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JCPenneys It’s No Secret Ad Whiffs

05/02/2013

sinking_ship-1We’ve been critical of JCPenney since Ron Johnson became CEO.

Of particular concern was (and still is) the merchandising. Regardless of what anyone tells you – product is the epicenter of any brand’s success.

After product comes the story – known in business lingo as marketing. JCP’s marketing was so far off the mark, yet few called Johnson out on the fact. By May of 2012 we couldn’t take it anymore and right here, on “On The Horizon”, itemized JCP’s marketing misses.

The post “JCPenney Marketing Must Focus On Product” ended with the sentence, “This is not rocket-science…but JCPenney cannot continue its current marketing tact.” Hindsight is always 20/20 but the handwriting has been on the wall since before that post was published.

So we were intrigued when learning about Penney’s new spot, “It’s No Secret”.

The commercial starts off promisingly with the voice-over, “It’s no secret. Recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you.”

The message begins to lose focus in the next sentence, “To hear what you need to make your life more beautiful.” Huh?

But then the whole things falls off the tracks…The spot continues to drivel with flowery language about how “we’re listening” and “we’d love to see you”.

That’s it? That’s your plan to win customers back? Listening, inviting customers to come to their empty stores?

In a retailers calendar business begins with back-to-school. Retailers like JCPenney have long relied on the succession of events and holidays that begin in August and end in January to drive revenue into profitability.

That said JCPenney has slightly more than 3 months to get its entire merchandising and marketing act together. It’s going to take more grit and straight-talk then the fluff of “It’s No Secret” to pull the brand out of the muck.

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