I haven’t read the book, nor seen the movie. I’ve heard that the book is quite badly written, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a worldwide success – most readers being women. Everyone I know, both men and women, is aware of some aspect of the storyline. If you still think that this book has anything to do with the Dulux paint colour chart or a Pantone reference, then you may as well stop reading this article now!
Increased DIY Sales
I read a great story about B&Q (a DIY chain store in the UK), sending an internal memo to their staff, warning of a likely rush by customers clamouring for rope, cable ties and duct tape (full memo at the end of this article). B&Q later confessed that this was a PR stunt – they wrote:
We can confirm that the leaked memo was indeed a bit of fun. Both B&Q, the public and the media have been entertained over the past few days and we are looking forward to a big weekend. We would have confessed to this sooner, but our hands were tied.
It’s nice to see a large company with a sense of humour. In these sensitive times, it’s easy for any joke to fall foul of some political correctness or offend some religious belief.
I think there could be a similar spate of memos, real or spoofed, from Airport Security (be aware of some unusual carry-on items) or Airlines (be aware of unusual activity on board), particularly if the movie is part of the on-board entertainment. In fact I may just create my own spoof memo and see how far it progresses on social media!
I was chatting to a work colleague today. She went to see the Fifty Shades of Grey over the weekend. I asked her about the audience demographic and she said it was mostly women. I jokingly remarked that if I were a single man, I’d make sure I was in a bar with some single friends, just around the corner from the cinema at the end of the movie.
So for all you normal single guys out there (not stalkers or perverts!), looking to date an, ahem, open-minded girl – just check the start time at your local cinema and secure a local bar table with a few spare seats two hours later (movie running time is 125 minutes).
FULL B&Q MEMO
STAFF BRIEFING- PREPARATION FOR FIFTY SHADES OF GREY CUSTOMER QUERIES
Following the film release of Fifty Shades of Grey, B&Q employees may encounter increased customer product queries relating to rope, cable ties and masking or duct tape. Store Managers should anticipate the need for extra stock and store staff should read the following brief to prepare them to handle potentially sensitive customer questions.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
On Saturday 14th February 2015 popular erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey will be released as a film and is expected to do well in the Box Office. Written by E.L. James, the story follows the relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young, successful business man, Christian Grey, who introduces her to the world of bondage and dominant/submissive sexual role play.
Preview footage depicts a notable scene from the book where Christian Grey visits a hardware store to purchase rope, cable ties and tape. Rather than bought for home improvement purposes, these products are intended to fulfil Mr Grey’s unconventional sexual pursuits.
WHY DOES IT AFFECT US?
As the UK’s leading DIY store, we stock many of the products featured in this notable scene and then used later in the film. When the book was released in 2012 DIY and hardware stores in the UK and US reported increased demand of certain products and queries from customers as they tried to recreate their own ‘Fifty Shades’ experiences. We need to be prepared for the same effect when the film is released this month.
It is always B&Q’s policy that products should only be used for their designed purposes. Nevertheless, all staff should read this briefing notice to prepare for potentially sensitive customer enquiries and managers need to be aware of the implications that the film may have on stock levels.
All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis. Understanding the storyline and how some products that B&Q stock feature in the film will better prepare staff for incoming queries.
Queries may be unusual and sensitive in nature but staff are reminded of B&Q’s commitment to assist customers in a polite, helpful and respectful manner. A level of discretion is also advised.
Store managers are requested to monitor stock levels of rope, cable ties, masking tape and duct tape to ensure that supplies do not run low. Fifty Shades of Grey is released in cinemas on Saturday 14th February 2015 and the busiest sales periods for these products are expected to run from Sunday 15th February to Sunday 1st March 2015 with a focus on weekend trading.
The date for the DVD and home entertainment release of Fifty Shades of Grey is yet to be confirmed but a second briefing may be issued closer to that time.
STAFF ARE ASKED TO KEEP THE CONTENTS OF THIS BRIEFING WITHIN THE COMPANY.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS RELATING TO THE CONTENTS OF THIS BRIEFING PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR REGIONAL MANAGER.