JCPenney's complete store in Facebook: that thing's operational!

By David Kiefaber on Wed Dec 15 2010


JCPenney's decision to build a complete online store within Facebook, where you can not just browse products but buy them too, is as sinister as it is gimmicky. The benefits for the department store are twofold: more sales driven by product visibility in people's news feeds, and more information about its customers. Said information includes their age, taste in products and how often/where they browse, all of which "can be aggregated into analytical data," according to Usable spokesperson Jason Taylor. (Usable built Penny's Facebook storefront.) Other companies—Proctor & Gamble, 1-800-Flowers, etc.—have product catalogs on Facebook, but Penney has outdone them all. At what cost, though? Facebook is the last place I'd want my credit-card information stored (I don't even have my last name on my profile), and this move just further exposes Facebook as a two-way mirror through which marketers and employers spy on the layfolk. None of which matters much to Penney at this point, and I suspect sales will increase simply because they got here before everyone else did. But they're a little too high on their chances of sustaining it once hipper stores climb aboard.

JCPenney helps teens put together post-shopping 'haul' videos

By Elaine Wong on Wed Jul 14 2010

The latest concept to hit back-to-school retail marketing involves "hauls," which are homemade videos created by teens showing off the results of a shopping spree. As USA Today reports, some of the retailers jumping onto the action include stores like Forever 21, American Eagle and department store JCPenney. Penney, which today also announced an augmented reality back-to-school tie-in with teen magazine Seventeen, recruited six social-media-savvy teens to show off their fabulous fashion finds. In this video, teenage hauler Annie St. John dishes on her "clearance section finds." A "super, super comfy" Arizona baseball T-shirt is $3.57, while a Decree vintage high-waist skirt is just $10.20. (Annie also serves up some tips for layering and piecing together the latter.) To avoid the FTC's ire, haulers like Annie also disclose any monetary or gift compensations they received from advertisers. (Penney's haulers, in this case, get free gift cards and housing near a JCPenney store.) Hey, better to be safe than to be sorry! Now we're off to videotape our own haul find.

Herald Square subway stop filled with happy JCPenney shoppers

Posted on Fri Nov 13 2009


It's not often you see joyful people in New York's Herald Square subway station. That's why JCPenney's new ads caught my attention on the way to work this week. The ads are part of the retail giant's holiday "Joy of Giving" campaign and tout the JCPenney store on 33rd Street and 6th Avenue, which opened thsi summer. JCPenney clearly wanted to make the most impact in the corridors that connect the subway lines with a mix of bright red posters and life-size images of people wearing the retailer's clothes and lugging its shopping bags. Despite being pretty invasive (you really can't escape the holiday cheer), the happy JCPenney posters are at least more pleasant to look at than the usual drab walls and graffiti. As for promoting the new Herald Square location, I think the ads might do better with tourists than New Yorkers, who are usually too busy texting and shoving people out of the way to read the fine print.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

'The New York Times' hates JCPenney more and more every day

Posted on Mon Aug 24 2009


Right-wingers have held for some time that The New York Times hates real Americans. But here's some proof that the paper hates real large ones: On Aug. 11, the paper's Style section ran a sneering piece by Cintra Wilson that questioned why the "dowdy" JCPenney would dare open a store in Midtown Manhattan. Here, it's worth quoting from the piece at length: "JCPenney has always trafficked in knockoffs that aren't quite up to Canal Street's illegal standards. It was never 'Get the look for less' so much as 'Get something vaguely shaped like the designer thing you want, but cut much more conservatively, made in all-petroleum materials, and with a too-similar wannabe logo that announces your inferiority to evil classmates as surely as if you were cursed to be followed around by a tuba section.' " As a coup de grace, Wilson noted that she had a hard time finding a size 2 on the racks, though there were abundant 10, 12 and 16s. Wilson's story got such a strong negative reaction that the Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, felt compelled to respond yesterday, citing an official apology from Wilson and feedback from executive editor Bill Keller, who said he wished the paper never ran the story. The Times, however, had better hope JCPenney didn't read yesterday's Week in Review section. Right after Hoyt's column, an op-ed by Porochista Khapour about Thirtysomething contrasted the pleated pants and Ivy League sweatshirts the characters sported on the show to what her Iranian parents wore. "My parents," she writes, "overdressed, fallen aristocrats still holding on to their ’70s-best, spiked with ever more sore-thumbish Kmart and JCPenney additions, totally fell short."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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