People still profess confusion about which ad man had his way with JC Penney's image, making an unauthorized teen sex ad and submitting it to the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Neither the pissed-off retailer nor its apologetic ad agency would name names, and Ad Age yesterday concluded, "Just who is responsible for creation of the ad... is a bit cloudy." But it's not, really. Is it? It's got to be Mike Long, of Epoch Films. Read why, and watch one of Long's other "fake" Penney ads, this one a bit terrifying, after the jump.
In a statement distancing itself from the ad, JC Penney said the spot "was created by a former employee at JC Penney's advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, solely as an award submission."
Saatchi & Saatchi, meanwhile, said the commercial was "created by a third party vendor." That's probably Epoch Films, since Penney's chief marketing officer told the Wall Street Journal "the video may have been filmed after hours by a producer at Epoch who was working on the Penney ads for Saatchi," as the Journal put it.
So if both Penney and Saatchi are telling the truth, we're looking for a former Saatchi employee at a third-party vendor, probably Epoch Films, where he probably worked on Penney ads.
It just so happens that the man credited with directing the teen-sex spot, Mike Long, is (according to Ad Age) a former Saatchi staffer. He now works for Epoch Films. And his credits there list work for JC Penney.
The only other former Saatchi man credited on the ad, Tony Granger, does not appear to work for Epoch and told Ad Age he "would not have presented" the advertisement. Then he added, "neither would any of the team." Hmm. Granger might want to rethink that, because Long has presented this sort of work in the past. Find below another ad by the rebel director, apparently dating to last fall and also "fake," according to Silicon Alley Insider.
"Long... apparently did these as a giggle," the Insider wrote. Well, not entirely, since Long also has the fall ad listed in his online portfolio on the Epoch Films website (as also stated by the Insider). And some people, at least, appear to have been under the impression the ad actually aired.
Crazy idea, advertising people: Give out awards and list in your portfolios advertisements you were able to convince your clients to actually, you know, run. Or, even better: Let any teenager who can grope his way around iMovie enter your competitions, whether he has customers or not.
Long's fall JC Penney ad: