JC Penney Unwraps Holiday Cheer

NEW YORK Holiday-themed ads tend to get syrupy and self-conscious. Yet even with a Christmas story line and a young girl dreaming about Santa, JC Penney manages to deliver another charming commercial from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, that is beautifully produced and is as heartwarming and beautiful as the John Lennon tune that backs it, “Real Love.” The two-minute cinema ad directed by Fredrik Bond stars a bespectacled, determined little girl who could be the sister of Ralphie, from A Christmas Story. But instead of a BB gun for Christmas, she wants to meet Santa. Awkward and a girl of few words, she gets the ultimate revenge on the neighborhood bullies by sticking to her guns and transforming herself from local outcast to star using her imagination and creativity. The spot opens with her quietly drawing a picture about traveling to the North Pole on her porch when the boys of the ‘hood pelt her with water balloons. She runs inside to dry her picture with a blow dryer and then begins on a construction project. Riding her Big Wheel back and forth from a neighbor who supplies her with materials, she begins to build her “secret” project. The boys are soon intrigued and serve as her bodyguards. When she is finally ready to debut her creation, the entire neighborhood has gathered for the unveiling. She’s built a rocket-like “North Pole Voyager.” And the boys end up saluting her. The spot ends with the on-screen tagline, “Today’s the day to believe.” It’s a wonderful story of childhood dreams that ends with a “Merry Christmas” holiday wish from a retailer whose tagline reminds, “Every day matters.”