Too Soon? JC Penney Ad Thanks Consumers for Coming Back

Spot Comes Two Weeks After Public Apology for Its Marketing Moves Under Ron Johnson

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Two weeks ago -- in the wake of Ron Johnson's ouster as JC Penney CEO and Myron Ullman's return -- JC Penney apologized to customers. The apology ad it released marked a bold admission that the retailer had failed in its turnaround efforts and went too far afield from its heritage. But now the retailer is declaring victory with a spot thanking consumers for returning to stores.

The spot, from JC Penney's new agency of record, Y&R, began making the rounds Monday after it was posted to the company's Facebook page. But it was first posted on YouTube on Mother's Day, and seems aimed directly at moms.

The spot depicts pretty, muted images of moms spending time with their kids, and families enjoying each others company. A voice-over declares: "At JCPenney, we never stop being amazed by you. How you work so hard without looking like you do. How you make every dollar stretch so far and keep your family so close." It closes with: "We're happy to say you've come back to us. Thank you."

There's little doubt JCP has been working to undo all the decisions made under Mr. Johnson's leadership. The retailer brought in a new ad agency, reinstated coupons and sales and heralded the return of its St. John's Bay brand. It also scored points with consumers via the #JCPlistens hashtag on Twitter and with its posts on Facebook.

JCP representatives didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

JC Penney reported a $4.3 billion drop in sales, to $13.0 billion, for 2012.

The chain will report results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 on May 16, and more details on its turnaround efforts are likely to be addressed then. In advance of the call, JC Penney already said it anticipates a sales decrease of more than 16% to $2.64 billion from the year-earlier period, and a same-store sales decrease of 16.6%. The retailer attributed the decrease to its prior sales and marketing strategies and expenses related to remodeling the home departments in some 500 stores.

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