JC Penney Steps Up Its Quest For Teens
JC Penney wants a big bite of America's back-to-school bucks, and has unleashed its latest teen marketing in kids' favorite places - Facebook, movie theaters, concerts, cell phones and TV.
Themed "Schooled in Style: Smart Looks for Less," the company hopes to win over kids who are looking for sizzle, but stuck with the constraints of their parents' wallets. "We want our customers - both from the teen perspective and their parents'-- to feel like they can still afford great style and quality, despite what's going on with the economy," Ruby Anik, SVP/director of brand marketing for the Plano, Texas-based retailer, tells Marketing Daily. "We've really stepped up our style in the last two years, and added great exclusive brands, as well as national brands like Levi's. The 'Smart looks for less' tagline really says it all."
The new campaign comes at a time when spending for apparel is contracting, and many marketers are worried that this year's back-to-school spending will fall short of the last year's $7.6 billion.
While JC Penney - along with other department stores, including Macy's and Kohl's -- has been struggling with declining sales for months now, last week it said that June 8.2% decline in comparable-store sales was actually above expectations, and increased its forecast for second-quarter earnings.
And there are clear signs that teens are as eager to find value as their parents are. While Abercrombie & Fitch, among the highest end of teen outfitters, has suffered steep declines (a 30% nosedive in June and 25% swoon in May), the budget-friendly Aeropostale has been gaining share, and registered a 12% jump in June and 19% increase in May.
One spot, called "Lunchroom Runway," features a bunch of high-school students turning the cafeteria into a fashion show, until a stern-looking cafeteria lady shuts them down, and showcases such brands as Rusty, Third Rail a Zoo York Production and Decree. Music is from Hockey, an up-and-coming indie band. Another spot highlights new brand RS By Sheckler, and includes a montage of Ryan Sheckler's skateboarding prowess. (Penney is sponsoring tours for both acts.)
"We really wanted the campaign to be holistic, and reach kids where they live," she says, with the cinema spots scheduled to break with the new Harry Potter movie, and a mobile component, which includes texting teens special offers, as well clues for a scavenger hunt, with tickets to Hockey concerts as prizes.
The campaign also includes Hispanic TV, an increasingly important target. (The U.S. Census Bureau reports that of the 56 million kids headed to school this fall in grades K through 12, 7.9 million of them speak Spanish at home.)
The campaign was created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York, T3 and Razorfish.