Poor Robert Kelly. He has all but lost his name. He is no longer Dr. Robert E. Kelly, political science professor at South Korea's Pusan National University and sought-after expert on South Korean politics. To most of the world, at least, Robert Kelly is now, simply, "BBC Dad."
If you haven't yet seen the video of BBC Dad's unfortunate, cringeworthy 15 seconds of fame, well, here it is.
The lead in a New York Times story on the now-infamous moment read:
Strangers ask him if he was wearing pants. His phone hasn’t stopped ringing. And, no, he was not abusing his daughter in trying to get her out of camera range during a live television interview.
And in a post-interview follow-up with the same program which aired the debacle, host James Menendez remarked, "The reality is, of course, at least for 24 or 48 hours, you were the most famous family in the world."
Unplanned interruptions travel. They get told and re-told. And they're hard to forget, especially if you're at the center of them, like BBC Dad.
In lighting, they don't often go viral –– like BBC Dad –– but they still come with repercussions and regret.
Last year, I was talking with a chief engineer about a project he recently completed. He had just installed a dozen or so large, expensive chandeliers as part of a full grand ballroom remodel at the luxury hotel where he worked. Upper management and ownership were there to see the debut of the space, which would be celebrated over an evening cocktail hour, complete with hors d'oeuvres and champagne.
Just after the champagne was popped open, and just before the doors to the ballroom would be swung wide to reveal the new space, the group heard a loud crashing noise. Then another. And maybe another... I can't remember.
Horrified, the chief engineer opened the door to the ballroom to see that a number of the chandeliers he had just installed had fallen from the ceiling, some impacting the ground so strongly that they made large, crater-like holes in the floor of the ballroom. It turns out, the chandeliers weren't properly installed by the install crew, who (obviously) used insufficient support when mounting them to the 35-foot-high ceiling.
The install crew ate the cost of the blunder and was able to swiftly and safely remove and reinstall the chandeliers that did not fall, but the manufacturer's lead time on the replacement fixtures was so long that the eventual debut of the grand ballroom was significantly postponed and several scheduled events had to be canceled.
Are you squirming?
The reality is, things like that happen. They're nearly inevitable. The best approach is to focus on minimizing them.
Here are four ways you can minimize 'BBC Dad' lighting moments:
1. Scheduled lighting maintenance programs
Lighting maintenance is like car maintenance. It tends to be most expensive and inconvenient when it’s reactive. And things seem to fail –– brakes wear out, tires puncture, alternators die, etc. –– at the worst possible times.
The same goes for a reactive approach to lighting maintenance.
Proactive, or preventative, maintenance, on the other hand, allows for spaces to stay well-lit and sharp-looking. It's critical to keep product stocked, pay attention to detail, and think about group re-lamping or retrofit projects to keep embarrassing, untimely outages at bay.
2. Leave room for lead times, labor demand, human error, and bad luck
Remember, if you're scrambling to get lighting products this time of year, others probably are too. The same goes for scheduling contractors.
Ideally, you're preparing your lighting for the holidays, a big sale, or an executive visit 10-12 weeks in advance. This leaves room for potentially longer-than-usual lead times, busier-than-usual contractors. This even leaves room for human error, like a wrong order, and bad luck, like a lost package or bad weather.
If you're proactive and leave more room for these things, you're more likely to have the time to dedicate the more pressing matters in retail this time of year –– window displays, staffing, merchandising, stock levels, etc.
(Excerpt from our post, "Preparing your store for a sale or an important executive visit? Here are 3 retail lighting tips")
3. Pay special attention to lighting in difficult-to-maintain areas
Changing out a light bulb above your desk in your office is one thing. Not too bad. Changing one out in a busy stairwell, or in a parking garage, or in a cove application, or 30 feet in the air is another story.
We recommend long-life lighting in areas like these, as we mention in our Lighting Pyramid post:
"Don't work harder, work smarter. The next area you want to tackle is the hard-to-reach places in your building. Where are the places you need special equipment to change the lighting? Do you have cove lighting that's time-consuming and difficult to work on?
Moving to long-life products in these "thorn-in-your-side" areas will save you a significant amount of time and heartache.
Every time a light bulb needed to be replaced, they had to order a special –– and much more expensive –– lift that wouldn't ruin the imported tile flooring. Oh, and they obviously couldn't complete that work during business hours, so it had to be done after hours, making an already expensive and tedious project all the more expensive and tedious. The client had to dish out overtime pay and coordinate fluid employee schedules –– all just to change a light bulb."
4. Vet manufacturers and work with a lighting specialist
We like "the 20 percent rule" when we consider various lighting manufacturers and products. What, exactly, is that?
We explain it thoroughly in this post, but here's a brief overview:
When we get approached by manufacturers that want us to distribute their products, we, of course, perform due diligence and ask a long list of questions, but they tend to center around one rule of thumb we like to follow: if something is 20 percent better, more efficient, cheaper, shinier, or (however we're choosing to measure value on that particular day) than something else, then it is worth consideration.
This helps us to weed out the minor, incrementally improved products that may cause product whiplash. No one wants to spend time and resources on things with diminishing value.
And finally, lighting is difficult. We're here to make it easy. Our roster of lighting specialists is stacked. They've seen plenty of BBC Dad lighting moments in their careers, so they know exactly how to avoid them, and how to help you do the same.