Smart Business or Irresponsible Advertising?

2 07 2008

Allison Stulpin
Graphic Designer

With so many advertisers competing for face time, it’s no surprise that companies would use suggestive advertising to get your attention. However, if you are JCPenney you may be saying, that’s just not our image. Or is it?

At the recent Cannes film festival, an ad for JCPenney won a Bronze Lion award, which in and of itself is a great achievement. However, in this case, JCPenney and its advertising agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, New York, are saying they had nothing to do with it.

JCPenney Ad

For those of you who have not seen the ad, you may be questioning why a large company and an equally talented agency are not claiming this award winner. I was curious as well, so I watched the ad to see what all the fuss was about. To my surprise, the ad was definitely not inline with the wholesome image JCPenney portrays in its traditional advertising venues. My first thought was of the irresponsibility of the ad and the potential impact it could have on the target market.

Although I was initially surprised by this suggestive and irresponsible approach to garnering new clientele, I took a step back and thought about how brilliant this strategy could be for both JCPenney and its advertising agency. Even as the denials fly, this ad is picking up steam across the Internet, creating a buzz like no other. In business terms, this may be the break JCPenney needed to jump start its tween and teen sales, translating into one smart move regardless of who actually commissioned the ad in the first place.

So, is it smart business or irresponsible advertising? You decide.