Throwback Thursday: The reluctant handyman

A 2013 GfK Roper survey found that 70% of Americans prefer DIY renovations. But apparently, that wasn't always the case.

Back in 1980, Lowe's rolled out an advertising strategy that was aimed at its customer base of gun-shy renovators.

The October 13, 1980 issue of National Home Center News, the predecessor of HBSDealer, spotlighted the ad campaign, which featured a protagonist named Harvey Hackit.

Hackit appeared in television ads, in-store signs and a circular, showing him as "the reluctant handyman" who "used to be all thumbs, completely lost in the do-it-yourself jungle," and who "just couldn't hack it."

That all changed when Hackit discovered Lowe's, of course.

"He's a good visual shorthand and a simple way to give the reluctant, Saturday morning do-it-yourselfer some courage," said William Brantley, the Lowe's director of investor relations at the time. "We saw the character evolve from early scratch boards and he has become better. People are talking about him and saying that Harvey Hackit is their father or their cousin. They know someone like him."

"He doesn't have a wife yet," said Brantley, "but I suspect there might be a Hazel Hackit out there too."

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