Thursday, April 03, 2008

No Laughing Matter

First of all, watch this video. Actually, you only need to watch the first 12 seconds. It’s your typical obnoxious department store advertisement featuring attractive people doing fun things that you’re not invited to unless your dad is suddenly named Secretary of Commerce. And the Krauss/Plante song is nice.

For the first seven seconds it’s your standard JC Penny commercial. But suddenly… why is that girl standing on the table? What are those d-bags clapping for? WHAT THE FUCK?!!! WHAT IS SHE DOING TO THAT CAKE?!!?? THAT’S SOMEBODY’S BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! YOU THERE WITH THE ASSHOLE HAIRCUT, STOP APPLAUDING THIS OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR AND STOP HER!! Oh no.

And cut.

I love cake more than 20-year-old European dudes love V-neck t-shirts. While I have since seen this ridiculous ad on TV, my first screening was before whatever terrible movie we saw last week that I can’t remember now. I was already indignant because our local theater has stopped carrying Reese’s Pieces and I’ll be damned if I’m bringing outside candy into a movie like a hobo. This put me over the edge. Never again will I buy a shower radio with built in flashlight as a last minute Xmas gift for my dad at JC Penny. My monies are going to Belk’s.

A quick search of the tubes when I got home showed that other people were just as concerned about this as I was. There were several or pages proposing “What’s the deal with… girl and the cake?” but no one had posted an answer. This one issues exemplifies everything wrong with the internets. There is probably a very simple explanation for this but no one has bothered to find out. All some crazy internet crackpot needed to do was ask.

Wait! I’m a crazy internet crackpot!

Dear Mr. Penney,

I have been a fan of your stores since I was very young and would go there with my Mom to by back-to-school clothes each summer. Sadly, that store shut down a few years ago and I now have to drive a farther distance to enjoy your great deals on polo shirts and chinos.

But the reason for my inquiry concerns the latest batch of American Living commercials. I am a big fan of both Robert Plant and Allison Krauss and find the advertisement very touching. However, the quick scene where a young girl in boots steps on her birthday cake is bothersome to me. At first, I assumed this was a tradition from a culture I was unfamiliar with, but none of my friends of other races or religions knew anything about it. Even the ones whose parents are from Europe! I don’t know if I would let my little twin cousins watch it in fear that they might want to walk on their cake next month on their birthday.

In the commercial, the other people in the room appear so happy and proud of the child that it seems very natural and unrehearsed. I don’t want to appear intolerant, so I was hoping you could provide an explanation for the little girl’s action.

Thank you for your time,


Usually, these letters take a despicably long time to get answered. Sometimes never. JC Penny wrote back the same day and it caused me to question my previously mentioned shopping ban.


Thank you for contacting us online.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your comments about JCPenney's recent advertising. Very specifically, we attempt to avoid themes that would be considered offensive to JCPenney Customers. We sincerely regret that our ad has offended you. It was not our intent. In this case, the director took what we call creative license. It was not to make a statement, but just the cast and crew having fun.

Thank you for shopping with JCPenney. Customer Service
Every Day Matters


First of all, “The director took what we call creative license?” That’s your answer Penny? Creative license? Thanks for explaining that to us Clampetts in our cement ponds. Second of all, I don’t think there is anything in my letter that indicates that I’m at all offended by the little girl’s vicious, cold-blooded pastry mangling. I suspect that the employees of JC Penny’s were so offended themselves that they project those feelings onto my letter.

Honestly, though, I am very pleased with the response. It was returned quickly and, while a little demeaning, still answered the question. But I would have been more satisfied if they had told me what I assume actually happened: the director filmed the wrap party, things got out of control and a 4-year-old girl got a little drunk. I wouldn’t have told anybody, JC Penny, but at least assume that I am sophisticated enough to know what the term “creative license” means.

1 comment:

Meeg said...

You can tell that girl is up to no good because she's wearing a bandana.