The very best advice about advertising is: if you have something important to say, just say it. If you don't, sing it. So it distresses me when I see advertising that says nothing, for a brand that really has something to say. And in the case of JC Penny, I mean, literally nothing.
JC Penny has been an important retailer for more than 110 years. So when Penney totally changes its retail policy to everyday-low-price, that's the brand's biggest news in more than a century. So what do they do? Announce the new policy with a series of women screaming as loud as they can. They don't say anything. Just scream.
A later spot with kids has sweet music and NO words at all. Not even a scream. Every rookie advertising writer creates one commercial in which nobody speaks. None ever does it twice.
Penney's latest wave of funny spots with Ellen DeGeneres obliquely make the point about its new policy. But barely. All this is accompanied by a new logo that doesn't say JC Penney.
When you have something important to say, people really will listen. Penney's does. So the new, handsome, young JC Penny CEO, Ron Johnson, should have gone on TV and just said it.
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