Presents From Penney

J.C. Penney this week launches an $18 million national television campaign that promotes 14 specific gift offerings via its stores, catalog and Internet site.
The campaign, by Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas, breaks during prime time programming on CBS and ABC on Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 23. A four-page ad in People supports.
Gale Duff-Bloom, president of marketing for Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney, said the television budget represents an increase of 40 percent over the retailer’s 1997 holiday effort. The ads also mark a shift in strategy from previous image-intensive executions.
Among the gifts in the TV spots, which include a voiceover by actor Jason Alexander, are a portable TV, a messaging alarm clock and sweaters.
In one of the offbeat ads, a puppy pushes a small TV around as Alexander notes in a voiceover, “This pint-sized black-and-white TV is as portable as it is cute. And at J.C. Penney it’s under $50, which makes it as easy to give as it is to retrieve.”
Duff-Bloom said research revealed time-crunched consumers wanted specific gift recommendations and assurance that the products would be easy to secure. They also wanted holiday shopping to be fun. To that end, the 14 15-second ads, airing in pairs, use the on-screen “Come in. Call in. Log on.” tagline to encourage sales via stores, catalog and Web site.
TV narration also includes the “J.C. Penney. Fun. Different.” line. Duff-Bloom said both phrases are specific to the holiday series and will not replace the retailer’s umbrella “I love your style” tag.