American as Banjos, Polo Shirts

Robert Plant, Alison Krauss Score J.C. Penney's American Living Campaign

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J.C. Penney is banking on Led Zeppelin icon Robert Plant and country queen Alison Krauss to invoke Americana in its new campaign. The duo are lending the song "Killing the Blues" from their new album "Raising Sand" to the American Living debut, which is the biggest brand launch in J.C. Penney's history.
The mellow, lilting tune provides the perfect backdrop for the classically American scenes. Think amber waves of grain, one stoplight towns and sailboats bobbing in the wind. Mike Boylson, exec VP-chief marketing officer at J.C. Penney, said that the music is key to connecting with consumers. "Music is unbelievably critical," he said. "It's a powerful emotional connector."

The commercials will debut later this week during the Academy Awards. In addition to broad television distribution, they will also be shown during spring previews of PG and PG-13 movies.

Global Brand Concepts, a division of Polo Ralph Lauren and the creators of American Living, tapped "Killing the Blues" for the campaign. "They went out and were looking for music that was uniquely suited to the brand," Mr. Boylson said. "One of things you say is, 'What music describes this brand?' That's how we arrived at Robert Plant and Alison Krauss."

Following the launch of the campaign, five percent of every qualifying iTunes download of "Killing the Blues" will be donated to the J.C. Penney Afterschool Fund.