"Our growth depends on catering to the Latina," said Lyris Leos,
director-multicultural marketing at J.C. Penney. Until now, "we
have never overtly stated and assertively made the claim that the
Latina is our brand muse."
"Because she has a higher taste level and consumes fashion at a
faster rate, our Latina woman will make J.C. Penney better as we
rebuild our brand and the goods we offer," said Debra Berman,
senior VP-marketing. "If we do right by her, we will do better with
our general-market work, as our Latina customer is increasingly
reshaping the general market."
Hispanics make up 9% of J.C. Penney's customer base and account
for a double-digit percentage of store sales, in addition to a
single-digit percentage of online sales. The segment is expected to
be the single-biggest source of growth for the retailer in
That recognition has sparked big changes.
Internally, J.C. Penney has done away with its dedicated
Hispanic marketing group, embedding those execs into existing
marketing groups and hiring new talent. It's added Havas to its
roster, which already includes Grupo Gallegos. And recently it introduced a
new, inclusive tagline, "when it fits, you feel it."
J.C. Penney is also getting a better handle on the demographic
through a new Hispanic Facebook page and a revamped rewards
program. It's rolled out two lines of cookware targeting Hispanics
-- Simplemente Delicioso and IMUSA -- and more products could be on
Bilingual signature returns
The retailer has also updated its list of Hispanic-designated
stores -- now more than 180 -- which are defined as stores in areas
that have twice the national average of Hispanics or stores where
sales from that demographic are higher than average. In those
stores, bilingual associates are identified; Latin music is mixed
in with popular tunes; and bilingual signage, a casualty under
former CEO Ron Johnson, is being reintroduced.
As of 2012, the most recent year for which data is available,
J.C. Penney ranked No. 32 on Ad Age's list of top spenders in
Hispanic media, spending $43 million. J.C. Penney ranked fifth
among retailers, behind Walmart, Sears, Home Depot and
With the coming World Cup, J.C. Penney is looking to stand out
by speaking to women in a typically male-dominated environment. Ms.
Leos, citing a Nielsen study, said that more Hispanic women watch
World Cup than non-Hispanic men. She described that realization as
a "breakthrough moment."
The campaign includes two 30-second spots that will air during
each of the tournament's 56 games on TV, as well as online. There
have also been integrations with the Univision morning show
"Despierta America," which began in early May.
In the TV spot "Pulse," set to launch this week from Grupo
Gallegos, Latina women are shown cheering for their teams, decked
out in outfits that coordinate with their teams' national colors.
The voice-over translates to "our colors are tattooed on our
souls." The voice-over also says, "Soccer is for girls," emphasis
on the "is," added Ms. Leos.
"We wanted to give her something that was hers," Ms. Leos said
of the decision to not create a general-market TV campaign, though
some social-media content will be adapted for a general audience.
"We wanted to make a big, concentrated splash in the Latino
According to YouGov BrandIndex, the plan seems to be working.
While J.C. Penney has always been in Hispanic women's consideration
set, along with Kohl's and Macy's, it
has seen a bounce in perception during the last two weeks.
"Clearly, something from J.C. Penney has caught the attention of
Hispanic women," a YouGov spokesman said.