JC Penney has tried a lot of things to try to right the ship. But the venerable retailer may have finally found a campaign, something to stand for, that takes its troubled brand from questionable relevance to leading edge: Penney’s isn’t talking about bargains anymore. Penney’s is talking about people. And how it takes all kinds and all sizes to make the world go round. The message is encapsulated by spokesperson Jes Baker, author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living. Baker has a Q&A with herself:
Q: “Would my life be better if I were thinner?”
A: “No. But it would be better if I wasn’t treated so poorly because I’m not.”
Social marketing is to millennials as smoking was to the so-called Greatest Generation — it’s a defining characteristic, it’s expected. The younger the consumer, the more likely it is that she expects her preferred brands to have a positive impact on the planet and on society (or at least not a negative one). In the HereIAm campaign, JC Penney uses its marketing dollars to preach tolerance, positive body image, and to promote a wider view of what it is to be healthy. The campaign is defined by its inclusiveness. The Here I Am pitch is focused on Penney’s Plus Size boutique, but the real corporate call is for JC Penney to deliver style to match this larger social promise all across the brand.