While watching TV last night, a commercial for JC Penney caught my attention. Even more importantly, its message and execution created enough intrigue that, being curious, I dutifully followed their instructions, went to my computer and pulled up their Facebook page. (Not an easy accomplishment for most advertisers.)
So what was different about this commercial? For starters, I found it very entertaining. The images of shoppers screaming in frustration as they are bombarded with oodles of coupons and signage announcing a dizzying array of deals and offers was something I could certainly relate to. Perhaps more significant was that it was totally unexpected from a retailer like JCP. Their advertising has usually been very expected promotions of its latest and greatest door busters, early bird specials, scratch off coupons, and limited time offers.
Guess what though? It didn’t tell me everything I wanted to know but it did have me intrigued … so when directed to the company’s Facebook page, I went. There I learned that “on 2.1.12 the madness ends. But until then, enjoy our biggest and best-ever crazy and exhausting and totally confusing sale ever.” The Facebook page is interactive and asks consumers to join the “JCP Insanity.” What really surprised me was that it has more than 2 million likes, 15,000+ people talking about this and more than 100,000 visits to the page.
From a marketer’s perspective, I got an email from the American Advertising Federation this morning leading me to a New York Times article on JCP and their new branding strategies. I learned JCP has new management (executives formerly with Apple and Target) and their corporate strategy is changing to include a redesigned logo, simpler pricing of merchandise and stopping endless promotions, deals and sales. The new plan calls for only twelve sales each year. In 2011, JCP had 590 promotions!
Only time will tell if the new strategy is successful. But in my mind, they have already achieved their goal – getting consumers like me to rethink a tired, undifferentiated and unappealing brand and creating something compelling enough to get me interested (and to blog about) and even eager to see what they will be rolling out on Feb. 1.
Of course, the ultimate test will be if the new shopping experience is compelling enough to make me want to come back. Stay tuned.