JCPenney Wants to Show Customers It's 'Heart and Wallet Responsible'

Retailer Adds Three Kings Day to Holiday Lineup

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J.C. Penney will contine its efforts to reconnect with customers this holiday season. "Jingle More Bells," which launched last year, aims to show consumers that the brand is both "heart and wallet responsible" through the idea of giving, said Debra Berman, CMO at J.C. Penney.

"We were disconnected for a long time, so this is a big deal for us," she said, acknowledging J.C. Penney's ongoing battle to attract consumers. "We will spend the whole season helping people unlock what it feels like to give."

J.C. Penney saw a 3% rise in sales last holiday season, according to quarterly reports, which was on par with overall retail growth in the industry. Ms. Berman said J.C. Penney's media spend will be in line with a year ago.

The retailer's store associates are at the heart of this year's campaign. They're featured in J.C. Penney's "Jingle Brigade" spot -- its first of the holiday season. And they will also be ushering consumers into stores with red-and-white gloves that symbolize giving.

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Using #JustGotJingled, the campaign aims to encourage random acts of kindness among consumers through social media. J.C. Penney will promote customer videos that demonstrate the spirit of giving online. Similarly, the company made a separate video mash-up this month, saluting body confidence, to the tune of Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass."

"There are some pretty powerful moments," said Ms. Berman, adding J.C. Penney received more heartwarming clips than it expected. "Even a scrooge might tear up."

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On Dec. 2, Giving Tuesday -- an annual event meant to be an antidote to the holiday shopping frenzy -- will kick off the bulk of J.C. Penney's experiential push, which includes a coffee truck takeover in Seattle, a tree lot takeover in San Diego and a street team of elves, among other efforts. The retailer will also bring Boys and Girls Clubs into its stores for a holiday shopping trip.

The company also aims to connect with Hispanic audiences again this year -- a market that is growing more quickly than the general market, according to Ms. Berman. J.C. Penney will employ Spanish-language TV ads, digital and mobile search.

"It's very important to us that our content cues the world the Latina muse lives in and how she looks at the holidays," said Ms. Berman.

J.C. Penney created a video series on AOL that looks at how Hispanic families celebrate the holidays. The brand is also expanding its holiday calendar to include Three Kings Day, an important holiday in Hispanic culture.