "Place of Silence" managed to be both funny and meditative, and when last we encountered the pair, they was making contemporary art with activist artist Ai Weiwei.

You can see some of that elaborate depth in even this tiny piece of work. On top of tapping the highly decorated Kuntz, camera duties were managed by Hoyte van Hoytema, who worked on Tenet, Interstellar and the Bond movie Spectre. Untold London handled digital post-prod, with music from 2Wei and the production oversight of Michael Duttenhöfer, with help from TPF.

"Organizing a mammoth project of this kind, during the coronavirus pandemic, is definitely on a par with the pluckiness of our DIY hero … arranging coronavirus tests for everyone involved in the shoot, having reduced personnel on the set, taking everyone's temperature, constantly making fine adjustments from a distance," observes Heimat founder Guido Heffels. 

"But then, anything is possible when you actually do it—with courage and a level head."

The ad went live on Sept. 17, on televisions and online in Germany. It airs from Sept. 18 in Austria, and will also appear in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.


Agency: HEIMAT Berlin 
Production: Tony Petersen 
Film Berlin Director: Tom Kuntz 
Music: 2WEI 
Sound design: Loft Tonstudios GmbH

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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