East Hills Mall’s “Cheesy” Back-To-School Commercial and Brand Impact

We have all seen those commercials that are so bad that you cannot help but laugh. You pass them along on social media to everyone you know and soon, even the local news and radio stations are reporting on them as well.  

Last month, the East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Missouri released a commercial that has now gone viral for being “cheesy” and  “terrible” according to comments on YouTube. The commercial features various stores in the mall singing a “back-to-school” themed song. It mentions some items that may be on your shopping list in the hopes that you will purchase them from the East Hills Mall. Lines from the commercial have also gone viral and people can’t stop singing along with “Boots and pants! Boots and pants!”

Producer, director, and editor of the commercial, Chris Fleck, is not upset about the attention his commercial has gained but instead says that he accomplished his goal. He told FOX 26 KNPN that when the idea was pitched they hoped it would go viral. He stated, “If you can entertain and get your message in, you’ve accomplished your goal. I just love that it’s getting this much response. That’s what commercials do, they get response.” Fleck and the East Hills Mall definitely got the attention they wanted and their commercial was even featured on CBS and The Soup. The YouTube video, “Terrible Mall Commercial“, shown above now has over two million views. 

In the media today you always hear everyone say that there is no such thing as bad press and that as long as you are being talked about it is to your benefit. But is this type of communication doing anything to build or perpetuate relationships with consumers? Since a goal of IMC is to cultivate a relationship with the consumer, the prior question is one that should be asked. It seems that making a commercial for the sole purpose of getting attention could be detrimental to the brand since it does not aim to build brand loyalty. Although Fleck, the director/producer/editor, is happy with the attention the video has received, what does it say about the East Hills Mall’s brand?

-Danielle Walters, Morgan McCleaf, Kelli Hall, Stephanie Jordan, and Shawn Rause