JCPenney takes on Manhattan

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Budget department store chain JCPenney will open its first Manhattan store at the end of the month. As detailed by The New York Times, a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign positions the retailer as a stylish and wallet-friendly alternative to its “overpriced neighbors,” a nod to posh New York department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. One ad declares: “Our neighbors must be shaking in their overpriced boots.”

Will this be enough to overcome the brand’s association with Middle American—not New York—style? While the tone of the copy has New York style all over it, moving too far away from the brand’s core values could come off as inauthentic. On the other hand, the campaign plays into a consumer trend that’s capturing even the most fashion-minded New Yorker: the desire for thrifty style and a move away from “disgusting” and foolish consumption.

1 Responses to “JCPenney takes on Manhattan”


  • Finally! Someone doing it right. In troubled economic times it seems everyone wants to cut their ad budgets, throw the dollars at their bottom line and fall in line with the status quo. Regardless of whether you like or dislike their campaign, or have a hard time accepting their brand as a Saks Fifth Avenue competitor, you have to commend them for taking advantage of an unfortunate opportunity. Good luck Pennies!

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