In the ongoing Shakespearian tragedy that is the marketing saga of the JC Penney company (see my March 1 post), a new ad I saw last night is truly breaking new ground in the industry. As you must know by now, in an epic market, well, kerfuffle is too kind a word (2 billion lost sales or something, whacked C.E.O., zillions out of work, head of Apple Stores brought low, etc.) this department store chain has finally done something creative. They have apologized for their boneheaded marketing thinking and are begging people to come back to their stores. On TV.
I couldn’t believe it. As a student of the business, this is like the discovery of a new species of lilac is to a botanist. Why?
Where other companies have used the “we F-d up” copy strategy recently — most notably Dominos coming out and saying they were making cardboard pizzas with traces of poison in them, or something like that — those were usually unintended screw ups they were apologizing for. Or, as your four year old might say, “It was an accident!!! It’s not my fault!!”
Where Penney takes this to a whole other level is where they say — “we did it, we thought we were being smart but we were being STUPIDO.” And then, they top it by BEGGING people to come back and see them.
And, as an extra dollop of pitiful, they do all this with a slew of images from the previous commercials that put them in all this trouble in the first place. So, if those people who hated the ads in the first place just happened to see them without paying too much attention — THEY’D THINK THEY WERE SEEING THEM AGAIN!!!
Maybe they should have just shown a shot of a broken vase with a kid sucking his thumb.