Dec 16, 2009

The Downside of Clever

One of my pet peeves are ads that try too hard to be clever and wind up ignoring the product and audience.

To wit: this morning I saw an all-type bus shelter ad for J.C. Penney that read "For the record, no kid wants a sugarplum."

Clever line, will likely win some awards and the creative team will proudly display it in their portfolios.

But what does J.C. Penney get out of it?

Bubkes.

If my own reaction is common (and I suspect in this case it is) my thoughts immediately turn to Hanukkahs past and my dismay at receiving clothing of any sort as a present instead of toys. Which then immediately leads me to Toys'R'Us or GameStop or Amazon or even Target- any store that I know sells lots of toys-- and how I should make sure all my kids' gifts are toy-like.

J.C. Penney sells clothes as far as I know. And while the website indicated that they do sell toys (I just checked) they've given me no reason to choose them over the aforementioned stores: the ad tells me nothing about the size of their toy selection or even that one exists. (Or if it does, I haven't noticed it after about a dozen viewings.)

Clever is good and can help create a strong brand image, particularly in a parity category.

But clever for clever's sake? #Fail.

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