Epoch Films Withdraws JCPenney 'Speed Dressing' From Cannes


About as surprising as a traffic meeting on a Monday morning, Epoch Films, after talks with Cannes organizers, JCPenney and Saatchi & Saatchi, has decided to withdraw its Speed Dressing Cannes entry which was awarded a Bronze Lion. The ad, one of the best ever created for the clothing retailer since Saatchi & Saatchi won the account, was shot by Epoch films without, as all parties claim, the knowledge of JCPenney or Saatchi & Saatchi. It's not the first time a faux ad has been submitted, duped everyone and won but it has turned into one of the more high profile offenses.

So there you have it. Story over. It's sad, though. Apart from the seemingly unprofessional and devious behavior apparently displayed by Epoch Films, this JCPenney ad could have been a powerful element in the retailer's shift from irrelevance to relevance. Some would argue the ad's message pushed the boundaries of good taste. Others (the smart ones) would argue the effort was a brilliantly crafted piece connecting the retailer to the very people JCPenney needs to walk through its doors in order to survive.

Certainly, it would have been a risky move for JCPenney to have officially approved this ad. However, risky moves such this is, often times, are the only thing capable of righting a sinking ship.

by Steve Hall    Jun-26-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Creative Commentary, Industry Events, Opinion   

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So that means next to be withdrawn for being scam is the energizer print, matchbox, bazooka, ok, ALL the print, the lego stuff from the last two years, stuffit deluxe, tide, 42 below, sphere action figures, etc...?

Posted by: Daniel on June 27, 2008 11:42 AM

If we want this business to be honest, then, yes. It should all be withdrawn. If brands and the companies that create work for brands want to win awards for unapproved work that never ran then there's the Speckies and a handful of other awards that honer creative for creative's sake.

Sure, those awards are nothing like Cannes but, last I checked, Cannes is supposed to honor actual advertising that actually ran for actual clients with actual business goals.

Posted by: Steve Hall on June 27, 2008 1:33 PM

I really wish there was an industrywide article explaining what scam and ghost ads are and what effect they have. So many people outside of the creative department either don't know, can't tell the difference, or are otherwise oblivious.

People think scam is harmless, but when the entry costs go into the thousands and when people's careers/clients/agency reputations are on the line, then how can they be harmless?

Posted by: Mike on June 27, 2008 2:05 PM

Still in amazement here. The shooting was _really_ that good? The idea is _really_ that breakthrough? How this pos still gets an _award_ of any color -- not to mention all this press is amazing/disheartening. I thought we'd moved on to real creativity by now. Guess not. But props to Epoch for stepping up; at least someone there finally awoke from behind the wheel for a second.

Posted by: andya on June 27, 2008 2:39 PM

Granted, these days advertisers have to accept the idea that they no longer maintain total control of their messages. But it's one thing for a few amateur high school students to put a parody spot on YouTube, and quite another for a supplier associated with that advertiser to do it without their knowledge. Admit it, creating work solely to enter in award shows is dishonest. Yet every year we hear of it happening. My suggestion: ban Epoch from entering Cannes again...for life. Maybe that will serve as a warning for others contemplating this smarmy act.

Posted by: mickey on June 27, 2008 2:48 PM

Mickey... Yeah, maybe the client had no knowledge. But I'll bet you a million, the douchenozzles at Saatchi knew all about it. The fucking director was an ex Saatchi creative, and you know the cost of the shoot had to be piggy backed on a Saatchi shoot. This is further proof of the George Orwell quote I use on the top of AdScam... "Advertising is the rattle of a stick in a swill pail." Damn right!

Posted by: george parker on June 27, 2008 3:45 PM

This is an interesting book- http://www.amazon.com/News-About-American-Journalism-Peril/dp/0375714154/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214596241&sr=8-1

Posted by: Mal Ward on June 27, 2008 3:57 PM

This is an interesting book- http://www.amazon.com/News-About-American-Journalism-Peril/dp/0375714154/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214596241&sr=8-1

Posted by: Mal Ward on June 27, 2008 3:59 PM

Do you really think that all parties had no knowledge of this? Logos and tags come from somewhere.
I'm sure the prod. co was "convinced" to withdraw the ad.
The potential business loss/embarrassment, for the sake of another award is a pretty selfish act.

Posted by: Damon Webster on June 27, 2008 4:57 PM

It's funny that Saatchi has to scam ads like this when agencies like Crispin does cut through breakout viral and integrated work for big names and paying clients.

I question the relevance of agencies like Saatchi, which can only do creative work by bypassing the client. This spot is done by Saatchi as no production agency will presume to be a client's ad agency by doing this to win awards.

I don't really think this ad is really any good in that it does not tie with the tagline and fails to connect with the key audience for JC Penny i.e. parents.

So what if it has gone viral? Interesting viral videos are a dime a dozen these days with limited lifespan. And most do not brands or connect people to the brand in a meaningful manner.

Posted by: foodforthought on June 29, 2008 12:59 AM

Smells like PR-spirit. VW Polo anyone?

Posted by: Kurre on June 30, 2008 8:18 AM