Middle America is Not Ashamed!

J. C. Penney is opening in New York! For three weeks, anyway.

Pat Kiernan pointed out this article in USA Today on his In the Papers segment this morning.

The once-flagging retailer wants to update its image, so a giant marketing campaign (remember when Target did this over Christmas?) is underway. They’re pumping marketing and advertising dollars into the Oscars, and they are opening a pop-up store in New York.

The goal is to change America’s view of J.C. Penney as a grandmotherly place that has sensible, moderately priced clothes and home goods — but that sells nothing as trendy as you’d find at a specialty store. The ad campaign highlights new, exclusive designer apparel, private labels and updated home furnishings.

But they are in tricky cultural terrain.

Says Boylson: “I don’t want to leave the impression that we’re going upscale — because we’re not.”
Adds Chairman and CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman: “We are not ashamed of Middle America.”

So where does a retailer set up a store to tell the world they’re sophisticated enough to visit New York but too good to live there? Times Square!

And whom do you give the exclusive to? USA Today!

Watch the slide-show of the ten-day popping-up of Penney here.

- Tom McGeveran