Homeware and DIY retailer Robert Dyas has launched its festive campaign celebrating their brand with an advert in which "gays and straights can buy drills". In a low budget but amusing ad, Robert Dyas introduces their staff to the public, disclosing their sexuality.
The video starts with a young man who tells viewers about himself, reminiscent of an online dating ad: "Hi, my name's Marcus. I work at Robert Dyas and I'm gay. I like going out with my friends and playing volleyball. I also like showing our gay and straight customers our funky range of Christmas gifts."
Some comments on social media were amused by the coming-out of the store worker, but decided that the use of "funky" was more than a little toe-curling.
Marcus also showed off some of the products on offer including a Christmas tree as "perfect for a gay person... or a straight person".
The video cuts to a woman who says: "I'm bisexual and I always find something I like at Robert Dyas," looking with interest at a spiralizer – a razor-sharp cutting devices that creates thin ribbons of vegetable.
Some viewers of the advert were less than amused, feeling patronised by the video. "And there was me thinking gay people had their own range of appliances and shopped in secret, out of town centres," said one commentator.
Whether the ad is meant to be humorous or earnest is open to interpretation. There's some tongue-in-check handling of mechanical appliances and advice from James (who is heterosexual), and says: "This drill would work a treat in a straight person's home or a gay person's."
The Robert Dyas advert bears similarities to the Red House ad, an American furniture company that parodied race instead of sexuality. In the 2009 advert, one Red House staff member lies on a sofa and says: "Look at this sofa. It's perfect for a black person. Or a white person."
Another is seen lying on a bed, and says: "This mattress is perfect for a white person. Or a black person."
Editorial update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly cited a tweet by Richard Dawkins which was actually from a parody account. The reference and tweet has been removed.