The Downside of Wealth and Power

You Have to Be Quoted Saying Really Stupid Shit

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Haven't yet seen the new J.C. Penney campaign, which is supposedly imbued with Kevin Roberts' "Lovemarks." I'm sure dying to see what advertising looks like with a hickey on its neck.

What I have seen, though, is the J.C. Penney press release.

These documents are often filled with rare gems of p.r. speak. My all-time favorite dates to the year 2000, when a Penney's exec declared in a press release that "The days when fashion can dictate what women wear are over."

If that is the case, I remarked at the time, Penney's is well positioned for the future.


But now comes the new campaign, tagged "Every Day Matters." Quite a slogan. It is, of course, true -- but not in any way that a department store can influence. Thus the need for gradiose executive doubletalk. Here's Penney's Chairman-CEO Myron E. Ullman III:

"Our customers want the moments in their lives to be more exciting and more meaningful. To address this, our mission will be to make JC Penney a source of encouragement and inspiration, offering style and quality at a smart price. We'll show our customers that what matters to them matters to us."

Encouragement and inspiration from the anchor store at the mall? Does he actually believe that bullshit? Maybe. The same release quotes his CMO as saying J.C. Penney will helps its customers "make each day richer and more inspiring."

Sigh. No it won't. There are three possibilities here:
  1. These folks are True Believers, and therefore poster children for the substitution of spirituality and human relationships with soulless (but affordable!) consumption.
  2. They are gamely trying to talk their way out of a silly and unsupportable selling premise.
  3. Kevin Roberts is a vampire, and his new clients are zombies in his thrall.
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