business news in context, analysis with attitude

Advertising Age reports that less than two weeks after JC Penney began running commercials apologizing for making changes that many of its customers did not like, and promising to do a better job listening to shoppers, it now is running a commercial that thanks customers for coming back to the retailer.

That's right. The turnaround only took two weeks.

The commercials are a response to the misguided - or, at the very least, badly implemented - strategy developed by former Apple Stores chief Ron Johnson, who was hired by JC Penney to rejuvenate the company. Johnson's approach was to eliminate the specials and coupons driven marketing plan and go to EDLP; that resulted in plummeting sales, profits and customer traffic, which then resulted in Johnson being fired and replaced by his predecessor, Myron Ullman III.
KC's View:
It seems to me that while JC Penney is trying to make a big deal out of the fact that it is listening to customers, the fact that it has followed up its "please forgive us" ad so quickly with a "thanks for coming back" ad suggests that this is all part of an advertising strategy that has nothing to do with listening, and everything to do with trying to control the message.

It is a crock.

And if JCP's board thinks that this is the way to be nimble, relevant and vibrant in the 21st century, it is delusional.