St. Joseph’s East Hills Shopping Center’s back-to-school commercial is garnering national attention — but not necessarily for a good reason.
The quirky ad that shows what’s available at the mall is gaining notoriety for how bad some people believe it is.
A user on Reddit posted a link to the commercial on the social news and entertainment website Sunday calling it “the worst local commercial I’ve ever seen.”
Chris Fleck, producer and director with Suddenlink Media in St. Joseph, said he had been doing local commercials for 25 years and he goes out of his way not to make the basic local-business commercial.
He looks to do something that’s a little off the wall and odd.
“When I pitched it, I thought maybe it would go viral,” Fleck said. “I had no idea it would go bananas and crazy like it did. We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome. Everybody in the country is talking about East Hills.”
The video shows mall tenants singing — a bit off key and out of rhythm — about what’s available at the mall for the back-to-school shopping.
“Backpacks. Backpacks. Come get your backpacks.”
“Boots and pants and boots and pants.”
The Reddit post has generated 1,710 comments, including:
“That hurt just to watch.”
“Everything is so horrifically out of rhythm.”
“How can you look at this video and think, ‘Let’s put this on tv.’?”
“I’m from here and know one of the girls and now I have ammunition for life to make fun of her with. I will say that I have yet to see a local commercial around here that’s any good.”
There is some praise for the commercial:
“This is (expletive) brilliant. “Each different delivery was incredible in its own way but the amalgamation of them is comedy gold.”
“This is so bad it’s good.”
The commercial had been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube as of noon Tuesday. It also was picked up by Mashable and Huffpost Comedy on Monday. Even AdWeek has weighed in on the shopping center’s ad.
“The commercial really has everything you need: actors, props, a soundtrack!” wrote AdWeek’s Alfred Maskeroni. “I can’t think of anything else that would make it better.”
He acknowledged that some might call it the worst ever made.
“I call it perfect,” Maskeroni wrote.
Regan Lyons, East Hills’ marketing manager, said the shopping center was not expecting all the attention.
“It was meant to be lighthearted and fun — a fun way to advertise back to school,” Lyons said. “We never thought we would get the attention that it had.”
The commercial ran on local cable, including on ESPN, E and Bravo.
They posted a video of the commercial last week and over the weekend it went viral, peaking on Monday.
“Some people say it was so bad that is was good,” Lyons said. “We weren’t really taking it seriously with it. It was intended to get people’s attention.”
That it has.
“People are seeing the ad, which was the point,” she said. “People are definitely seeing it, so it’s great.”
The singers in the commercial have gotten a taste of celebrity, with friends calling from across the country.
“Most of them didn’t know that they would have to sing,” she said. “ I thought they did a good job and they were good sports about it.”
The ad has created another phenomenon.
“Most people can’t stop saying, ‘Boots and pants,’” Lyons said.