Saatchi & Saatchi New York and JC Penney have officially parted ways, ending a five-year relationship that birthed a new image of the retailer, transforming it from stodgy into a fresh-faced purveyor of affordable clothes for American families. The alliance, which had its roots in a meeting of the minds between the retailer and Saatchi chief Kevin Roberts, resulted in some memorable work. We take a look back at our favorites.
Life Imitates Art
The tone for the shop's work with JC Penney was set with this spot, a playful montage of shots, all playing homage to some of the greatest film scenes of all time. It wasn't terribly original, but the execution made it work. The spot also turned the brand's positioning away from "It's All Inside" to "Today's the Day."
The fanciful continued to keep the spotlight. In this work from early 2007, a man and a woman, visibly crushing on each other from afar, finally talk to each other after crowds in a train station magically melt away. "Today's the Day" created a tone that was hopeful and suggestive, a theme that continued through later work.
Tugging at the heartstrings is a great tactic for family-friendly brands, but it can be hard to get it right without going over the top. To commemorate Mothers' Day, "The Walk" appealed to moms everywhere, creating a circle of life theme accompanied by the by-now familiar soft, acoustic-based music.
Kids Take Centerstage
Work from Saatchi for Penney was comforting, working with creative concepts that were familiar, rather than ground-breaking. Spots that continued the "Today's the Day" positioning used situations like young classroom love, or the depth of kids' imaginations, to sell the image of the retailer, not just its products.
In retail, some milestones have to be marked, Thanksgiving being one of them. But Saatchi's creative execution for a sale, of all things, was what made this spot worthy.
Picking Up the Pieces
In 2008, Saatchi & Saatchi debuted High School Cinema, a back-to-school campaign cum abridged remake of cult classic The Breakfast Club
. The 60-second cinema trailer recreated defining moments from the film (Remember the Egyptian Walk?), possibly meant to stir up nostalgia in the parents' demographic. Still, the spot garnered more attention because it came right after the "Speed Dressing
" scandal, when an unapproved JC Penney spot won a bronze lion at Cannes. Did Saatchi soften the original film to highlight the wholesome side of Penney?
All was forgotten with Doghouse. The ad, which depicted men being put into a fictionalized "doghouse" after they bought the wrong gift for their spouses, was released online-only and became one of the most-viewed clips of the year, a testament to how well the brand -- and its shop -- understood the magic formula of what is (and isn't) shareable on the Internet.