Hyatt “There’s a Place”

It’s never a safe bet that people will be polite. So, when this Hyatt commercial (via BBDO, New York) predicts that a Hyatt customer will say “thank you, thank you, thank you” in response to the staff’s thoughtful ministrations, it’s going out on a limb.

But it is an effective setup for the further (and safer) prediction that the staff — trained to understand that the word “welcome” is “more than a greeting” — will respond, “You’re more than welcome.”

Moreover, the prediction of some customer politesse serves a further function of balancing the spot’s emphasis on meticulous service by Hyatt’s people. Yes, we want to feel that the staff of an up-market hotel will pamper us. But as a people, we Americans aren’t accustomed to dealing with a servant class, and we don’t feel entirely comfortable with the notion that people might be groveling before us. The reference to the customer’s “thank you” establishes a sense that there’s a healthy transaction going on here between people who all have their own dignity: Hyatt’s people fulfill their professional role (which includes treating the details of the customer’s life “as all that matters”), and we fulfill ours by appreciating their efforts. This helps finesse the problem that hotels and other service-industry advertisers face in making their efforts on our behalf seem painstaking but not obsequious.

My one complaint in this regard: When the voiceover says the Hyatt staffers will “humbly reply” to the customer’s thrice-repeated thanks, the word “humbly” does introduce a bowing-and-scraping note that the spot has otherwise avoided. If someone had given me the chance to edit this spot (nobody did!), I’d have left “humbly” on the cutting-room floor. –Mark Dolliver