Let me give you the introduction to this article in full….
“Hi, My Name’s Adam, I am a Self-Employed Hypnotherapist and I’m Straight…. I get excited about teaching other straight and gay individuals to become hypnotherapists too, at my hypnotherapy training college.”
What is Adam talking about? What is this? I hear you questioning. Well first of all, have a look at the latest Robert Dyas Christmas advertisement:
It would seem then that the usual monumental battles of National supermarket chains, big department stores and the likes releasing big budget, heartfelt, moving, often sentimental and musical Christmas advertisements now have a low budget rival that has got people talking and wondering what on earth is going on.
I know that for sure you had a quizzical frown expression for some of the Robert Dyas advertisement when you first watched it, right?
When I was first alerted to this advert, I went and watched it and on the surface it seemed like a low-budget, rather ordinary advert with pretty poor performance values from those involved. However, I frowned a little bit at first when the dialogue registered with me; “Hi, my name’s Marcus, I work at Robert Dyas and I’m gay . . . I like showing a funky range of our Christmas gifts.” Why on earth are you telling me that you are gay? What’s that got to do with anything. It was like an advert that the contestants on the Apprentice would come up with when putting a campaign together for a hypothetical product.
I did a bit of due diligence – I checked it was definitely an official Robert Dyas company project, it was. I checked that it was not a wind up (thank goodness I did not end up being Rick Rolled again!), it wasn’t. Then I scanned all the newspaper reports and checked out all the tweets regarding it…. Hilarious results.
People are a tad confused it would seem. I mean, I think of Robert Dyas as somewhere you go to get a new frying pan, a bag of screws, or some garden secateurs. The sexual orientation of their staff has not once entered my consciousness. Until now. And why on earth is it in my consciousness at all? This is surreal!
Many think it is hilarious.
Many think it is verging on being offensive.
Some think it is kitsch and downright rubbish.
Some think it is a stroke of genius.
Some believe it was done intentionally.
Others think it is just poorly done and is so bad that it has somehow become good.
What I like, no, what I LOVE about it is that we currently live in a society whereby sexual orientation is largely accepted, that when it gets mentioned here in advert, it causes a jolt. This advertisement highlights the progress in our society.
I have rewatched it a couple of times and it is a weird advertisement. Heck, weird is good, isn’t it? A good advertisement engages, it keeps attention, it thrusts the advertiser into the limelight. More than that though, this advertisement creates some befuddlement, it requires us to try and work it out.
It is like when people go and watch Derren Brown performing. There is some of the audience who believe he is gifted, has psychic abilities or is not actually of this world. For the most part though, the audience leave the theatre excitedly attempting to work out how on earth it is done. It intrigues, it excites and it creates a discussion that is fun and enjoyable, and we end up engaging in the show long after it has finished.
This Robert Dyas advertisement is doing something similar. Psychologically, we attempt to work out what is happening. Is it hilariously awful? Did they do this on purpose? What on earth is the stereotypical shop customer doing telling us all her sexuality? And so on. We might not even consciously be recognising it, but we are working it out, we are putting our own frame of reference around it, projecting meaning on to it, and all the time, the brand remains in our awareness.
It does more than that though, doesn’t it? It interrupts us and our expectations. We have a level of expectation, a flow of consciousness that gets abruptly interrupted with the random sharing of sexuality thrown into each staff member’s introduction.
Pattern interrupt, focused attention, elements of confusion…. Heck, these are all terms I refer to when I am teaching hypnosis to my students!
It is clever stuff.
I think we run the risk of over-intellectualising it though. Without being privy to the board meeting when they decided upon this approach, with all the ad execs in their braces, steel rimmed John Lennon style glasses and pony tails, I cannot tell you how much thought went into it or if it was simply designed to be different.
So don’t forget – Adam Eason’s hypnosis website, where gays and straights can buy a wide variety of hypnosis audios and much more besides!
By the 4th time of viewing it, it has become quite a welcome change from the high budget, highly polished Christmas ads that have bought up primetime viewing on the telly… And I feel compelled to go out and buy a new frying pan.
Reportedly the Dyas advert is a response to an equally controversial American one by a furniture shop called The Red House, that video is just as odd and refreshing, employees stating their interests, gender and colour. Many years ago I worked in a company where all the staff had to wear name badges , as it didn’t specify that it had to be your own name , I found great pleasure in picking a new one from the badge box each day , confusing for customers sometimes, but fun! “Well yesterday I was Peter, I was your waiter, a part time student and still learning the trade, but today, I am Guida, I am Portuguese, a true professional and happy to serve you” …so many labels.
For anyone interested, here is the Red House clip:
Some suggest the Robert Dyas clip is a parody of the Red House advertisement, others say it is influenced by it. You can google the debate.
Best wishes, Adam.