JCPenney's new terrible, stupid prison ad is probably the future of advertising, sadly. It's been released as a five-minute internet video and was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the same firm that kinda-but-not-technically created a "yay teen sex" ad for the retailer earlier this year. This seems to be the same sort of play: controversy=attention. And it's working! All Saatchi had to do this time was film some loser husbands crawling around like dogs, in a dungeon, ruled by women. (Yes, it's after the jump.)
Ad Age finds the spot tedious, but commenters there generally love it: "A co-worker sent it to everyone in the office," wrote one. "Everyone thinks it's hilarious." Julia Allison is especially effusive ("GENIUS!!!!") about it .
Summary: A guy buys his wife a vaccum cleaner for their anniversary, and she's none too pleased. Ha ha. Then she makes him get down on all fours and enter a doghouse. A little silly, a little creepy, but still a funny ad. Then the guy ends up in the dungeon, with the other naughty husbands. You could actually cut it there and it would be a fun ad. But it turns out all the guys have been there forever, never get released, have to eat food out of dog bowls and beg before an appeals board of privileged white women.
Would there be an outcry if the genders were reversed? Of course. Did Saatchi know about the misandry angle in this ad? Totally. They count on it not only for the initial laughs — extremes are (often) funny! — but also for some internet outcry like this post right here, and the inevitable others scads of blogs everywhere. The ad isn't getting skipped on a TiVo, and, hell, JCPenney doesn't even have to pay to air it.
It turns out Snickers and Nike had the right idea, they just needed to pick their targets more carefully.
This is the sort of quality work one can only come up with after rejuvenating Thai spa vacation!