Kohl's Replaces JC Penney as Oscars Sponsor

JC Penney Held the Sponsorship for 14 Years

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Kohl's is going to the Oscars. The Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based retailer will sponsor the Academy Awards, set for Feb. 28. This is a first-time sponsorship for Kohl's, which will replace JC Penney as retail marketer at the prestigious event.

"It isn't about the glamor, it's about the human emotion of having accomplished something with the help of everyone -- that's the connection we want to create with the Oscars," said Will Setliff, exec VP-marketing at Kohl's.

After 14 years of sponsoring the event, JC Penney will be bowing out this year, a spokeswoman confirmed.

"For 14 years, the Oscars served as the advertising platform to debut our spring collection of fashion and home furnishings found only at JC Penney," the spokeswoman said. "We feel now is the appropriate time to shift our marketing efforts and look for new and innovative ways to engage and inspire our customers."

Last year, JC Penney aired seven commercials and debuted a second-screen game during the awards show. Kohl's execs declined to comment on specifics surrounding its marketing plans.

Mr. Setliff said he expects the sponsorship will help the Kohl's brand connect with its core customers, as well as attract new shoppers, including younger millennials in the 18-to 24-year-old set and Hispanics. Using the hashtag, #TheGoodStuff, Kohl's plans to have a "massive social presence" in the month leading up to the awards show. The effort will continue through the spring as Kohl's relaunches its largest private label brand, Sonoma.

"The level of engagement is through the roof during [Oscars] commercials and we want to be there with meaningful content and keep people engaged," said Mr. Setliff. He added that Kohl's will work with its primary agencies Anomaly and Huge on the push.

In recent months, the company has said it will be upping its marketing spend. In November, CFO Wesley McDonald noted on an earnings call that Kohl's planned to increase its fourth-quarter marketing by 14% over the year-earlier period.

Hosted by comedian Chris Rock, the 88th Oscars will be broadcast on ABC. Nominations for the awards will be announced Thursday morning.

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