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Responsible Marketing

The JCPenney Doghouse: Love it or hate it?

By December 11, 2008October 27th, 20214 Comments
JCPenny shopping

When I was a boy, a trip to JCPenney for school clothes was like a trip to hell. Their clothing was so—Penneys, and though I was able to persuade my parents to let me shop where the cool kids shopped when I got older, I still avoid the store today.

I can’t tell you what it’s like inside the store today, but with a hat tip to their ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi, some of their new adverts are quite good.

In fact, I’ve been sucked into a few of their T.V. ads that held me to the very end. When I learned they were for Penneys, I wasn’t sure if I felt good for JCP since they had improved or if I thought the ads misrepresented the “real” JCP I knew (over 30 years ago).

Here’s a new 4:45 viral video called The Doghouse from JCP’s Beware of the Doghouse campaign.

I find the video entertaining and particularly well done, but it’s yet another example of the way advertising portrays and reinforces the stereotype that all men are idiots.

I’m a husband that struggles to find his wife the right gift and I’m not offended, but some in the blogosphere are.

What do you think of “The Doghouse?” Do you love it or hate it?

Comment below to share your opinion.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Melissa Griswold says:

    OH MY GOD that was hilarious! I haven’t laughed like that in ages. I LOVE the video.

    Unfortunately, I’m like you, Patrick, same story about my family and Penney’s. My mom still shops there and it gives me the eebie jeebies. This ad doesn’t make me want to run back into one.

  • I don’t find it particularly funny but it’s not offensive to me, either. It’s such an old theme (man/idiots) anyway. If this is how JCPenney (or its agency) wants to project its collective wisdom, good luck to them.

    Although I do have to wonder. Why did the “Motrin Mom” ad get such a strong negative reaction, and this JCPenney campaign hasn’t? Are women/moms more easily offended than men/husbands? If that infamous Motrin ad had been about dads, would it have created as much drama?

    I’d love to know how men and husbands really feel about this JCPenney ad. Thanks for talking about it on your blog, Patrick.

  • Rob Wolf says:

    It’s an interesting approach and I applaud JC Penny for at least trying something out of their comfort zone.

    I think long-form, episodic advertising like this can work for major brands, but they need to do three things simultaneously:
    1) Tell a compelling story that holds people’s interest through humor or some other emotional connection.
    2) Tell a story that is compatible with what people already believe about the brand.
    3) Connect what people believe about the brand with what you want them to believe.

    I think Penny’s succeeded on the first, but not the last two.

    If you watch this video without knowing that it’s about JC Penny, you watch and think to yourself “okay, what’s the payoff? Which brand is going to be the hero that comes in and saves the day?”

    It was funny, well produced, and rung true to this sometimes dumb husband. When the solution is revealed to be JC Penny, it’s just not credible. Though I relate to the buildup, the “solution” doesn’t fit my preconceived notions of the JC Penny brand–and they’ve done nothing throughout the course of the ad to change that perception.

    I would have rather seen a creative execution that really embraced people’s beliefs about JC Penny–then played with that idea. Show us the catalogs from the seventies, the bad lighting, the itchy, unstylish clothes, and somehow show how JC Penny has evolved into something that people really hadn’t considered.

    Do it creatively and obtusely, as Saatchi has done with this execution, but do it with a winking acknowledgment of how people see the brand.

    PS: See you in a half hour, Patrick 🙂

  • Moon says:

    This one is just hilarious, I think. Oh, my, my husband has given me some plumb awful stuff, a crock labeled Prozac for our anniversary, which “mysteriously” got broken, a power screw driver for my birthday, and oh my, countless other gifts that were just plain wrong for the occasion. Like when he gave me a paper shredder for Christmas. Now guys, it’s not that we think you are idiots, we just think you don’t know what you’re doing, and need some training. And apparently JCP understands that. Guys, just remember this, if it’s a somewhat romantic holiday in particular, she wants to think you think she is special. She doesn’t want you to see her as the housemaid, and she doesn’t consider it especially romantic if you tell her she needs to shape up some. Maybe she does need to, but she sure as heck doesn’t want you to tell her that with a “gift”. She’d rather you come home early and suggest you both go out for a nice, romantic, two mile walk. That way you don’t offend her, and you’re both getting in better shape, cos you know you need it too! If she hasn’t stated explicitly that she would be crazy excited to receive a particular appliance as a gift, and you know that you need an appliance for the house, buy it for the house, don’t expect to kill two birds with one stone and use a holiday as an excuse to buy that appliance, or you will lose every time, oh yes you will! If you want her to consider your gift romantic, make it something personal, or something the two of you can share together. Vacuum cleaner, bad. Weekend getaway in the Poconos, good. Crock for Prozac, so bad that even your buddies think you really blew it.

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