When do you complain about a huge, free advertising campaign that’s guaranteed to boost your brand’s profile? When you’re J.C. Penney.
The retailer is reportedly aghast about a clever clip, most likely created by Saatchi & Saatchi*, the retailer’s ad agency, which is about to become YouTube’s most popular clip.You see, it suggests that teenagers may have sex — and that J.C. Penney endorses the idea.
Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth, but J.C. Penney is still worried that someone might get the wrong idea. WSJ:
Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for the Plano, Texas, retailer, said he was “terribly disappointed” when he first saw the video Monday, after another Penney official noticed it on blogs that described the video as a Penney ad.
Mr. Boylson said he still was questioning Saatchi late Monday to find out how the video got made and has instructed Saatchi to take any action it can to have the ad removed from the Internet. “It’s obviously inappropriate and nothing we would ever condone,” he said. “We’re very disappointed that our logo and brand position were used in that way.”
We won’t pretend to understand why Penney’s ad agency would go through the trouble of making a fake ad for its client. But we do understand that the notion of having the ad “removed from the Internet” is less likely than a nationwide teen abstinence campaign. As of this morning, the ad only appears to exist on YouTube in 3 incarnations, which have generated a few thousand streams so far. But it’s a slow news day, and this is the definition of a viral video. Prepare to see this one over and over again for the next news cycle or two.
*Update: Saatchi & Saatchi says the ad’s not (technically) theirs, but they’re very sorry anyway, and are going to try to get it “removed” from the Web. Good luck with that.
“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.”
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