DDB Gives Penney Teen Appeal

NEW YORK J. C. Penney this week will launch an integrated campaign that positions the retailer as a cool spot for kids to shop for trendy back-to-school clothes.

The effort from DDB Chicago packs a one-two punch with two TV ads touting its newly revamped Arizona Jeans collection and two additional ads featuring a broader array of back-to-school clothes for kids and teens. Budget for the effort was not revealed. J. C. Penney last year spent $368 million on media, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

“We want to announce it’s a new day at J. C. Penney,” said Michael Cape, vice president of brand marketing at the Plano, Texas, company. “We’ve developed authentically cool apparel at half the price of specialty retailers and improved our speed in delivery. We want to deliver on that message in language kids and their moms understand.”

The Arizona Jeans spots portray the “road trip” adventures of a group of older teens as they fashion a unique way to view the desert sunset or race through the sand to their old car. The tag reads, “No matter where you are, you’re always in Arizona.” Print continues the desert theme, showing the teens with humorous copy such as, “Stop and smell anything but the back seat” and “After six days on the road, everything’s funny.”

The broader reaching back-to-school ads take their cue from MTV-style music videos. The spots show kids in school decked out in Arizona denim and clothes from Southpole, JNCO and other hot teen brands as they dance to the hip-hop strains of Stagga Lee’s “Rock Ya Body.” Music video director X directed the spots with lead dancer Alison Stoner, the 10-year-old up-and-comer who appeared in the Steve Martin movie, Cheaper by the Dozen. Both back-to-school spots include a diverse mix of plus-size and kids of color. A Bobblehead doll also dances throughout the spots for a touch of humor.

TV will reach kids via MTV, Nickelodeon and The WB, among others, and targets moms via prime-time networks and cable channels. Print will run in teen publications such as Teen People, Rolling Stone and Seventeen.