I havenâ€™t noticed Marriott in years. When I think of that hotel chain, my brain goes to airports, insurance conferences and big plastic name tags. And theyâ€™re good at those things. But this ad, which is now running globally, disrupted that status quo for me.
The industry analysis on this campaign has been to emphasize the companyâ€™s investment in employees and celebrate a heritage of service. As we all know, when employers invest in employees, they feel motivated and committed to the work they do facing guests. But why I like it, apart from the brilliant creative by the New York agency Mother, is that exposing staff members to ballet isnâ€™t just about witnessing culture, poise and grace â€“ itâ€™s about learning to embody those qualities in oneâ€™s self â€“ physically applying those concepts and forms. This demands a relationship to your body, an awareness of the expression on your face, the nuance in the curve of a hand, attention to posture at all times â€“ even when no oneâ€™s watching. For all the reasons we love watching a ballerina in action â€“ and can spot one on the subway sans tutu â€“ Marriott gifted a legion of employees with movement that feels intentional and precise, because they knew that it wouldnâ€™t just have an impact on how a man carries a tray or the way a meal is presented â€“ but how he is, as a man â€“ or how she is, as a woman.
You donâ€™t have to come to that training with mounds of self-respect / self-esteem / self-knowledge. But what you get out of that training is all of it â€“ without the traditional focus on external service practices, â€œthe bookletâ€ in this case. When you teach people how to own the feeling you want to embody, not just wear a mask that looks like it, they become aware of it across all the roles they play.
You can arrive to your desk everyday, unshowered, in your pajamas with bed-head-bun, or you can get dressed, brush your hair and smell amazing â€“ whether anyone sees you or not. Circumstance â€“ being a waiter, a remote freelancer, a stay-at-home-mom, doesnâ€™t dictate who you are â€“ but how you hold yourself, treat yourself and regard yourself, tells the world everything about how you are.Â But mostly it tells you.