It’s hard for me to believe that J.C. Penney had nothing to do with the racy advertisement submitted to the Cannes Lions Awards by Epoch Films. The advertisement, which can be found on You Tube, suggests that the retailer is endorsing teenage sex.
The Wall Street Journal writes that “Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for the Plano, Texas, retailer, said he was “terribly disappointed” when he first saw the video Monday, after another Penney official noticed it on blogs that described the video as a Penney ad.”
Boylson adds, “It’s obviously inappropriate and nothing we would ever condone,” he said. “We’re very disappointed that our logo and brand position were used in that way.”
The thing that looks fishy to me is how J.C. Penney is blaming their own advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, who blames the third-party vendor Epoch Films. This situation is obviously all about pointing fingers and it ends with Epoch Films declining to comment.
“When asked if Penney was reconsidering its partnership with Saatchi, Mr. Boylson said he was having a ‘serious discussion’ with the firm, but said “our relationship with them is beyond the scope of this one incident’,” explains The Wall Street Journal.
The crisis communication seems a bit weak on J.C. Penney’s end of things. Even though J.C. Penney says they had nothing to do with production, the use of their logo in the advertisement automatically ties them to the sexual content. They should be much more concerned with the message of the advertisement than whether or not they are directly involved with production. J.C. Penney’s should address the issue of teenage sex and speak out against this “inappropriate” behavior.