McGarryBowen's Debut Work for JC Penney Stars a Washing Machine

Department Store Chain Is Testing Appliances in 22 Stores

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JC Penney is now selling appliances.
JC Penney is now selling appliances. Credit: JC Penney

JC Penney wants you to know that it's back in the washers business. To market its new appliances pilot program, the 114-year-old department store chain is rolling out two 30-second TV spots. Starting Feb. 1, the commercials will air in the San Diego; Tampa, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas markets where JC Penney is now selling kitchen and laundry appliances.

The two spots—one is in English and the second is a Spanish version geared to the brand's Hispanic customers—are the inaugural work from McGarryBowen, which JC Penney selected to lead its marketing last year. In the spots, a female owner of a suspiciously rattling washing machine is in a state of disbelief when her smartphone suggests she visit JC Penney for a replacement. A supplementary postcard that will be mailed out to consumers features a line of red collared shirts and reads, "Tons of polos and the major appliances to help keep them clean."

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JC Penney has not sold appliances for 30 years, but announced the new 22-store test program earlier this year. According to the Plano, Texas-based brand's internal research, 70% of JC Penney shoppers are female and are the key appliance buyers. The new washing machine spots target that customer.

"The marketing is cleverly designed to introduce a new merchandise category that our loyal JCPenney customers have not associated with us in the past," said Mary Beth West, chief customer and marketing officer for JCPenney. "It also gives us an opportunity to highlight how appliances are a natural extension of our current merchandise selection."

Each of the stores will feature between 90 and 150 different models of machines including dishwashers and dryers from brands like GE, LG and Samsung. Though the marketing for the effort is localized, the results of such broadcast, preprint, out-of-home and digital initiatives will determine the best strategy for a national rollout. The timing for that push has yet to be announced, though all appliances will be available for sale on JC Penney's website this spring.

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