Monday, February 2, 2009

An opposing view on the "Jack Box got hit by a bus" promotion

On Sunday I wrote about the current Jack in the Box promotion, in which I noted the decade-plus success of the "Jack" advertising campaign, but then asked:

But has "Jack Box" gone past its expiration date?

In essence, I thought the campaign was a welcome addition. So did Nancy Luna, a blogger for the Orange County Register:

But is the iconic clown-head really dead?

That’s what the genius Jack in the Box marketing gurus will have us thinking after today’s Super Bowl. In a brilliant move, the San Diego-based burger chain kicked off the first of a series of commercials that question the fate of the beloved and hilarious Jack Box.

But some people don't share Nancy's (and my) high opinion of the ad. Damien Newton of Streetsblog wrote a post entitled Ad Nauseum: What Is Jack in the Box Thinking?. The posts starts as follows:

You know what's really funny? Pedestrians getting hit by a bus in the crosswalk.

At least that's what the marketing department at Jack in the Box apparently decided before putting together their "Hang in There Jack" campaign which kicked off with a bizarre commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. I can only imagine what friends and family of Gwendolyn Coleman thought if they were unfortunate enough to be watching the Super Bowl and paying attention to the commercials.

Gwendolyn Coleman, by the way, is a woman who was hit by a bus in downtown Los Angeles in January.

Read the rest of Newton's "Jack" story here. There are numerous comments, including my own:

If you want a fast food chain with non-threatening advertising, avoid Jack in the Box at all costs. You may or may not recall that the original jack-in-the-box signs were blown up in 1980 as the restaurant repositioned itself away from kiddie, and that the "Jack" character himself was introduced in 1995 by blowing up the same people who blew him up in 1980. So compared to previous outings with Jack, getting hit by a bus is relatively tame. While I respect your sensitivity to pedestrian accidents, I looked at this as the equivalent of a Road Runner cartoon.

Mine is just one of several comments, both pro and con, at Newton's post.

Opinion elsewhere is equally divided, with QSRWeb (QSR stands for Quick Service Restaurant) declaring that the Jack ad was one of the ads that "hit their mark," while Jason Roestel of the Chicago Examiner has a different take:

I don't want to think of what Jack in the Box spent on that stupid Jack getting hit by a bus advertisement. The public cry of the initialism WTF? should have set a united spoken phrase record once that little experiment in empathetic hamburger branding concluded. The only other words that came into my head about that commercial were: DIE JACK.
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