Friday, November 16, 2007
JC Penney ads rock, while sales suck
So here's the latest example of a long-time advertising conundrum: what if the advertising is great, but the product's sales are slumping? That's the case with JC Penney, which has had some great advertising from Saatchi & Saatchi this year, and just released its best ad to date: this exquisite commercial (I admit, it's so good I don't even want to call it that) about a girl who builds a rocket ship to go see Santa. There are many small details that make this ad extraordinary—that the girl would never be cast for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog, that she wears her prettiest party dress when she's getting in her rocket ship to prepare for her meeting with Santa. And then there's the music. Lots of people know I'm a complete curmudgeon when it comes to the use of Beatles tunes in commercials, but this time, I'm, well, changing my tune. The commercial uses the John Lennon tune "Real Love" and it's used so perfectly that it's obvious great pains were taken to choreograph the action to the song, rather than it just being thrown haphazardly into the mix. He might not even have minded its use. But, as for JC Penney's sales, they decreased "dramatically" in September and October according to this story in Mediapost. Whatever the retailer does to fix its woes, I hope it doesn't include firing the ad agency. No company is going to get better advertising than this.