J.C. Penney Joins ‘The Breakfast Club’

Don’t you forget about J.C. Penney. For its seven-week back-to-school push, the department store retailer is putting its own spin on the movie The Breakfast Club to introduce five new brands.

Clothing from Decree, Fabulosity, Le Tigre, American Living and Whitetag will be donned by the characters in new “Get that look” ads. A 60-second spot will debut July 18 in theaters. It will then run on 93% of U.S. movie screens until Labor Day. A 30-second TV spot, radio, in-store and online ads round out the effort.

“We have several new brands that appeal to different teens with different styles,” said Mike Boylson, CMO of J.C. Penney, Plano, Texas. “The movie’s premise of kids with different backgrounds coming together to find they had more in common than what they thought was perfect for what we were trying to communicate.”

All spots, including weekly promotional ads, will feature a cover of the song “Don’t You Forget About Me,” performed by New Found Glory. Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, is the agency.

The campaign comes only weeks after the retailer announced a “bridge plan” that involves significantly cutting its expenditures. J.C. Penney spent $362 million on U.S. advertising last year (not including online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The retailer has pared down its capital expenditures budget for 2009 to $650 million, far below the estimated $1 billion for 2008. Execs have promised to spend marketing dollars more wisely and decrease store openings and remodeling efforts.

Back-to-school is the second biggest season for J.C. Penney, behind the year-end holidays.
Next week, Kohl’s also will debut its back-to-school effort by launching a new line of Avril Lavigne apparel. Ads feature Lenny Kravitz, teen actress Hayden Panettiere and others. Macy’s, meanwhile, will introduce its Ragged Road online campaign next month. Industry experts predict a flat to slightly down back-to-school season.