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Responsible Marketing

Responsible or not?

By December 13, 2007April 6th, 20217 Comments

Boring advertising is irresponsible in so many ways. But there’s a fine line between breakthrough creative and going too far. Is this ad responsible or not? Comment below to weigh in.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • It really comes down to your definition of responsible I suppose.

    From a purely creative and attention-getting stand point, this is a brilliant ad that captured my imagination right from the start. The staging, the actors, the drama, the lighting and the dialogue are great. Not sure about the disaster overtones and running into the plastic trike though. But sandwiched between the CSIs, Heroes and other heavy dramas on TV these days, this is not out of place.

    Now, promoting excessive spending on Black Friday like it is the best sale day of the year to a population of over-consumers when you know you will have even deeper discounting up to and following Christmas is a little irresponsible!

  • Tim,

    I’m a Heroes fan myself and was totally sucked in.

    I had a conversation with one of my partners tonight at the Outsource Marketing holiday party. Interestingly, his comments were quite similar to yours.

    The unsettling nature of the video didn’t bother him as much.

    The store opening at 4AM and the impact it has on the company’s employees and their families did.

  • Richard says:

    Being a former department store employee and having worked on Black Friday in a retail capacity, I don’t feel a great deal of sorrow for the people who had to wake early on the day after thanksgiving. Hopefully working at JC Penny’s is a stepping stone to something better, and if not, these employees have presumably accepted the nature of the retail beast.

    However, is there something to be said about the attention-grabbing mechanism? Is it responsible to compare the urgency of a sale to that of a potentially violent domestic situation (assuming that I have accurately interpreted the suggested cause of the mother and children fleeing the house in the middle of the night)? Is it appropriate to make light of such a horrible situation in order to sell more argyle sweaters and bottles of Hugo Boss?

  • Deane Nettles says:

    It would have been better if her husband had been in bed, and she was sneeking out… 🙂

    Though I do want to know what they’re going to do with the canned goods.

    Would’ve been better if they tied it in with a “bring your canned goods and we’ll donate them to the local food bank.”

  • Deane,

    Never even thought of the canned goods point. That would have made this spot that much more powerful, and I’ll bet most viewers would have forgiven–even appreciated the attention-grabbing approach.

  • Patrick – sorry to take so long to weigh in on this.

    As a mother of three young girls, I almost turned the channel when I saw this commercial. Seeing a mother, alone, in the middle of the night, seemingly needing to protect her daughters instantly makes me feel frightened, vulnerable, unsettled.

    For so long, I had read that as a marketer, you want a consumer to have positive feelings during that 60 seconds that you ask a them to consider your product. I guess the tides are shifting and it is more important to grab their attention?

    It also makes me wonder about their demographic reach. I imagine, men watching that commercial have less concern about what is happening than a woman might.

    Interestingly, I saw a commercial for JC Penny last night and it was all happiness and good thoughts, but less intrigue. Perhaps I have been watching too much Dora lately, but that commercial made me like JC Penny far more than the one you are showing here.

    Thanks for the dialogue.

  • Daniel says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Responsible or not?, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

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