It's back to school season and the advertising has begun. Kids need school supplies and new clothes to start the year and every business wants your bucks. But, will JCPenney be left out in the cold because of the backlash on their latest back to school ad?
This week, consumers cried foul as a television spot insinuated that not wearing the brands that JCP carries could make or break your year. The ad then cuts to all the kids disappearing and one young boy by himself. If you haven't seen the spot, check it out here:
* Can't see the video? Click here.
Frankly, I think the uproar is ridiculous. I'm sorry, but no matter how politically correct our world becomes, kids are kids and school is school. Children will always notice other kids' folders, lunchboxes, backpacks, and clothes. It's how kids are.
When I was growing up, if you had a Trapper Keeper you were cool. That sound of Velcro as you got your homework assignment out constantly reminder the other kids that you had one. It was the must-have item. I remember when I got a lunchbox that I was really excited about and the feeling it gave me when another kid said she liked it. I also remember the horrible year that my mom got me a hideous backpack and how I'd try to hid it coming and going from school. Boy, I hated that thing. The year I got my first pair of Nike's just like all the other kids had was a landmark. Were they amazing shoes? No. But all the other kids had them and the reality is that kids like to fit in (something as a grown-up I try to avoid at all costs).
As adults, most of use know better than to judge people based on the clothing they wear. This is something that comes with age, experience, and maturity. And, as much as we can try to teach our kids not to judge others based on superficial things like the jeans they wear, the fact is that school is a universe unto itself.
I'm not making excuses for bad behavior, but the critics who are saying the JCPenney ad promotes bullying are just silly. It does no such thing. It simply is reminding parents how important back to school purchases are to our kids. No kid will ever say they want the knock-off instead of the name brand. That's just not how kids are. And, although, not every parent will be able to buy their child ever item they'd prefer (I know my mom couldn't afford to), don't think that what your kid wears or takes to school doesn't matter to them. It does.
So, cut JCPenney some slack. There's nothing wrong with their ad in the least. It just depicts the world as it is. Don't like that world? Change it.