WGN-TV Chicago reports executives with K&G Fashion Superstores and the chain’s ad agency Devito-Verdi/New York were taken aback when their 911-inspired television commercial was roundly rejected by both ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and Tribune Broadcasting-owned WGN-Channel 9.
K&G and Devito obviously thought they had created a clever spot in which viewers hear and see what sounds at first like a real transcript for a 911 emergency call. But careful viewers should be able to figure out the mock 911 call is a gimmick as the overwrought female caller tells the emergency dispatcher she was robbed by a guy with a name tag in a department store.
There’s no disputing the commercial was designed to sound real, and that is exactly what became the problem for WLS. A spokeswoman for the station said the commercial was nixed because of concerns that viewers might think the commercial was indeed a real 911 call and conclude it was somehow put on the air by the station’s own news department. WLS, ever mindful of its top-rated newscast status, didn’t want to risk such confusion. A WGN spokeswoman said the station had similar concerns.