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Seb Anthony

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bringing training into disrepute?


Am I the only person who is sad enough to be rather annoyed by the current British Gas adverts on TV?
They show the "Training Academy" where the trainers display numerous behaviours that are, at best, poor practice and at worst downright dangerous.
Do I watch too much telly?
Or should I simply accept that the wierd world of advertising isn't to be taken seriously?
(It can't be the latter...the ASA is currently considering the present Marmite advert as traumatic to children!)
russell slater

14 Responses

  1. Turn the threat into an opportunity
    Given that the advertisers think that the adverts are amusing; then perhaps your customers will also be amused by then. Therefoe don’t complain to them – unless you want to give them a further cheap laugh. Why not get the adverts on video and weave them into your training. also make sure you are not guilty of anything depicted in the adverts.

  2. a refreshing fun look at training
    I think the commercials are quite fun to watch. It has actually made me question if the environment (not the training style 🙂 is that fresh looking and entertaining as it seems on tv. Prob not! I think it gives training a fun spin to it. I agree with the previous comment. Use it as a benefit if anything.

  3. let’s not take ourselves too seriously
    It is obvious the ads are intended to be humorous and i am certain my clients would no more believe that they are representative of training or trainers than they would believe in levitation. I agree it would be terrific fun to weave them into our training days if it were legal to do so. i have to own up to having attended Gas Board training in another life and have to say it was one of the best courses i have ever been on.
    I suppose what i’m trying to say is, we trainers need to take our roles seriously but not take ourselves too seriously. It would be a sad day the day we lost our sense of humour.

  4. I’m with you Russell
    I’m with you Russell – I’ve hated the whole series of these ads – I think they are annoying, juvenile and silly! However, I probably DO watch too much telly and may have to get another hobby!!
    That said – chacun a son gout!!
    Have a great Easter


  5. Reflects badly on safety
    Gas engineers need to be extremely safety conscious, but what some of these adverts shout at me is that British Gas has little regard for safety. A bit like British Airways making adverts with bits falling off planes – I wouldn’t want to fly with them…

  6. this touched a nerve
    over 450 people read this “question” and six responded to it…something touched a nerve.
    I have a strong sense of humour and I certainly don’t take myself too seriously,however, I am aware that trainers can do untold damage to organisations as well as to people and their careers.

  7. Oh so Serious
    I think the adverts are exellent. They do what they set out to do, get people thinking about the unexpected. It in no way reflects on trainers or training methodologies. But hey, maybe some trainers could take a few ideas to brighten up their training! the maxim I work by is “not only is the world not as it appears to be, but it also does not have to be the way it is” Think differently! As one contributor said, maybe you couls use them in a session.

  8. some bits ARE serious
    Without wishing to reduce this discussion to a diatribe I can only assume Peter hasn’t seen the advert where Ricky Tomlinsons character gets a trainee to engage in a “trust fall”. This is to demonstrate the support that the organisation gives its customers. He then walks away as the trainee falls.
    Come on, any trainer who did that would be in court on a negligence charge within minutes…it isn’t an idea I’ll be using to brighten up my training.

  9. A learning opportunity?
    I think the Br Gas adds are actually very effective. They give a very strong marketing message to the consumer. They also remind those of us in the business of developing people to make what we do relevant to the workplace!

  10. the final word?
    OK, I feel that you have answered my question for me…a resounding “Yes” to the fact that I am sad to be annoyed by it!
    Thanks to all who felt sufficiently motivated to hit the keyboard, on either side of the fence. Particular appreciation to those who saw an opportunity to use it to the mutual benefit.
    Rus Slater

  11. I agree with Peter
    I’m with Peter on this one. Ricky Tomlinson is a well known comedian. Of course the trainee doesn’t actually fall and hurt himself. It’s a joke. As a joke – it makes us laugh and remember the adverts as funny and take note of the point they’re making about British Gas doing things properly. It has nothing to do with trainers or training. Adverts are about taking away a message and remembering the advertiser. Blandness and real life aren’t a part of good advertising.

  12. Life’s too short!
    Much as I see the point of the original letter, I really think this ad should be taken in context.

    Do you really feel that this ad is damning to our profession?

    A rather large pinch of salt might be appropriate.

  13. Arian Associates Ltd
    All I can say is that the advert is working. It has generated a whole load of comments – some good & some bad – but everyone is familiar with it so it has worked exceptionally well by the sound of it. Bloody good marketing!


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