Rate the Ad: JC Penney: High School Cinema

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Last time on Rate the Ad, we looked at a T-Mobile spot from Saatchi & Saatchi, London in which a farm veterinarian sticks his hand up a cow's behind in search of cell phone minutes. In the wake of the now infamous Heinz spot that was banned for depicting two men kissing, as well as a previous Volkswagen Polo ad that was banned for its likeness to animal cruelty, we wanted to know if this spot would similarly ruffle the feathers of U.K. animal activists or spur calls to the national ad watchdog agency. Well, it sounds like Rate the Ad visitors are more concerned with quality than encouraging unnecessary bovine rectal exams. Commenter "flootje36" was far more offended by the concept than the cow's situation: "Come on, you gotta be kidding me! This is really very lame. Next spot: a surgeon in an operating room? Nurse: 'Find anything?' Doctor: 'Only the appendix.' (Holds it up.) 'No free minutes.' It's not shocking at all, just a very lame concept."

This week, we take a trip back in time with JC Penney's back-to-school campaign-cum-abridged remake of the teen cult classic "The Breakfast Club." Kicking off the integrated campaign, which also includes teen-focused online games and text messaging, this 60-second cinema trailer started airing during PG and PG-13 movies on July 18. Accompanied by a cover of the movie's anthem, Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," the cinema ad recreates defining moments (Remember the Pixy Stix and Cap'n Crunch sandwich? Walking like an Egyptian?) from the film about a motley crew of high school kids, each embodying some clique stereotype, and their time together during Saturday detention. Only this time, the Brat Pack is Penney-clothed and more multi-ethnic than the 1985 original.

Yet, after the "Speed Dressing" scandal, when an unapproved JC Penney spot that arguably promotes teen sex won a bronze Lion at Cannes, does this feel-good homage take on more meaning? Did Saatchi & Saatchi, New York soften the original angst-ridden film to highlight the wholesome side of Penney's in "cool," unfortunately not at all Eighties clothing? Is John Hughes' heart breaking somewhere? Is this the most white-bread spot director David LaChapelle has ever shot? Are you shocked and appalled by this interpretation of a movie you've seen 67 times? Or, are you smiling at the references? Tell us what you think about what meets the eye, and doesn't, below.
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