JC Penney and Pinterest Team Up to Target Moms at a Mall Near You

Retailer Will Host Pinterest Boards at 10 Malls to Showcase Products, Styles

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JC Penney and Pinterest host a mall event.
JC Penney and Pinterest host a mall event. Credit: JC Penney
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JC Penney is targeting Pinterest-pinning moms in a new effort ahead of Mother's Day on May 8. In a quest to drive more consumers to its brick-and-mortar locations, the Plano, Texas-based retailer will host its own Pinterest boards in 10 malls around the country. The 10'-by-9'-by-2' digital boards will showcase apparel, beauty and hair inspiration. JC Penney also operates Sephora shops and salons within its stores.

JC Penney, which was founded 114 years ago, has been partnering with San Francisco-based Pinterest for years but this is the first time the pair have worked on a mall activation, noted Sheeba Philip, VP of marketing strategy and communication at the 1,020-unit chain. She said that the new initiative is an extension of the brand's recent "Get Your Penney's Worth" campaign, which debuted earlier this year and was developed by McGarryBowen.

"This idea of every interaction with JC Penney is worth someone's time, money and effort -- the best way to create that value proposition is by giving her meaningful solutions with shopping experiences," she said. "Pinterest is really a destination for our consumer, this modern American mom looking for head-to-toe looks."

Consumers can visit the general shopping area of the mall to see the Pinterest boards, and then shop the looks at the JC Penney store nearby. The $12.6 billion brand has enlisted more than 20 bloggers, including Heather Buen and Autumn Reo, to speak about trends and styles, while store associates will model some items and help shoppers find products. The events will take place April 23, 24 and 30 as well as May 1.

Brad Spychalski, creative and brand strategy at Pinterest, said the company recently noticed that it has a similar target audience to JC Penney.

"Our unique Pinterest insights also uncovered that their target audience over-indexes on interests such as parenting and saving money, relative to average Pinners," he said over email. "By working closely with the JC Penney team and grounding the creative in Pinterest insights, we were able to create an integrated marketing campaign that helps JC Penney customers save time, energy and money, while also fueling Pinners with inspiring and helpful ideas."

JC Penney, which spent $389.7 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2014 according to Ad Age's Datacenter, will run geo-targeted emails and social media around the events to spread the word.

The new brick-and-mortar effort is similar to a holiday initiative the company ran last year. At four malls, JC Penney offered a virtual reality visit to Santa's North Pole workshop; participating shoppers received coupons. A spokeswoman noted that the campaign resulted in a "substantial increase" in both coupon redemption and store traffic at the participating stores.

"If you think about mall traffic being down in general nationally, [such events] are a great way to engage people who are coming and give them a meaningful experience," said Ms. Philip. "[The Pinterest activation] goes deeper -- we're not just entertaining, we're giving meaningful content for their lives."

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