JCPenney Leverages Guilt With 'Doghouse' Effort

jcpenney JCPenney Company, Inc. is aiming to get younger consumers to buy diamond jewelry online at The Jewelry Store. The effort includes viral elements, a new Web site, Facebook, print ads, and a splash of guilt.

The campaign, "Beware the Doghouse," via N.Y.-based Saatchi & Saatchi and digital agency Razorfish, lets people put their spouses or partners in the proverbial "Doghouse" for bad gifting. How does one get out of the doghouse? Diamonds.

A Web site,, includes a short humorous film that features a clueless husband who is suffering a Dantean fate for having given his wife a dual-bagged vacuum cleaner for their anniversary: He is banished to the "Doghouse," wherein other hapless men are paying for their sins by folding laundry in perpetuity and learning to express their feelings as they eat out of dog bowls. The men lament the bad gifts they gave their wives or girlfriends and plot their escape.



Visitors to the site can either send a warning or put their spouse or "friend" into the "Doghouse" by simply providing the person's name and email address.

The site is also linked to Facebook, so visitors can put friends on their Facebook list in the doghouse. Once they "Doghouse" a person, women can then choose a diamond gift--one of six pieces.

Victims, meanwhile, get a "You're in the Doghouse" e-mail directing them to and explaining that they can extricate themselves from canine hell by buying the diamond jewelry that their wife/girlfriend selected directly from

A spokesperson for the Plano, Texas-based company says the effort is meant to be a pure online experience all the way to purchase. "It's hard, given the current environment, to sell luxury items, so this is an innovative way to get people to shop for affordable diamonds," he says. He added that the timing is of the essence, since "more engagements happen around the holiday season than in any other time of year."

He said once one purchases jewelry, one can either take delivery at "The Jewelry Store" within JCP or have the piece delivered.

"We have played around in the viral space, but this is first time we have used such an integrated approach for jewelry, with online banners, viral elements, blogs and film," he says. The chain has 1,093 department stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

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