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Posts Tagged ‘JCPenney’

This Is Why JCPenney’s Twitter Stunt Is Not Another ‘Oreo Moment’

From Vegas to Madison Avenue, everyone was looking to get in on some Super Bowl action. For marketers, that means standing out from the crowd. To accomplish these two things, JCPenney thought it would be a good idea to send out fake drunk tweets.

jcpenney tweet

After thousands of retweets, giggles, and WTFs, the retailer came clean and admitted it was part of a whole #TweetingWithMittens hashtag stunt.

A spokesperson for the shop, Kate Coultas, says, ”We knew Twitter would be very active but wanted to find a way to stay above the Super Bowl fray and instead create our own narrative. Given it was cold, and we are selling Go USA mittens — we thought it could be a fun stunt!”

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Thank McFly, JCPenney is Going Back to the Future

And how's that working out?

And how’s that working out?

For those who believe Apple, or anything that hails from it, can do wrong, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Ron Johnson.

He (pictured in this picture showing how long his career was at JCP) is an ousted, former CEO of JCPenney and an unscrupulous hack who believed his deified worship of smarmy hipsters who worked at his beloved Apple genius retail stores would work even better at the home of the Soccer Mom.

Only not so much. His sorely miscalculated ideas of removing all sales items, misreading what customers wanted, not testing his epiphanies in advance and inept acuity to understand the promise and premise of a brand cost him more than his job — it cost him his reputation and just about cost JCPenney its entire existence.

I think what was most telling of the Johnson era was he was rumored to be given a lovely severance package that he by no means deserved. Yet, his golden parachute ran out of the same strings he tried to puppeteer the JCPenney staff while he was there. Fitting for a…um, Johnson.

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JCPenney Apologizes for Ad That May or May Not Promote Bullying

We get the whole “shop here or no one will hang out with your dumb kids” sentiment of this JCPenney ad. We get that parents were offended by a (very, very mild) commercial based on the idea that clothing brands play a bigger role in the social pecking order than anything else, because come on: a loser in fancy shoes is still a loser. And we don’t envy the community managers and representatives who have to address this sort of “outrage” all day.

Here’s what we don’t understand: how does JCPenney still have 4.5 million Facebook fans?

Most ‘Social’ Brands Missed Their Chance to Shine on Oscar Night

The media has rendered its verdict: Despite receiving the message that it’s all about Oreo-style “real time marketing“, brands promoting themselves during last night’s Academy Awards (or “The Super Bowl for women” if you’re a sexist) did not measure up to their Game Day peers, despite paying premium prices for 30-second ad spots. They didn’t quite rock social media either.

The problem? On Twitter, at least, the content felt more than a little forced. We get it: spontaneous humor and topical commentary is hard; you really can’t fake it. Some examples:

Samsung tried hard to be on top of things but mostly came up empty-handed.

Not quite relevant to the brand, is it? Read more

Election 2012: A Win for LGBT PR Firms?

Wherever you may stand on gay marriage and other issues facing the LBGT community, we think you’ll agree that this week’s election was a big win for the gay rights movement; the country at large appears to be moving toward a new era in LGBT relations. But do these results reflect a future in which the public will be more receptive to gay-themed PR campaigns?

Election 2012 included several significant gay rights gains: Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay American Senator, California’s Mark Takano became the first openly gay person of color to serve in congress, Iowa voters chose to retain the judge who cast the deciding vote in approving gay marriage and, most importantly, voters in four states chose to either legalize gay marriage or reject constitutional amendments forbidding it.

It was a proud, hard-earned moment for millions of gay Americans–but how will it affect the LGBT PR industry and related campaigns?

Quite a few existing firms explicitly cater to gay audiences–and we’ve witnessed an increase in the use of obviously gay figures in advertising and PR campaigns. Here, for example, is a recent groundbreaking ad created by Brand USA to promote United States tourism to overseas audiences that features a gay couple:

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JCPenney Will Cut Your Kid’s Hair for Free

Things have been looking bleak for JCPenney. The struggling retailer lost $147 million during the second quarter, its shares are down 18% so far this year, and some of CEO Ron Johnson‘s recent efforts to resurrect the brand (including a pricing overhaul that replaced coupons and sales with a confusing three-tiered pricing structure) have fallen flat. However, it seems that Johnson had a moment of shear genius in offering free back-to-school haircuts for children during the month of August (painful pun intended).

In fact, the company saw such an influx of shaggy-headed kids in need of a new ‘do that it ended up giving away about 1.6 million haircuts in a single month — substantially more than it had bargained for. Johnson himself admitted the promotion was “far bigger than I expected,” and he has therefore imposed a few new stipulations to prevent the newly reorganized stores from being demolished by a cascading wave of hair clippings when the promotion relaunches. Beginning in November, children may still get their free haircuts, but only on Sundays, and only if they are in Kindergarten through grade 6.

While the hair-cut promotion is undeniably getting people in the door, many wonder whether it will have any real impact on the store’s anemic bottom line.

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Apple PR Fail: Tech Giant Scolds New SVP

Hey, how’s Apple doing? Well, their stock just soared to an all-time high in anticipation of new iPhone and iPad models, and they’re currently the most respected company on the planet according to a recent Barron‘s survey. So yeah, no worries there.

But today we bring you news of a rare PR Fail among Apple’s top brass. John Browett joined the company in January as senior vice president of retail, replacing the lamented Ron Johnson after he left to head aging retailer JCPenney–and the new guy found himself in a bit of hot water this week thanks to a few well-placed rumors and some very dedicated bloggers.

Seems like Browett told some insiders at the company that, in his humble opinion, the celebrated Apple Stores were “bloated” with too many employees. He then shared news of his plans to help them run “leaner” by reducing the hours of part-timers and laying off hundreds of recent hires at branches around the world if they insisted on working more than 32 hours a week. This tough talk quickly came back to bite Browett–hard.  Read more

JCPenney Loves 4-H Club

Despite some common misconceptions, 4-H is not just an agricultural club (although this PRNewser writer and former 4-H member did spend the summers of her youth happily raising vegetables and dragging impeccably-groomed sheep around a show ring). In reality, 4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. The H’s stand for head, heart, hands, and health, as demonstrated in the pledge that each member takes: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.” Who doesn’t love that message? Now, retail leader and longtime supporter JCPenney has taken a pledge of their own.

4-H has been a part of JCPenney’s philanthropic focus throughout the company’s history–Mr. James Cash Penney himself was actively involved with the organization for almost 50 years. Now the company is taking their dedication to 4-H a step further with “JCP Cares“, a new charitable giving program encouraging customers to round their purchases up to the nearest dollar and donate the difference. This month, National 4-H Council is one of two featured charity partners (the other being Boys & Girls Club of America). August is probably a smart month to feature these two organizations, because families shopping for back-to-school attire will be especially attuned to messages promoting educational and cultural enrichment programs for American children. Read more

JCPenney Discovers the Importance of Research the Hard Way

In revamping its pricing structure to a system of “month-long values,” JCPenney tried to erase the word “sale” from its vocabulary. Unfortunately for them, a lot of customers hang on to that word for dear life. As a result, the company is bringing back the word “sale” in the hopes of stopping the steep business decline it saw in the first quarter.

“We’re moving away from the word ‘month-long value’ because no one really understood that, to calling it what we intended to do, a sale,” said CEO Ron Johnson during an investor conference last week.

“They realized the word ‘sales’ drives consumers to stores,” added Alexander Chernev, an associate professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

The word “sale” also brings the shopper satisfaction, which is important when asking people to spend their money with you.

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From Octavia Spencer’s Big Win to JLo’s Nipple, Hollywood’s Leading Ladies Generate Oscar Buzz

Hollywood’s leading ladies usually are the talk of the Oscars, if only because of our insatiable interest in what they’re wearing to the big event. But last night, perhaps more than normal, the women of Hollywood generated a whole lot of talk for other reasons both good and bad.

On the good side, you have the wins for Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress) and Meryl Streep (Best Actress). Viola Davis was also the talk of the town both for her choice to go with a natural hairstyle and because she was the expected Best Actress winner.

Once again, the women from the nominated film Bridesmaids had everyone taking shots at the mere mention of Scorsese. And Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig went there with their talk about movie (and weiner) size. Video after the jump, ICYMI, or if you just want to watch it again.

On the not-so-positive side, Jennifer Lopez may have taken her cleavage too far this time and spurred a conversation about a possible wardrobe malfunction. Her stylist says no way.

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