Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Digging the Doghouse?

Bill Bishop sent me a heads up on this last week.

The Vartarian One reminded me yesterday.

Just in time for the holidays, JC Penney has launched a controversial, viral video campaign helping specific gender deal with the overwhelming challenge of coming up with the perfect gift idea for their significant other.

Not surprisingly, the JC Penney campaign is generating mixed reactions.

TSB went straight to Michelle Miller's blog to find out what the author of the "Soccer Mom Myth" would have to say, and the way the WonderBranding guru sees it, the "Doghouse" is nothing more than a cheeky take on the gifts men buy that, much to their own bewilderment, backfire and explode in their face.

Others, however, are not as amused.

One married friend, who declined to be identified, observed the "Doghouse" is nothing more than a familiar recipe for an annoying commercial, complete with less than flattering gender stereotypes, mixed in with a predictable plot and way overcooked. (Timing out at just under 5 minutes). The musing concluded with a question, wondering why there is no doghouse for women?

From where JC Penney sits, executive VP Beryl Raff maintains, "women love gifts that are bright, shiny and beautiful and guys, that means diamond earrings or a pendant, not a vacuum cleaner.” To add fuel to this gender debate, JC Penney has partnered with Facebook® Connect allowing vengeful females the opportunity to put "guilty" parties in the doghouse for all to see. And if the gift-challenged guy, just needs a “tap on the nose,” he can be sent an e-mail warning, giving him one last chance to avoid the doghouse this holiday season.

The JC Penney campaign is an interesting exercise in an attempt to create a strong positive reaction through the use of a potential negative backlash. Impossible to have one without the other, otherwise the message gets buried in the white noise of "adspeak". Since most ads are designed not to offend, they rarely provide maximum return on investment, as "vanilla nice" language is left languishing in the "mushy middle" between magentic poles labelled Love and Hate.

JC Penney has ventured out to the skinny part of the branch on this one in an effort to sample retail fruit through the holidays.

Have they struck out?

Or did they hit one out of the park?

What says you?

"Women get the last word in every argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument" AUTHOR UNKNOWN


Ian said...

This video put JCPenney on my wasn't there before. I showed it to one person and mentioned it to two others. The message isn't startlingly unique but the cinematic creativity is refreshing and well executed.

JCPenney's attempt to go beyond what everyone else in their category is doing deserves high praise, which is what I'm giving.

This ad generates discussion. It probably won't offend anyone to the point that they'd boycott JCPenney. If it did, it wouldn't be JCPenney that has a problem.

Daniel Allain said...

This ad is great! It connects head on with the audience, husbands.