JC Penney Takes Wraps Off First Work From Badger & Winters

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Just two months after awarding its creative business to New York-based Badger & Winters, JC Penney is debuting a new tagline and creative campaign. The Plano, Texas-based retailer is now pushing a "Style and value for all" message in its all of its marketing.

Marci Grebstein, who joined JC Penney as chief marketing officer last year, says that the company researched consumer perception of the 116-year-old brand and found that many shoppers did not think of JC Penney as a fashion destination.

"While we really stood out in the value play, we ran short on style and inspiration," says Grebstein. "We need to explain to her that it's both."

The new tagline is a departure from JC Penney's previous messaging, "Get Your Penney's Worth," which it has been running for roughly two years under previous agency McGarryBowen.

The new work began airing this week. In a 30-second TV spot, "Sister Style," one sister gives another a style pep talk. Two additional broadcast spots, one 15-second commercial and another 30-second video, will air in the coming weeks. A social media hashtag #AllAtJCP will supplement the effort on the digital front, while JC Penney will also highlight its successful Sephora shops in the push as well.

JC Penney is switching up its marketing mix at a time when it's still struggling to attract sales. Unlike competitor Kohl's, JC Penney's holiday sales season missed analyst expectations. The chain, which has around 1,000 stores, reported fourth-quarter revenue of $4 billion, a 1.8 percent rise over the year-earlier period, and a comparable sales increase of 2.6 percent. While the company is laying off around 360 employees, including at its headquarters, none of them are in the marketing department, Grebstein says.

Along with running a fresh tagline, JC Penney will also work to ensure that marketing is inclusive in both ethnicity and body diversity. Badger & Winters' has a reputation as a creative shop focused on purpose and inclusivity.

"Today's modern American mom, she wants to clearly see people like her in our marketing, our executions," says Grebstein. The chain already has mannequins that are all shapes and sizes.

The budget for this year's marketing is roughly the same as last year's, according to Grebstein. In 2016, the company spent around $300 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

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