DDB Gets Fresh for Penney

DDB Worldwide here uses hip music and a theme of self-expression to contemporize the image of J.C. Penney Co. in its first campaign for the retailer.

“Our goal was to refresh their image and to make people think about them in a new way,” said Bob Scarpelli, DDB’s U.S. chief creative officer.

The $200 million effort, which broke during the Emmy Awards broadcast Sept. 10, features the revised tagline “It’s all inside,” a catchphrase meant to show women how they can tailor Penney’s selections to their personalities and moods, Scarpelli said.

“Our whole strategic insight was self-expression,” he said. “Literally, it’s all inside the store; and psychologically, it’s all inside your head. You make it work.”

Three television executions show a couple preparing for the arrival of an adopted daughter; a woman playing fetch with a dog and a pile of shoes; and a woman whose outfits change instantly with her moods. The ads replace a short-term campaign from former agency Temerlin McClain, which used the tagline, “The look. Look who. J.C. Penney.”

The new campaign, targeted at young mothers, is not as self-consciously hip as the one preceding, with its black-and-white footage and jump-cuts, said Penney senior vice president and chief marketing officer Stephen Farley. Although accompanied by stylish music from British trip-hop band The Supreme Beings of Leisure, the ads center less on fashion and more on customers’ interior state of mind, he said.

“Today’s self-directed woman does not want to be dictated to,” Farley said.

The three commercials will air on both network and cable TV, with buys including Frasier, Dharma & Greg and Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The branding initiative is part of a major restructuring aimed at halting declining sales at the Dallas-based retailer. Within the past year, Penney also appointed a new executive team, implemented a centralized buying system and debuted a new store design.