JCPenney Brings Holiday Cheer to Budget-Minded Customers

Campaign features social, mobile elements

Department store JCPenney is unveiling its Christmas 2011 advertising campaign, which aims to appeal to budget-minded shoppers while still bringing the holiday cheer. The ads, which ask customers “Who’s your Santa!” were created by Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.

According to The New York Times, which got a preview of Penney’s holiday efforts, the campaign includes traditional print, online, and mobile ads, as well as social elements like a Facebook game, apps, a Google+ page, and QR code gift tags that let customers record voice greetings. There’s also a cause marketing tie-in with the Salvation Army, and a push to get shoppers into Penney’s stores on Black Friday.

While Penney’s ads are meant to get customers to open their wallets, the store is also trying to prove that it understands the public’s desire to save. Working off of its year-round slogan, “We make it affordable. You make it yours,” the store’s Christmas ads will proclaim, “We make Christmas affordable. You make it yours.”

Penney’s has had its own recent financial struggles, making this campaign all the more vital. Last month, analysts estimated that there would be a 1 percent increase from the previous year in same-store sales, according to the Times. But when Penney’s earnings report came out, same-store sales had fallen 2.6 percent.

“The upbeat optimism is a value we’ve put into all our marketing this year,” Penney’s senior vice president for brand marketing, Ruby Anik, told the Times. “With all the bad news around, we wanted the element of  ‘When I go to JCPenney, I have a fun time, and the brand makes me feel good.’”