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Dynamic Chiropractic – November 7, 2005, Vol. 23, Issue 23

Chiropractic "Turns Heads" in J.C. Penney TV Commercial

By Editorial Staff

It remains somewhat of a challenge to get an accurate idea of the public's perception of chiropractic, particularly when we see confusing and sometimes contradictory perspectives presented by the media.

A recent example occurred less than three months ago, when Consumer Reports magazine released the results of its reader survey on alternative medicine. The survey found that the typical reader of Consumer Reports considers chiropractic the best form of care for both back pain and neck pain. However, in the same issue, the magazine's editors noted: "The clinical trial evidence for chiropractic is mixed," and stated that manipulation of the neck "can be risky."

Fortunately, not everyone feels the same way about chiropractic as do the editors of Consumer Reports. On Sept. 18, 2005, a 30-second television commercial for J.C. Penney first aired during the 2005 Emmy Awards. The commercial portrayed chiropractic - especially chiropractic manipulation of the neck - in an extremely positive light.

For anyone who may have missed the commercial, here's a brief synopsis:

  • The commercial opens with the camera panning by a sign that reads "Chiropractor" on the outside of the doctor's office. Inside the office sit three men, all young, attractive and in apparently good health - except for the fact that each of their necks is rotated to one side at an almost obscene angle.

  • The commercial quickly cuts to a shot of the three men lying down, each receiving an adjustment to the neck. With each adjustment, an audible (crack/pop) is heard. The men express a pleasant expression of welcome relief.

  • Next shot: The three men are walking down a busy sidewalk, smiling and displaying perfect posture. Three young, beautiful women - all dressed in the latest fashions from J.C. Penney - walk by in the opposite direction. The men turn their heads sharply to gaze at the women as they walk by. As more beautiful, well-dressed women catch the men's attention, one man eventually reaches for the back of his neck, a look of pain on his face.

  • The commercial ends with the three men back in the chiropractor's office, heads turned to the side, waiting to be adjusted again. Another four men are standing in line, their necks similarly rotated to the side.

(Incidentally, throughout the commercial, a well-known rock song is playing in the background. The song: "You Really Got Me," performed by a group called - what else? - The Kinks.)

How important is the inclusion of chiropractic in J.C. Penney's fall fashion commercial? Consider the following statements this commercial makes - statements the chiropractic profession has been trying to get the public to hear:

1. Chiropractic is featured prominently on a national television spot by one of the most well-respected department store chains in the country. J.C. Penney has been in business since 1902 and currently operates more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

2. Chiropractic received the equivalent of more than a half-million dollars in free advertising. While the advertising rate for a 30-second commercial for this year's Emmys was not available at press time, the ad rate for an identical spot during last year's Emmy broadcast was $550,000.

3. According to Nielsen Media Research, the 2005 Emmy Awards program was seen by an estimated 18.6 million people, including 6 million people between the ages of 18 and 49. That's more than 18 million potential patients who may have been unfamiliar with chiropractic, but who now know that it can be beneficial.

4. The chiropractic adjustment given was delivered in an authentic style, including the audible "pop" heard during the adjustment. With chiropractic under increasing scrutiny regarding the safety of the cervical adjustment, it's great to see a national commercial that illustrates the safety and effectiveness of this type of chiropractic care

5. The fact that the men returned to the chiropractor at the end of the commercial endorses the concept of repeat visits for care.

6. The line of men waiting to be adjusted at the end of the commercial suggests the public believes in and trusts doctors of chiropractic.

Editor's note: As of press time, we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to gain permission from J.C. Penney to host the commercial on We will let you know if and when we obtain such permission.

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