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Have you seen the new JC Penney commercials? Or should I say have you “heard” the new JC Penney commercials? It’s basically 60 seconds of screaming. And it’s caused quite a stir in social media. Few love it – most hate it – lots are talking about it.

JC Penney is trying to rebrand. And of course what that really means is – they have a new logo. Your brand is your reputation. And JC Penney has a reputation for being a bland mall anchor store. Kind of like Sears, Mervyns and Dillards. It’s not easy changing a reputation. Consider this. If you had a bad reputation in high school – how easy was it for you to rebrand yourself? Impossible. The best thing about high school is it ended. So you could move to a new State where no one knew your past and rebrand yourself. Unfortunately – JC Penney’s reputation is national and well-known.

Have you noticed that when these new “outdoor” malls or Villages spring up only the cool kids get asked to play? Like Anthropologie, Apple, Williams Sonoma and Chicos? Not JC Penney. Their brand is not chic enough or expensive enough.

So let’s take a look at the new JC Penney logo.

Seems they recycled the failed rebranding of Gap.

Sadly no one is protesting the new JCP moniker like they did with Gap – just the screaming commercials.

The new JCP promise – that is implied with the logo and the moaning Myrtle in the commercial – is fair and square pricing. Yup. You heard it – they are going to compete on price. With that logic I’m hard pressed to figure out who their target audience and competition are.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has partnered with the retailer to serve as a spokesperson for the retailer’s new identity. Remember SEARS, “Where America Shops” and their partnership with Chery Tiegs?

Time will tell if JCP can become America’s favorite department store.

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February 2012