For decades, my associates and I have tirelessly worked to enhance the knowledge and image of Pool builders as highly skilled professionals through educational seminars, technical publications, hands-on demonstrations, certifications, and licensing in many states.
Yet, in your recent commercial, those efforts were thwarted by your organization’s portrayal of a pool builder.
The commercial, “Meet the kind of people who are in our parking lot at 5:45 a.m.” portrays pool builders with an old stereotype – a guy with an old beat-up truck and notepad drawing.
The video pans in on each of the “people” in their vehicles as the voiceover describes their profiles and why they are coming to The Home Depot. The last profile is Ed… “Ed’s putting in a pool for a friend… we all need an Ed!” The visual is of Ed making notes on a pad. As the commercial continues, the store opens and each of the “People” climb out of the vehicles to go inside. “Ed” with a window sticker “my other truck is a boat”, walks away from his vehicle, an old beat-up truck.
The original 1-minute commercial produced by BBDO Atlanta/BBDO New York was released in March 2022. A shortened 30-sec version was also released.
As a licensed pool contractor in Las Vegas, Nevada, a Certified Building Professional, and former director on the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance national board, I take offense to how your commercial depicts my industry. Not only is this commercial insulting to the many highly educated pool professionals across the US and internationally, but it also encourages the viewpoint that pool builders are simply a guy with old trucks and notepads. Furthermore, “friends” don’t know everything there is to know about building a safe and efficient pool.
There are many states that require licensing for pool construction. Most have specific guidelines such as building standards and regulations, ANSI and ISPSC codes and in some states- water use restrictions just to name a few.
Nevada homeowners do have the option to build their own pool. However, the Nevada State Contractors Board has outlined in strict detail the guidelines for such activity including registering the project, permitting, insurance responsibilities and mandatory use of licensed sub-contractors to do the work.
It is a crime for an unlicensed person to perform construction work even on an owner-builder pool project and that includes one’s “friend”.
While it seems that your creative team at BBDO wanted to capture a variety of individuals, needs and projects, they did not take time to consider the negative and dangerous implications of the “Ed” character.”
The Home Depot commercial could sway an unlikely consumer to seek a “friend”, an unlicensed and untrained individual to install their pool, jeopardizing the wellbeing of the family both physically and financially.
Ed might be better off “Putting in a garden for his wife!”
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