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PENNEY’S NEW LOOK FOR SPRING: Whether depicting the anticipation of a blind date or a group of guys sneaking out of the office to shoot billiards, J.C. Penney’s upcoming spring ad campaign focuses on the fun and flirty.
The campaign, kicking off during the Academy Awards on Sunday with six 30-second spots created with Saatchi & Saatchi, introduces a new banner — “New look. New day. Who knew.” It’s a message to convey the chain’s progress offering trendier fashions through a growing stable of private labels and exclusive tie-ups, and runs along with the “Everyday Matters” tag line Penney’s has used since 2007.
This story first appeared in the March 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Penney’s fashion buildup has been rapid and geared to reinforce its value message, moderate prices and differentiated assortments. Penney’s differentiation strategy also entails the ongoing rollout of Sephora in-store shops, and the upcoming launches of Liz Claiborne and MNG by Mango. The latest addition is Olsenboye by the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, another exclusive launching this spring.
The Olsenboye ad, being aired during the pre-Oscar coverage on ABC and post-Oscar coverage on the E network, shows a free-spirited gaggle of young ladies in denim jackets, short plaid skirts, flats and logoed T-shirts biking to Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, where they board a Water Taxi and pass the Statue of Liberty.
Penney’s is the only retail sponsor of the Academy Awards. It’s the ninth year in a row the company has sponsored the event. “We consider it the Super Bowl for women,” said Liz Sweney, Penney’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s. The show, she said, attracts 33 million viewers and they are mostly women glued to the red carpet. Nevertheless, Penney’s will run a men’s wear ad for the first time on the broadcast. The men’s “sneaking out” apparel spot features Levi’s, J. Ferrar and Joe by Joseph Abboud.
There are three other ads for women’s, which show a mix of designs from fast fashion to casual and career looks, including Bisou Bisou, nicole by Nicole Miller, City Streets and Decree for fast fashion, and private brands like Worthington and a.n.a. At the end of each ad, there’s an instantaneous “roll call” of the labels seen.
Among the key women’s trends are stripes; bold graphics in black and white; dressed-up safari looks with shine; animal prints; layering necklaces; sheath dresses; strappy sandals with heels and a cage, gladiator look, and exotic-looking skins in handbags.
The sixth ad is for Cindy Crawford’s exclusive home collection. She appears with her children and says, “L.A. is like nowhere else, but home is my favorite place. You want it to look stylish and feel effortless.”
The broadcast commercials will continue to air over the next few weeks on prime-time shows and cable programs, and will be introduced to Hispanic customers when aired during Penney’s exclusive retail sponsorship of Univision’s Premio lo Nuestro show. This season also marks the first time Penney’s utilizes social media in a big way, including Facebook and jcpenney.com. Penney’s also mails out its Little Red Book across the country.
Myron E. “Mike” Ullman 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer of Penney’s, said it has been the store’s mission to bring “unique, affordable style” to America. “For those who have not shopped with us recently, customers will see it as a new day for J.C. Penney,” said Ullman. “Highlighting some of our most-coveted brands, our new, integrated marketing campaign is designed to show America what they will discover at J.C. Penney.”