JC Penney Chases After Men With First Strahan Spot

by MR Magazine Staff

Forget getting gifts from others on Father’s Day—JC Penney wants men to buy for themselves every day of the year. Looking to lift struggling sales, the retailer is going after a bright spot — men– with a campaign breaking ahead of the June 18 holiday for dads. The push begins with its first TV spot featuring football star-turned-talk-show-host Michael Strahan airing June 7. The chain is expanding its relationship with Strahan, who has had an apparel line at JC Penney since 2015, to now include underwear. “Last year was heavy into promotional, but you won’t see those same conversations this year,” said James Starke, senior VP-men’s at JC Penney. “Instead of being smack-in-the-face promotional, we’re talking to the customer in a different way using wit and humor.” A few years ago, the 1,000-unit chain conducted research to find out how best to communicate with men shopping for themselves. Using Strahan, a “guy’s guy” in the new messaging is one way to get through to that customer, said John Tighe, exec VP-chief merchant. Today, menswear represents roughly 22% of sales, but is a growing bright spot for the brand, which recently reported a same-store sales decline in the first quarter of 3.5%. Last week, JC Penney announced the hire of Marci Grebstein, formerly the top marketer at Lowe’s, as CMO. Read more at Advertising Age.