Author Topic: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying  (Read 1022 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« on: August 14, 2013, 02:54:29 AM »
http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/13/news/companies/jcpenney-ad-bullying/index.html?sr=fb081413jcpennybullyingad1230a

Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
By Emily Jane Fox  @emilyjanefox August 13, 2013: 12:31 PM ET


J.C. Penney is coming under fire for a "back-to-school" ad that shoppers say promotes bullying and puts pressure on families.

The ad features a group of children with voice-over from a mom who has to buy clothes for her son's upcoming school year. She says, "This stuff can make or break your entire year." The narration airs over a shot with a pre-teen boy sheepishly looking around as he sits alone at a school lunch table.

Dozens of parents have taken to J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500)'s Facebook page to say that the commercial promotes bullying, because it shows a child sitting alone based on the clothes he is wearing.

"Every day kids are made fun of [for] what they do or do not have...and your ad has just added one more thing that a child can be bullied about," JoAnn Robertson posted.


"Shame on you, J.C. Penney for your callous advertisement," Cynthia Logan wrote. She said the ad is a slap in the face to parents, children, communities and organizations working to bring awareness to the issue of peer abuse.

Other parents pointed out that the ad not only puts pressure on children, but also places a heavy burden on cash-strapped parents to buy the latest outfits lest their children face lunchtime alone.

"On behalf of all the families struggling to pay rent/mortgage, your ad sends a terrible message," Liz Hannity wrote. "You are saying their kids will have a horrible year if their families can't afford to buy them the cool clothes."

Many angry parents vowed to spend their back-to-school budgets elsewhere after watching the commercial.

"We always shop for our back to school clothes at JCP. We will not be shopping with you this year. I can assure you JCP will see as few of my dollars as I can possibly manage in the future," Kim Martin Playnick posted.

J.C. Penney said the ad aired on TV earlier this summer, but that it's no longer part of its current TV campaign. A spokesperson said it was already scheduled to stop airing as new ads rolled out.

The company said it was not its intent to "trivialize or promote bullying." It responded to a number of Facebook comments with a similar statement. The company said it also supports a number of anti-bullying campaigns.

Upset parents is the last thing J.C. Penney needs as it is struggling to keep customers. Sales have fallen in the last two years after shoppers rejected the store's strategy of moving away from short-lived discounts and sales.

The company's stock has dropped over 27% in the past month and are down 35% this year. It's led to the dramatic exit of former CEO Ron Johnson in April.

Related: Worker: I miss the old J.C. Penney


J.C. Penney aired a mea culpa ad on YouTube this spring, copping to making mistakes and pleading with customers to come back.

The ad says J.C. Penney listened to what customers want and need. "Come back to J.C. Penney," it urges. "We heard you. Now we'd love to see you."

The trouble stems beyond customers and into its board. On Tuesday, activist investor Bill Ackman resigned from the board, lashing out at the company for not giving him access to its financials. He called on the board to move faster with its search for a permanent CEO.

Shares were down nearly 3% on the news Tuesday.

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 02:58:51 AM »
http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/09/news/companies/jcpenney-worker-johnson/index.html?iid=EL

Worker: I miss the old J.C. Penney
By Emily Jane Fox  @emilyjanefox April 9, 2013: 3:24 PM ET

Kate Millburn, who has worked at a Florida J.C. Penney for four years, said she wants things to go back to the way they were at the department store.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Kate Milburn was happy to go to work every day at J.C. Penney and take care of clients as a receptionist at her store's hair salon.

She has been working at the store in Coral Springs, Florida, for four years. She has been invited to customers' birthday parties and has built a "work family" with other women.

All that started to change when Ron Johnson took over as CEO of J.C. Penney nearly two years ago. And in January, Milburn's position at the salon was eliminated.

Johnson was ousted after sales tumbled 28% in the fourth quarter. His troubled tenure was scrutinized by Wall Street and the media. But for the retailer's employees, many of whom lost their jobs, the changes he made to J.C. Penney were personal.

Milburn, who is 22, has kept her job at the store and was moved to the Sephora cosmetics department. She fared better than most, since J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500) cut 27% of its workforce.

Still, Milburn said, the job isn't the same.


Some of her customers stopped coming to the store, she said. For starters, part of Johnson's strategy was to to stop running sales and offer lower prices year-round. While Milburn said she did see prices go down, her customers didn't perceive it that way.

"A lot of people were upset because they didn't think they were seeing the savings that they used to when they had sales and coupons," she said.

Another Johnson-era change was to ditch older brands and bring in new, more modern ones like Joe Fresh. Milburn said the change was not received well by the older clientele that frequents the Coral Springs store.

"All the newer brands are very young and trendy. A lot of the dresses could be worn as shirts on most people," she said. "Our customers were upset because they couldn't find anything they would wear."

At the same time, the price of haircuts went up about $5.


Milburn said that she was replaced in the salon by women right out of cosmetology school who made between $8 to $8.50 an hour, compared to the $12.78 she makes.

She said she kept the same pay when she was moved to Sephora, but her hours were cut from 32 per week to sometimes as low as 20.

J.C. Penney did not respond to requests for comment. New CEO Mike Ullman, who led the company for seven years prior to Johnson's arrival, said in a statement that he will work to immediately address the needs of customers and employees.

Millburn is hoping things will change.

"Johnson let us down, but now I hope things will go back," she said. "I really love my clients and want them to know that we care about them."

Online aligncare

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 07:44:06 AM »
I used to shop the local JCP. Now, I shop at Sears. They have better prices, better store operations: helpful staff, tidy displays, etc. My JCP in Staten Island is a mess.
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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 09:12:02 AM »
My hairdresser works at a JCP salon that also eliminated the receptionists and replaced them with brand-new beauty school grads. The funny thing is that my stylist left the Macy's salon for JCP because Macy's was in such turmoil a few years ago and for better pay/benefits.
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Offline DCPatriot

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 09:22:08 AM »
I used to shop the local JCP. Now, I shop at Sears. They have better prices, better store operations: helpful staff, tidy displays, etc. My JCP in Staten Island is a mess.

They're both in serious financial trouble...it's just a question of which keels over first.
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Offline PzLdr

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 11:56:01 AM »
When I was a kid, my Pop taught me how to handle bullies. Walk up to the biggest one, and kick the sh*t out of him. When did we become such a nation of [adult] whiners?  :smokin:
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 11:58:33 AM »
When I was a kid, my Pop taught me how to handle bullies. Walk up to the biggest one, and kick the sh*t out of him. When did we become such a nation of [adult] whiners?  :smokin:

That's very easy to say and very hard to do; I wouldn't have managed it when I was in school.

Online aligncare

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Re: Angry parents say J.C. Penney ad promotes bullying
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 02:41:07 PM »
I had a very brief and ignominious history as a bully, PzLdr. I think I ran headlong into a disciple of your dad's.
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