Tag Archives: Crisis Communication

J.C. Penney Points the Finger

24 Jun

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.

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Abercrombie & Fitch’s CSR Attempt

22 Apr

Corporate social responsibility is a great way for businesses to recognize the interests of society while acknowledging their impact on their audiences and environment. Abercrombie & Fitch has come up with a “brilliant” CSR tactic donating $10 million to the construction of a trauma center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The most shocking part of it all: The NCH could be renaming the building to the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center. 

It makes sense for their CSR attempt tot arget children in hopes to further encourage support for its children’s store, abercrombie kids. However, Abercrombie & Fitch needs to change their advertising campaign. The use of sexual advertisements to represent a company that targets children and teens doesn’t seem to go hand-in-hand with a children’s hospital and many are speaking out against this relationship. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has sent a letter signed by approximately 70 pediatricians and academics stating their position on the situation.

Both the New York Times and Fox News have covered the protest against renaming the hospital. Fox News features an article written by the Associated Press that ends with the following quote: “Abercrombie & Fitch is well known for pushing the envelope in terms of teen sexuality, and to have an emergency room named after them is ludicrous,” said Dr. Victor Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, who signed the letter faxed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

How would you handle the bad press from this CSR move? I think it’s time for some crisis communication.