Led by the John Lewis Christmas advert, which is now something of an annual event, Christmas ads have become big business. The best ones – like Heathrow's 2016 clip featuring a couple of elderly teddy bears – manage to be genuinely touching, even if you're someone who feels more Scrooge than Santa during festive season.
But not all Christmas adverts are created equal. In 2015, homes and gardens chain Robert Dyas released a truly bizarre example with a pro-LGBTQ message. The low-budget promo shows a selection of Robert Dyas employees and shoppers singing the chain's praises – because, they tell us, it's a place where people of any sexuality are welcome.
"I'm bisexual and I always find something I love at Robert Dyas," says a female customer holding a lightweight spiralizer.
Later in the advert, a male member of staff says in a very deadpan, matter-of-fact way: "This drill would work a treat in a straight person's home – or in a gay person's."
The advert is so baffling that it's now going viral again ahead of this year's new crop of Christmas promos. Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan tweeted hilariously: "Don’t care about the John Lewis Christmas ad only wanna see how Robert Dyas follows up on this banger."
Don’t care about the John Lewis Christmas ad only wanna see how Robert Dyas follows up on this banger pic.twitter.com/ed6G5O6H0u— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) November 6, 2019
I’m Jemma. And I’m baffled by this LOL advert for @RobertDyas where they’re all declaring their sexuality for no apparent reason 😂😂 https://t.co/fhbOM3I6q1— Jemma Forte (@jemmaforte) November 7, 2019
Wow. Absolutely wow. Robert Dyas have nailed the true meaning of Christmas. pic.twitter.com/iPNSYMNyVS— Vikki Stone (@vikkistone) November 6, 2019
If you have questions about the advert, you're not the only one. Whose idea was it? Is it entirely serious, or tongue-in-cheek? Are the people in the advert in on the joke? If they are, they've done amazingly well to keep a straight face, tbh.
Well, LGBTQ website Pink News speculates that Robert Dyas' advert could be a wickedly deadpan parody of a 2009 ad by North Carolina furniture store Red House, which shares a message of racial equality in a similarly stilted and bizarre way.
Red House's ad has racked up more than 6.7m views on YouTube, so Robert Dyas might have been trying, rather cleverly, to replicate its WTF?! viral appeal. The homes and gardens chain has never commented on the 2015 advert, but it's hard to deny it has a way of getting people talking.
Aaaaaand... does anyone else suddenly have an urge to invest in a spiralizer?