Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Penney campaign flopped

One of my most controversial posts last year was the JC Penney ad for Fathers Day. See also updates here and here. This was a gay ad that was part of a gay campaign led by their new CEO. He came from Apple Computer, the gayest of the Silicon Valley companies. Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay, according to

The Penney strategy was a big failure:
You gotta figure that getting canned as CEO is bad enough, but consider former Apple store guru Ron Johnson. Just the rumor that J.C. Penney had cut him loose as CEO caused the retailer’s stock to shoot up nearly 11 percent. ...

As the Daily Finance piece pointed out, Johnson didn’t test market his ideas, instead issuing the refrain, “We didn’t test at Apple.”
The NY Times reports:
Mr. Johnson liked to tell employees that there were two kinds of people: believers and skeptics, and at Apple, there were only believers. He wanted the same at Penney: when employees pushed back on Mr. Johnson’s strategies, they got nowhere, according to several former executives. ...

“Ron’s response at the time was, just like at Apple, customers don’t always know what they want,” said an executive who advocated testing. “We’re not going to test it — we’re going to roll it out.”
Again, I don't object to Penney marketing to gays. Gays need clothes also. My gripe was about the lousy Fathers Day messages. I do not like these ideological attacks on dads.

Anyway, I hope JC Penney returns to being in the business of customer satisfaction, instead of trying to force ideologies on people.

Update: The NY Times reports:
But that was just one more bit of downbeat news in what has been a downbeat few months. All told, $290 billion has been wiped off Apple’s value since September. It might seem difficult to believe, but Apple now ranks among the biggest losers in the stock market over the last seven months, right next to the J. C. Penney Company, that sick man of American department stores. The last time Apple was trading this low was in November 2011. Steve Jobs had just died and everyone wondered how Apple would carry on without its visionary leader.


Anonymous said...

Maybe when you try marketing to a demographic group that a lot of hatred is aimed at you'll face the hatred of the haters too.

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty pathetic that nowadays to market something to someone you must first belittle their nemesis (or imagined nemesis). And whats even worse than that, is that people are grateful for it and will buy your products. I can't remember the last ad geared towards women that didn't make men out to be completely useless morons.

Anonymous said...

Most ads geared towards women don't make men out to be completely useless morons. Some of course, do just that though.