J.C. Penney ad apologizes to customers

NEW YORK — J.C. Penney is sorry and it wants your business back.

That’s the gist of its latest ad, a public “mea culpa” which the mid-priced department-store put on its YouTube and Facebook pages.

The ad, titled “It’s no secret,” shows shots of women working, playing with their children and doing other everyday activities.

“Recently J.C. Penney changed,” a voiceover states. “Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you.”

The ad comes after the Plano, Texas-based company last month fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, after 17 months on the job and rehired his predecessor Mike Ullman

Johnson’s ambitious changes included getting rid of most sales and bringing in new, hip brands. The strategy was designed to attract younger, wealthier shoppers in a bid to reinvent the stodgy retailer, but it alienated Penney’s loyal customers and caused sales to plummet.

The ad acknowledges the missteps and asks customers to return to its stores.

“Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you, now we’d love to see you,” the voice-over states.

The TV spot is in contrast with the chain’s “fair and square” advertising campaign that accompanied Johnson’s revamp. Those ads were colorful and whimsical and did not give specifics about products. In one spot, a dog jumped through a hula hoop held by a little girl. The text read: “No more jumping through hoops. No coupon clipping. No door busting. Just great prices from the start.”

The new spot buys the company some time, but the hard part is next: telling customers what specific changes they’re making, said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York.

“When you are in a freefall, you sometimes need to call a time out and say, `Wait a second. We’re going to get this under control,”’ he said. “The answer may be further down the road as to why they come back.”

J.C. Penney Media Relations Director Daphne Avila said the idea for the ad began several months ago after an “extensive” review of customer feedback.

“We want to give customers our assurance that what they loved about J.C. Penney — trusted brands, great style and affordable prices — will be inherent to every shopping experience,” she said.

Shares fell 23 cents to $16.19 in afternoon trading. They have traded in a 52-week range of $13.55 to $36.27.

More in Herald Business Journal

Stocks tumble on trade fears; SP has worst week in 2 years

A trade war could damage the global economy and slash profits at big U.S. exporters like Boeing.

Somers sees Paine Field as focal point of a thriving county

In an annual speech, he also acknowledged challenges such as opioid addiction, crime and homelessness.

Housing boom in Puget Sound region missing crucial element: Condos

Developers are only building high-end condos where there’s enough margins to cover potential litigation.

Costco is considering building store in Lake Stevens

The Issaquah-based chain is doing due diligence on the property, which is mostly owned by the city.

Will thousands of new apartments in Snohomish County mean lower rents?

Experts debate the meaning of a recent price drop, one of the biggest decreases in more than a decade.

Toys R Us liquidation sale: Here’s what you need to know

Customers with items on layaway will have 21 days to pay the remaining amount or ask for a refund.

This book shows us the value of a questioning mind

“Ten Great Ideas About Chance” contains not only ideas but questions that prompted their discovery.

United gives $10,000 travel voucher to ‘bumped’ passenger

But the airline drew the line at letting her into one of its airport lounges.

Can Zuckerberg’s media blitz take the pressure off Facebook?

The generally reclusive CEO sat for an interview on CNN and gave another to the publication Wired.

Most Read