JC Penney's Oscars Ad: We'll Last Another Century

JCP adJC Penney kicked off a new ad campaign during last night's Oscars, running several commercials during the broadcast. A few highlighted the retailer's brand collections, and the flagship was this 90-second spot below, titled "Yours Truly."

The central message is, "Dear America, you deserve to look better." But we were struck by what came next.

"That's what we've believed for 100 years," the copy reads. "And we will believe for 100 more."

Yes, JC Penney -- which actually came into existence 111 years ago -- declared last night that it expects to be around for another century.

Now, we'd raise our eyebrows at any business claiming that it will still be in business in the year 2113. But the prediction is especially bold considering how JC Penney has struggled these last few years. CEO Ron Johnson was brought on a little over a year ago to chart a new direction for the company and revive flagging sales figures, and the results to date haven't been encouraging. Here's how the stock has performed in the last year:

JCP stock chart

That's a 46% drop in share price in the last 365 days.

The new "fair and square pricing" model sent its customer base fleeing for the exits, and Johnson recently conceded defeat on that point by deciding to bring back sales promotions. Meanwhile, the company just laid off 10% of its workforce at corporate headquarters, and it's burning through cash as it implements its store makeovers.

That doesn't sound like a company that's guaranteed to last another decade, much less another century.

None of this is to say that it's time to throw dirt on the company's grave. The share price has surged over the last week, and on Wednesday we'll see how much of that investor confidence is warranted when we see its fourth-quarter earnings report.

But if there's one person whose confidence in Johnson is unwavering, it's the CEO himself -- a fact that this commercial makes clear. We may have our doubts about whether he'll last as CEO through the end of the year, but Johnson clearly thinks that he and his company have many good decades still to come.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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I use to strictly shop in JC Penney's for Arizona jeans and shirts. Gone are the old style Arizona jeans that looked new and were blue. All they sell now is badly faded and or jeans with holes. If I wanted worn out jeans with holes I wouldn't be shopping for new pairs. With changes like that you lost myself and everyone in my family as customers. When you bring the old type jeans back we'll come back but not until then.

February 26 2013 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If they don't improve the quality of their products they won't be around past 2013. When Mr. Penney started the store the premise was "quality clothing for the working man and his family at a price they could afford." This past several years the leaders have forgotten that. The quality of their products has plummeted but the price has increased. Are the leaders trying to go bankrupt?

February 26 2013 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why not,they can sell the same cheap Chinese made crap just as well as the rest of the stores.

February 25 2013 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

JCP is dreaming if they think they'll still be around by the end of 2013, let alone another century.

February 25 2013 at 9:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

my fellow 'mericans......i come here tonight with a heavy heart. we created a world of want now, can't wait, must talk, can't write zombies.

soon....very soon, you'll all be wearing the same clothes you bought 5 years ago.


no place to buy them.

February 25 2013 at 9:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Live free or die right. The Huff Post is generally poor, haphazard, biased "journalism", if it can be called that. I would switch away from aol.com if I could, but most people already have my aol email address.

February 25 2013 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I apologize for the 3 posts of same story, I did not intend to spam, each time I hit the submit button it said "not able to post due to technical difficulty" so I tried over and over not realizing the submission was actually posting.

February 25 2013 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Journalism is dead.

If you would like to know why we are a nation adrift and a population bereft of knowledge and laden with misinformation, look no further than this article which claims that "The new "fair and square pricing" model sent JC Penny's customer base fleeing for the exits" and failed to mention the giant pink unicorn in the room, aka the ill-advised political move to hire Ellen Degenerate in 2012 as the new spokesman for JC Penny.

When a company panders to a militant minority and puts political agendas before catering to their 100 year loyal demographic they should expect to fail and fail big.

This article is so recreant in its duty to report the truth it should be considered journalistic malpractice. Nowhere does the article mention that upon JC Penney hiring out, loud and proud lesbian Degeneress to represent the new, fantasy American family that only exists on television shows, the loyal JC Penney families and a group called One Million Moms went to action and stunningly and effectively boycotted the industry giant causing JC Penney to lose 46% of its stock's value in the very same year and to dump the pant wearing pseudo-man Degeneress. WHAT A COINCIDENCE. I guess so much of a coincidence that Mr. Bromwell fabricated an alternate reason for the collapse of the traditional family store.

The good news is that no matter how fascistic and post-constitutional the US government gets the people are realizing they still have the power to vote with their remote and more importantly vote with their pocketbooks and effect monumental societal change through peaceable redress and peaceful direct democratic action.

Kudos to the peaceful, committed, courageous American Family Association for bringing the giant lavender Goliath to her knees in a stunning victory over the gaying of the American majority to reflect the values of a militant minority who's values (and I use the word loosely) do not reflect traditional Godly American values that will endure and which built the retail giant JC Penney. JC Penney just MIGHT endure another 100 years if they return to their roots and stop taking advice from the gay activist, recent college graduates who populate the advertising agencies in NY, LA and Chicago.
Congratulations onemillionmomsdotcom!

February 25 2013 at 7:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


February 25 2013 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We can blame the CEO all we want about the imminent demise of JCP...BUT, the Board of Directors is standing by watching the numbers drop...they're not idiots...they must believe in something going on or they wouldn't just stand there with their thumbs up their butts...at least I don't think they would...they certainly couldn't get any more bad press than they are already getting....

February 25 2013 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply