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Posted by: Burt Helm on June 23, 2008
There’s an update to this post, below.
Social conservatives have had a field day going after brands lately. Now JCPenney, with this ad from its “Every Day Matters” campaign, seems to be baiting them.
“JCPenney ‘Endorses’ Teenage Sex,” quips Adrants.com. What the ad says about JCPenney, I’m not sure, exactly. But it doesn’t take a weatherman to predict a storm on this one. Will JCPenney stay strong like Starbucks, or crumble like Dunkin Donuts?
UPDATE: JCPenney is now denying it ever knew about the ad, its ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, is issuing a denial of sorts, and there’s a Wall Street Journal article about it as well. I’ll do some digging and see if I can get any more of the back story. Official statements from JCPenney and Saatchi & Saatchi are after the jump. Crazy, right? Especially since ad aggregation site Coloribus is listing the spot with full credits.
Right now, I’ll say this: It doesn’t look like it was shot “after hours,” as JCPenney CMO Mike Boylson speculates in the WSJ story – it looks very professional. Calling this ad a “fake” doesn’t fly with me either. “Unapproved,” maybe. But this was created by JCPenney’s regular commercial production company and entered into the Cannes advertising festival, for Pete’s sake.
JCPenney was deeply disappointed to learn that our name and logo were used in the creation and distribution of a commercial that was submitted to the 2008 International Advertising Festival at Cannes. No one at JCPenney was aware of the ad or participated in the creation of it any way. The commercial was never broadcast, but rather was created by a former employee at JCPenney’s advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, solely as an award submission without JCPenney’s knowledge or prior approval.
JCPenney does not approve or condone its content, and we have asked Saatchi & Saatchi to remove the ad from online circulation and to apologize to our customers and our Associates for misrepresenting our Company in this manner.”
-- The JCPenney Corporate Communications Team
From Saatchi & Saatchi:
”Saatchi & Saatchi has a long history of producing principled and respectful advertising for JCPenney and its entire client roster. The Speed Dressing TV commercial, which was submitted to the 2008 International Advertising Festival at Cannes, was created by a third party vendor without JCPenney's knowledge or consent. It was produced and released to the public without any knowledge or prior approval from JCPenney. Saatchi & Saatchi did not enter the spot and deeply regrets the message this ad presents. Saatchi & Saatchi apologizes to JCPenney, its associates, and its customers. The commercial is being removed from public circulation.”
News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.