After suffering unforeseen backlash from the first East Hills Mall commercial that went viral with over 2 million hits, Producer Chris Fleck’s sequel commercial is still a question that’s waiting for an answer.
The second commercial has actually already been produced and made live on YouTube, if only for one night before being mysteriously removed.
Before it was taken down, Fleck talked about some of the controversy that followed the first commercial’s ride to viral infamy and admits that while ‘bad’ wasn’t the intent, he embraces the results.
“Now, did I set out to make a horrible commercial? No,” he said. “It just sort of imploded and I went with it.”
The commercial was just supposed to be fun and laid-back, but some businesses took it a little more seriously than that.
“So this time [the first commercial], there was a little blowback from some of the brands when it went viral, and a couple of the kids got in trouble for being in the commercial,” Fleck said. “That really weighs heavy on me because we meant to have fun, we meant to entertain people.”
Some managers went so far as to write-up employees for participating.
“Shame on those brands, and shame on those managers,” Fleck said. “Because those kids were going the extra mile to help their brand and help promote the mall and they should be rewarded, if not promoted, and here they are being reprimanded.”
While needing to remain tight-lipped for legal reasons, former Western student and star of the sequel commercial, Jeff Jones, is hopeful that with a couple modifications, the second commercial will be allowed to air.
“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the whole story thanks to legal things that go soaring over my head and pay level,” he said. “I do know that we upset one of the clients with a line from the song and the location; however, we did reshoot a couple of the lines and plan to rerelease the video. So keep your eyes open for ‘Get to the Mall, Ya’ll’ version 2.0.”
The mall was a bit apprehensive about the direction of a second commercial from the beginning, Fleck explained.
“That was the idea: I went rap, and I went with a twist on the word ‘mall,'” he said. “They wanted to say they were upscaling the mall, and I said for this one commercial, let your guard down and trust me on this. We are going to put the shopping center, graphics and we’re going to say ‘It’s the mall, ya’ll.’ And they loved it.”
Jones also hinted that there may have been trouble early on.
“The song, written by Chris, was the script,” he said. “Chris was my director. He told me how I was to be mall ‘Chief-y’ and such. Creative control was totally ours, until it was creatively taken, but that’s a story for later.”
Jones also wanted to express his appreciation for those that did get a chance to see the second commercial during its brief cameo on YouTube.
“I would like to thank those who liked and shared the first version of my commercial,” he said. “I received nothing but love and encouragement from everyone I saw and spoke to. ‘Mall touched!’ I do it for you all.”