Last night I had the most amazing JCP moment ever. First, over dinner, my wife tells me that she and her friend happened to wander through the JCPenney at Great Northern and “the new renovation they started a year or so ago really looks great now. And did you know they have a Sephora store in the store?”
I reminded her that these are the results of the changes Ron Johnson started, not the work of Myron Ullman. “The Apple guy they fired?” she asked. Yes, the Apple guy they fired.
Then, a few hours later, I noticed a new JC Penney TV ad, some Valentine’s Day spot from Y&R Group. Nothing special, nothing provocative, nothing even worth noticing… until the tagline pops up: WHEN IT FITS, YOU FEEL IT.
I mean really. Really? When it fits, you feel it? Seriously? When what fits? I get that clothes fit and shoes fit. And I guess you could stretch and say that curtains fit and picture frames fit… I guess. But what about vacuum cleaners and blenders and clocks and perfume and make-up? And what it is I feel?
No kidding, coming from a retail brand that is under the microscope, this may be the most nonsensical, non-branded message I’ve ever seen. Extraordinarily ridiculous. Exceptionally pointless. Classic Ullman-era. Just throwing stuff against the wall and waiting to see if anything sticks.
Meanwhile, as the media recently reported: “Shares of the struggling department store on Tuesday tumbled to their lowest levels in half a century, despite the retailer’s positive spin that it reported a rise in fourth-quarter sales.”
If anyone is listening (Ullman, JCP board of Directors, Y&R Group) pick a strategy that makes sense and stick with it for more than 12 months without pulling the plug. In case you were wondering, I’m pretty sure Ron Johnson is still gainfully unemployed.