JCPenney Goes Back to School WIth Private Brand

Plano, Texas based department store retailer JCPenney today launched “New look. New year. Who knew!,” an innovative, integrated marketing campaign for the 2010 Back-to-School season. When it comes to marketing to teens, JCPenney has always led the way with cutting edge, creative marketing and this Back-to-School season is no different. Underscoring JCPenney’s position as the national Back-to-School fashion headquarters, this year’s campaign combines traditional marketing initiatives with the latest digital, social and mobile experiences – from haul videos and augmented reality to mobile iAds – while inviting teens to discover JCPenney as a destination for affordable style.

“Personalization and self-expression are important to teens and they want their look to reflect their unique personalities and style. And for teens, there is no better time to put their best fashion forward than Back-to-School,” said Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for JCPenney. “Our campaign will solidify JCPenney’s leadership as a fashion-forward destination for creating complete head-to-toe looks. Using an array of innovative interactive and user-generated content, our Back-to-School marketing encourages teens to take control and discover our extensive assortment of exciting styles and brands at affordable prices.”

JCPenney offers a variety of lifestyle options and is a one-stop-shop for all teen style needs from apparel and accessories to beauty with the Company’s Sephora inside JCPenney concept. Underscoring JCPenney’s leadership at the No. 1 department store in the mall for teens, the campaign will highlight JCPenney’s assortment of private, exclusive and national brands such as The Original Arizona Jean Company, Levi’s, Decree, City Streets, RS by Sheckler, Olsenboye, Rusty, Vans, Ditch Plains and Converse as well as new brands this season – Uproar, Supergirl by Nastia and Zoo York. Additionally, JCPenney continues to be a leading destination for denim, special sizes and school uniforms – all key categories for the Back-to-School season.

“New look. New year. Who knew!” Integrated Marketing Campaign:
Created with agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi New York and Razorfish, JCPenney’s “New look. New year. Who knew!” marketing campaign incorporates an integrated series of online and offline innovative marketing elements to connect with teens this Back-to-School season, while highlighting the Company’s extensive fashion assortment:

  • JCPenney’s extensive TV and in-cinema campaign will feature students taking over school picture day with their own high-energy fashion shoot as they model the latest head-to-toe looks and styles from JCPenney. JCPenney’s impromptu fashion shoot theme will continue with national print ads in Teen Vogue, Seventeen and People StyleWatch.

  • A Juniors experience on will feature “hauls” – the new viral phenomenon in which teens show off their recent shopping purchases through short product review videos posted online – with videos featuring real teens showcasing their JCPenney shopping finds. Teen girls can also view JCPenney’s fashion assortment – including the daily Top 10 favorite items voted on by visitors to the Juniors Back-to-School online experience – and create a virtual styleboard that can be e-mailed to friends. In addition,’s Young Men’s and Children’s interactive experiences will feature a horizontal scroll, allowing users to easily browse head-to-toe looks. The Young Men’s experience will also link visitors to a behind-the-scenes video of JCPenney’s Back-to-School broadcast spot, highlighting the season’s must-have trends.
  • As part of JCPenney’s Back-to-School promotion with Seventeen magazine, JCPenney will be the exclusive retailer for its augmented reality experience on, which is part of the Hearst Magazines Digital Media network of sites. Through the view of a web cam,’s augmented reality experience will simulate JCPenney merchandise items into a real world environment, allowing users to virtually try on an item, then link to for purchase. The application was developed in conjunction with Metaio a pioneer in the area of augmented reality (AR) technology.
  • Along with its iPhone app and mobile coupons, JCPenney continues to be a leader in the mobile space, bringing its signature style and affordable prices directly to teens’ fingertips with a special Back-to-School WAP site ( This mobile hub includes JCPenney’s Back-to-School TV spot and “hauls”; an opportunity to opt-in and receive weekly texts on the latest Back-to-School looks; view Back-to-School styles and even upload their own look, which can be voted on and shared with friends. JCPenney will also be one of a select group of companies to begin marketing to consumers through Apple’s new iAd concept with the launch of an interactive Back-to-School ad that will appear when iPhone and iPod Touch customers use an app on their device.
  • JCPenney-branded digital experiences and display media will be featured on popular teen sites, including an exclusive retail sponsorship with Cambio, which brings teens closer to their favorite celebrities and content through exclusive groundbreaking, original programming. Beginning July 27, teens visiting the site can view JCPenney’s Back-to-School broadcast spot, learn about hot looks from stars and their stylists in the show Cambio Style, and even enter for a chance to attend a Jonas Brothers concert.
  • JCPenney will bring its action-meets-fashion brand experience directly to customers in local markets this Back-to-School season. The Company will showcase its exclusive brand Supergirl by Nastia through the sponsorship of the Supergirl Jam – the industry’s only large-scale, all girls action sports competition, which will include appearances by Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin and additional top female action sports athletes. JCPenney will also showcase exclusive brand RS by Sheckler and national brand Zoo York through its sponsorship of the Dew Tour, which features Ryan Sheckler, Chaz Ortiz and other renowned skate superstars in a multi-city action sports competition. Each tour will include radio, TV, Internet and e-mail support along with personal appearances by Nastia Liukin and Ryan Sheckler in JCPenney stores across the country.
  • During the Back-to-School period, “fans” of JCPenney’s robust and rapidly growing teen Facebook page, “JCP Teen”, will be able to view the Company’s Back-to-School broadcast spot as well as other special content to keep up-to-date on the latest trends, events and contests from JCPenney.
  • JCPenney will also adapt its Back-to-School TV spot for the Hispanic market, with the spot premiering on Univision during JCPenney’s sponsorship of Premios Juventud – the largest Hispanic music awards show in the U.S. – and later during the Company’s sponsorship of Miss Universe. Additionally, in conjunction with the popular International Secret Agents (ISA) concert – which seeks to showcase the brightest and premier young talent among Asians and Asian Americans — JCPenney will host an online contest, providing teens an opportunity to upload a video to YouTube to showcase their unique talents. The most talented performer – chosen through popular vote – will be awarded a JCPenney gift card and provided an opportunity to perform in ISA concerts in Los Angeles and New York.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.