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2012 marketing strategy for JCPenney

Updated on October 4, 2012

The 2012 launch of JCPenney's marketing strategy is turning heads. The American retail chain's new strategy is designed to boost sales and increase customer familiarity with JCP. JCPenney sells merchandise for the home, clothing and more. The company has over 1,000 stores across the 50 states and an active shopping website.

Logo for 1971-2010


Corporate Logo


JCPenney’s logo has changed multiple times since the company's first catalogue under the name of Penneys in 1963. The first JCPenney logo was used in 1971 and continued for a long time, until 2011. The logo was simple, with the company name as its focal point in solid lettering.


In 2011, the company replaced the design with a more informal logo of all lowercase letters and adding in the side red box. The logo urged consumers to use the nickname of “jcp” for the company and was more casual than the previous one.

Company Logo for 2011


2012 Logo

The current JCP logo
The current JCP logo | Source


The JCPenney logo unveiled in January 2012 is simple yet striking in design. The logo only uses the JCP initials rather than the full title of the previous logos. The colors conjure up images of the US flag. The squares embedded in the logo also fit into JCPenney’s “Fair and Square Pricing” tactics.

Pricing Strategy

JCPenney has a new pricing initiative with the title “Fair and Square Pricing”. The company steps away using coupons in 2012 and instead focuses on providing fair prices each day for its items.

Besides the everyday prices, JCP offers prices that last for an entire month on particular products and discount prices on two Fridays of each month.

Ironically, JCP is paying out less for the 2012 marketing methods than in previous years. Greg Clark, senior Vice President of Creative Marketing for JC Penney, says,

  • "Now, the media spend is more impactful, very aggressive and not spread so thin."

Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres is the current JCP spokesperson.
DeGeneres is the current JCP spokesperson. | Source


When JCP hired comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as the official spokesperson, they likely did not foresee the negative reaction.

The group One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, was upset by the new role of Ellen DeGeneres. The group said,

  • "Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families…"

DeGeneres remains the spokesperson of the company. CEO Ron Johnson explains the decision to select her as the representative,

  • "I think Ellen is someone we all trust. She's lovable, likable, honest, and funny, but at her soul, we trust her."

DeGeneres appears in television ads as well as advertising the company on her own TV show. DeGeneres is a former JCPenney employee.

JCPenney has a new approach to marketing. The new strategy includes changes to its corporate logo, pricing strategy and a new spokesperson. The new presentation of the company freshens up its image and provides honesty in pricing. Look for sales reports from JCP to show the level of effectiveness of the strategy.


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    • emilybee profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice article, Christy! I had taken a break from HP and wanted to check out your new hubs! Ironically, I was laid off from JCP in December after being there for only seven months. Most definitely they are experiencing serious changes, and from my perspective, many negative changes. The JCP at the busy mall I was working at definitely is not getting the traffic it should be. Sad though because it used to be my favorite store!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Glad to update you on the changes Jackie. Have a great weekend!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very interesting info. I knew about Ellen and all that but I didn't know about the name change, or logo. I bought almost all my maternity and baby clothes at Penny's and I wish I had one near me now.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank-you everyone for the comments here. I see from your reactions much of what shoppers as a whole seem to be feeling - mixed reactions about the changes! While change in general can be difficult, there is good and bad points stated by shoppers about the 2012 campaign. Will be interesting to see what the numbers say in another year for the company.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I will track this for sure. It seems that their marketing has allowed them to meet the trends. They were dormant for so long. Their contracting celebrities and Martha Stewart has helped as well. Voted up and sharing.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I have been a JCP customer since I was a kid. It runs in our family mainly because they have some of everything for low prices. While I am in the young adult demographic, I don't usually go for stores that try to be hip and on the cutting edge as much as stores that offer good bargains. The redesign of the ad campaign wasn't a problem but I severely dislike how they have rearranged the store and their pricing. It's confusing whereas before you could just take your coupon in and find the sales items no problem. I don't think it's working but I think they're going to have to figure that out themselves.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is interesting because I have a credit card from this co. and have really noticed the changes and marketing strategies. Plus, they've really beefed up their customer service in the store. Rated up/I

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 

      5 years ago from Southern California

      Ron Johnson will get his parachute pulled, as he made a serious mistake.

      The logo is also stupid.

      Ellen is not a great choice for a national chain.

      JC Penney will be bought out by Target.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What great feedback you all have left me here! Thanks everyone for the information, positive and negative, about the company and your personal experiences with JCP. I think their customer base is shifting and they are trying to find what works in today's troubled economy. With mixed impressions, it will be interesting to see how sales are influenced by the recent changes. Stay tuned...

    • rcrumple profile image


      5 years ago from Kentucky

      Christy - Have read of the marketing campaign. Some say it's working, others say it isn't. I have also read that JCP is one of the ten worse places to work in the United States due to pay, benefits, and expected hours. I remember growing up with Penney's in the 60's. They were above the common dime store at that time as they specialized in clothes and shoes. They've changed so much over the years, I can only think of one time I visited them. It was for some sports coats. When I found they no longer did alterations, I put the jackets back on the racks and left. Probably won't go back. Great article!

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 

      5 years ago from Southern California

      Maybe the change should have been to a rainbow instead of red.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting read Christy; I knew nothing about this, but with no tv that isn't surprising. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I read about the new pricing strategy eight months ago and asked a question on HP--if members thought it would be effective. There were varied answers, but the one that struck me as most on target was that, rather than being a strategy, the new pricing was a tactic to try and keep this long-time retail store open in the days of so much online buying.

      Years ago, I was a regular JCPenney customer. For the past seven years, I've done most of my shopping online--from Amazon, Overstock, smartbargains, etsy, ebay, etc. I rarely set foot inside a bricks-and-mortar department store. My reason is limited mobility, but more and more people are shopping online these days. In most cases there are bargains to be found, there is no sales tax and shipping may be discounted or even free. It's shipped right to your door with no need to fight traffic or walk through a mall or store. This is hurting a lot of local retail businesses.

      With a struggling economy and so many people looking for--actually, needing--bargains when they shop, I can't see this new pricing strategy being successful for JCP. If customers (like moonlake) see the same item for a lower price and with coupons available at another store, it doesn't take a marketing degree to realize which they will choose.

      JCP has been almost an institution in the U.S. as far back as I can remember. I hope the company's top execs are watching results carefully and are ready to back-track on the pricing tactic if necessary. When something doesn't work, it should be shelved--asap! Remember Classic Coke? Enough said.

      As for the "Million Moms" and their nasty remark, they had no right to use the phrase "traditional families", since their group can't speak for all families or customers who have shopped at JCP. They should have said, "biased, intolerant customers", instead, because that's what they meant and what they are. I'm glad JCP's management didn't back down on Ellen as their spokesperson. (I didn't know she was once a JCPenny employee in her pre-entertainment life.)

      As for the new logo--sorry, I just don't like it. It's actually confusing if you haven't seen it before or read/heard about the new logo. If someone is looking for Penney's (which is what most people called it when I was younger, rather than saying 'JC Penney'), a sign that reads 'JCP' is not going to register as that store. I do not believe that change-merely-for-the-sake-of-change works very often. They could have changed the colors to add blue while leaving the word "Penney" on the logo. That would have updated the logo while keeping the store brand visible.

      I do hope JCPenney survives. It will be sad to lose this venerable company if they go under.

      Voted Up+


      P.S. Maybe you should send a link to this hub and the comments to the VP of Marketing at JCPenney! He or she may need the feedback. LOL

    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      A friend works for Kohl's and she said they were told that they fired all the people who came up with the new selling idea at J C Penneys. Once they took coupons away and having sales people stopped shopping at Penneys. She said their Penneys store was closed. She was surprised to see we still had ours. We have two dept. stores in our town Penneys and Kohls. I always shopped in Penneys now I walk in there and I see nothing I like. They have changed the clothing. I have not been in there in over a month. Last time I went I walked through and walked out. I wanted Levi jeans for my husband 42.00 in Penneys and 36.00 in Kohls with coupons. People aren't going in there. The parking lot is empty in front of the store. I think it's really to bad what they did to it.

      I heard about the Ellen remarks and I think that is awful. I think Ellen is a good spokesperson for the company.

      I don't think that is why their losing business here. I think it's pricing strategy that's killing them.

      Great hub voted uP and shared.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Well, I'm not crazy about the newest logo idea; it just feels weird to look at. I think it's the blue. I definitely prefer the previous red and white.

      The Milliom Moms' commenter seems to be missing the point. JCP isn't going ofter the old, conservative demographic, and that's why they chose Ellen: to branch out. And do the haters really think JCP execs sat around and said, "oooh...let's get some gay person to be our new spokesperson!" if that was the determining factor? They chose her because she's popular and funny and sure to draw interest.

      I think it's a great move, and I can't wait for the day when the whole world will look back on comments like those and just shake their heads in embarrassment.

      Good for Ellen. Good for JCP.

      Voted up and shared on FB and elsewhere...

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 years ago from New York, New York

      Christy, I did know a bit about their new marketing strategy, because I have gotten e-mails from the CEO (having been a customer of the store in the past), but I didn't realize the backlash of Ellen being spokesperson for them. Really just ridiculous and again still such prejudices have to exist in this day and age. Thanks for sharing and have of course voted and shared all over too!!


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