JC Penney Launches Back-to-School Ads

NEW YORK JC Penney on Sunday launches its back-to-school campaign with an “All Access” theme that puts consumers in direct contact with merchandise and events for what has become the second-biggest selling season of the year, after the holidays, for the retailer.

The effort, via Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago, includes two 30-second TV spots, one targeting teens and one for younger kids. JC Penney’s popular bobblehead dude from 2004 reappears in the spots and in print ads, point-of-purchase and a new back-to-school Web site, www.JCPallaccess.com.

This season’s campaign takes a backstage-pass theme and connects it to kids having access to JC Penney’s apparel, dorm decor, smart prices and events. The commercials will air on network and cable stations, including MTV, through Labor Day.

The budget was not disclosed. JC Penney spent $50 million on ads in July and August last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Also, on July 24 JC Penney will kick off interactive dance competitions with Seventeen and Cosmo Girl in five strategic markets.

The competitions resemble an old-fashioned dance-off, but with a modern twist similar to an American Idol format. The contests will take place in front of JC Penney stores in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami.

Winners at each site will receive a $500 gift card. In addition to the dance competition, the events offer gift bag giveaways, style advice and more. Local winners will be featured on JCPallaccess.com, where site visitors will vote for a grand-prize winner. First place receives a cash prize and trip to Los Angeles to meet with a casting agent.