Mock Outrage Over An Ad You Paid For? Reverse Streisand Effect

from the oh-come-on dept

As the concept of The Streisand Effect has become more and more well known, the question I'm most frequently asked is whether or not a company stupidly demanding something be taken down is really being done by someone that understands the likely result and is just using the resulting "attention" to their advantage -- that is, are they pulling a "reverse Streisand Effect." It's often pretty difficult to sort out these cases from the real Streisand Effect, and when in doubt, it's often best to just assume the simplest explanation that the company really was acting stupidly.

However, in this latest case, I'm really not sure -- and am starting to suspect a Reverse Streisand Effect by J.C. Penney to promote a new viral video. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that J.C. Penney is pissed off at its ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi for "leaking" a "fake" ad that "appears to be endorsing teen sex." The ad involves a young boy and girl practicing getting dressed as quickly as possible before the boy goes over to the girl's house to hang out in the basement, while the girl's mother is upstairs. Supposedly J.C. Penney "instructed Saatchi to take any action it can to have the ad removed from the Internet."

Uh huh. And now, suddenly, that ad is all over the internets. The whole thing smacks of mock outrage with a demand to takedown content knowing that it will only spread far and wide. So what do people think? Is this a Reverse Streisand Effect or is J.C. Penney just clueless?

Filed Under: commercials, reverse streisand effect, streisand effect, takedowns
Companies: j.c. penney, saatchi & saatchi


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  1. identicon
    Bill Royds, 26 Jun 2008 @ 2:09pm

    It is actually brilliant

    What they have done is preserve JCP's lily-white moral reputation amongst the majority of its customers, while also creating an underground reputation that will expand its business in areas where it is weak.

    Satchi doesn't mind taking the blame becuase it diffuses it from JCP and enhancs their market value as advertising creators.

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