Penney Takes an 'Inside' Track

J.C. Penney unveiled a new brand positioning during the broadcast of the Emmy Awards Sunday, Sept. 10, with spots from DDB Worldwide.

The $200 million effort by the retailer’s new Chicago agency features the revised tagline, “It’s all inside.” The slogan is meant to refer literally to the contents of Penney’s department stores as well as what’s on customers minds.

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 of Irving, Texas. That effort carried the tagline, “The look. Look who. J.C. Penney.”

The new series, targeted at young mothers, is not as self-consciously hip as the preceding effort’s black-and-white footage and jump-cut edits. 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’ internal feelings.

“Today’s self-directed woman does not want to be dictated to,” said Penney senior vice president and chief marketing officer Stephen Farley. “They definitely want a channel of self-expression.”

Bob Scarpelli, DDB’s U.S. chief creative officer, called the new look “fresh and contemporary.”

The three commercials will air on both network and cable television, with buys including Frasier, Dharma & Greg and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The campaign also includes in-store collateral, direct mail, newspaper inserts and radio spots.

The branding push is part of a major restructuring aimed at halting declining sales at the Dallas-based merchant. Within the last year Penney has also appointed a new executive team, implemented a centralized buying system and revamped its store design.