Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mr. Clean


Because this guy's commercials have again begun popping up all over TV, I return to a question I posed late last year.

Am I the only one who thinks James Dyson is completely insane?

The commercials for his technologically advanced vaccums, which feature him unabashedly flaunting his nearly DSM4-level obsession with cleanliness and order, always strike me as, well, a little unsettling.

"I just want things to work properly," he says with Queegian deliberateness, seemingly stunned as to why most vacuum cleaners are unable to subvert the immutable law of utilitarian degradation.

He admits without so much as a hint of bemusement that his life's work has been a fanatical, Frankenstein-like quest to recreate both the vacuum cleaner and the hand dryer in his own image and, consequently, fulfill a vendetta against the technology which long ago let him down and left his carpets unclean and his hands wet.

Look beyond the sedate demeanor and the soothing voice and you can practically hear him saying, "Fools! They laughed at me when I said that vacuums didn't have to lose suction! Who's laughing now Hoover?!" Like a mad scientist who fancies himself one of the Mathematikoi -- and who in reality likely suffers from a very acute case of Asperger Syndrome -- he feels the need to constantly demonstrate just how he's reinventing the wheel and how it will eventually help him win the compulsive lifelong war he's waged against the constraints of basic physics.

I get the feeling that if you ever read Yeats to him, particularly the poet's seminal notion that "Things fall apart... The center cannot hold... Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," he would likely explode in an uncontrollable fit of violent rage, grabbing the nearest sharp object and plunging it into your throat again and again. This would be followed by his spending the ensuing several hours desperately attempting to build a new wet-dry vac capable of expurgating the mess and returning everything to a place of immaculate order.

Really though, you've got to give credit to a guy who not only puts his neuroses out there for the world to see, but also uses them as a marketing tool to make him a millionaire.

I wish I were that crazy.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few months ago my friends and I were discussing who would be our "closet cleaner" when we died, you know, who gets rid of your porn, bondage clothing etc. so your loved ones don't get embarrassed. I would so love to be this guy's closet cleaner I bet he is a next level freak.

John Murphy said...

I look at it a little differently. This is a smart guy who has smart marketers. What did their market research say about their likely customers that made them think his neuroses would sell well? That's the sort of thing that keeps me up at night: being surrounded by millions of people who identify with this guy's (real or apparent) quest for the more efficient clean. And I'm even an engineer, like Dyson. If it unsettles me like this, I can't imagine what everyone else thinks.

(Oh, and last year this guy invented a better hand-dryer, the Airblade.)

tamara said...

Thanks for the Saturday morning Yeats...what a way to start the day off!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go use my inferior vacuum on some rather messy carpets...nothing like a one-year old whipping food around to make you wish you had some of that guy's particular brand of crazy...

The Firefaery said...

First, vacuums, then, the world! Mwahahahaha!

Nathan said...

I think it would be great if he and James Patterson switched places and did each other's commercials.

And is it just me or are other Firefox users seeing big grey boxes showing up in the middle of posts here and blocking the text? It reads fine on Safari.

Lastly, Chez, I've been meaning to comment on your "About Me" section. I worked on "Spinning Into Butter" a couple of years ago. Its a thoroughly unreleasable POS. (IMDB it, I'm too lazy to link.) Anyway, I completely agree with your S.J.P. observation.

Bob said...

Credit? Heck ya! He gets $500 for a vacuum cleaner!

Anonymous said...

"Really though, you've got to give credit to a guy who not only puts his neuroses out there for the world to see, but also uses them as a marketing tool..."

My hats off you ye!

Anonymous said...

If only his vacuum actually was as good as he says it is. My friends and Consumer Reports say it's hogwash.

Natalia said...

I don't know, I'm sort of attracted to him...

Stephen said...

His brand of crazy has ended my 10 year "vacuum cleaner a year" run. 2 dogs and a 7 month old forced me to either trust the cute old Oreck guy or the crazy Brit. Crazy Brit won...and my floors are happy.
I wonder if it should fail for any reason if he himself would come over for fear of a dirty house somewhere in the civilized world.

TWoP Fan said...

Natalia, I'm so agreeing...it might be the voice.

Nightmare said...

Yeah My hoover is rated like 9 places better then the stupid Dyson...and it cost 300 bucks less!

Fifth Generation Leftist said...

The hand dryer scared me a bit the first time I used it in the Lowe's on 42nd st. It does work though...

Anonymous said...

my ex lusts after the dyson. he used to lust after the oreck, but now...
the man is one sick fuck.
and i wonder how much of dyson's spiel is a fake to appeal to those with vacumm cleaner OCD.
advertising can be scary.

GJ said...

My living room carpet begs to differ regarding the dyson. Of course, I also own a roomba and use it all the time, so I'm obviously just a gadget geek.

Love the commercials for their snarkiness, and yes, the "I'm taking on the world" approach. Gotta be the most romantic form of crazy out there, at least in its productive stages.

Anonymous said...

Well... will you say the same about Bill Gates? oops... my computer is about to crash... must click submit now ....

Mac McFadden said...

If a vacuum cleaner costs THAT much it better be able to paint my house too. And I don't mean "I can USE it to paint my house", I mean it does the job all by itself!

Mac McFadden

kelley said...

nathan:

re: grey boxes of doom in firefox - that's an affirmative, it's happening here at casa kel, too.

re: "spinning into butter" plot per IMDB - it looks as if I'd rather eat a stick of butter than watch it... unless SJP is placed in a churn and, literally, spun.

and, ps? due in no small part, I'm sure, to the chezzites (chezophiles? chezistines?) - as of this comment, IMDB says the aforementioned masterpiece's summary page has gone up in views by 319% since last week. if this causes the studio to send it to theaters, I am officially breaking up with all of you.

rubberchicken said...

30 odd years ago I saw an interstitial about people and inventions.

It went for 3 minutes and a fellow working on a construction site invented a new wheelbarrow tyre so it would not get stuck in mud it was ball shaped and did not sink into the mire.

This memory stayed with me as I thought it extremly clever, several years ago I found out it was Dyson.

Nathan said...

IMDB says the aforementioned masterpiece's summary page has gone up in views by 319% since last week.


I wouldn't worry too much. I doubt the seven views that represents will be enough to scrape the dust off of it.

sparksinner said...

It's been said by others above but I don't care: This is more marketing than crazy. Sure he's a fanatic, and he likely has some degree of Aspergers, but he's selling a product. It's the oldest trick in the ad book. Unique Selling Proposition: no lose the suckey suckey.

They lucked out and the inventor of the product is actually capable of selling it on camera. Might as well let him loose with it. Have you seen Steve Jobs do his big presentations? That's the same fanaticism, but stretched out to 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

You silly. You think this is about Yeatsian entropy. It's about the rugs. The rugs that we cannot live without. And the indoor environment. It's about having a piece of equipment that does at least as much as hanging the stupid things up on a line and beating them with a board. This is really important. And he is not obsessed.

He is my hero.

Anonymous said...

The most galling Dyson commercial is when he claims his brush-less motor doesn't have "Carbon Emissions", LOL
A clear attempt to confuse the viewer with a seemingly eco-concious term which bears no connection with actual carbon emissions as they pertain to the environment.

Hey Chez, I recorded your band with Hal in the early 90's in 'Lauderdale.
Those were the days!
Larry

Amy said...

I can no longer watch these commercials w/out thinking of this post. You've ruined me, man.