The New JCPenney Rebranding Is Not Completely Terrible

JCPenney! Does anyone give a shit? Not sure I do, but I wrote a blog post about ‘em anyway! They’ve retooled, rebranded, spent a lot of ad dollars, and issued a bunch of press releases about how fresh and bold they are now. How’d they make out? THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY:

THE UGLY:
The new logo is pretty bad. American flaggish? Really? Red and blue? Ewww. Shortening the name to “jcp”? Are people expected to say “Jay See Pee” now? Have they intentionally stepped away from the traditional “Penney’s” nickname that most of their consumers still use? They’ve clearly evolved the new look from the previous logo, but I think maybe they focused on the wrong parts. Hell, the new logo is so boring, I can’t even work up any graphic designer rage to criticize it. Though it includes many features I’d normally find appealing (limited color palette, stark, a bit rigid, no Photoshop effects), it’s just sort of… there. That said, the company has a long and illustrious history of having pretty mediocre logos, so you could say this is the continuation of a proud and mighty heritage of blandness.

THE BAD:
The TV spots have been horrendous. Middle aged women shrieking and bellowing in woeful pain and anguish. I understand the message they’re trying to convey, but they’ve created a commercial campaign that is absolutely unendurable if viewed more than once. Less actually. You sort of get it about halfway through the initial viewing and want it to come to an immediate and permanent end. Yet it keeps on going. Nothing says “great deals” quite like an audio track from a mass murder. If you haven’t seen this yet, please adjust your volume controls:

THE GOOD:
What prompted me to jot down a few thoughts on JCPenney, a brand I really don’t give two shits about, is because Saturday’s paper came with one of their new ad circulars. And I flipped through it and thought “This isn’t too bad!”

Their slogan is apparently “fair and square,” relating to their new outlook on sales, but clearly reflected in the logo (which I don’t like) and the square layout of the circular (which I do like). They’re also fully embracing the all-lowercase approach.

Simple grids and white space. Note they’ve put priority on prices over brand names or item categories (apologies for the lousy photos).

Interesting (or at least non-standard catalogue-y) photo crops, flat color backgrounds, and more grids. Not afraid to run lots of sideways text.

More bursts of color and more negative space.

Models standing in relatively interesting poses. More open white space.

A very pleasing arrangement of brightly colored items.

CONCLUSION:
Their logo designers didn’t push very hard. Their video producers should probably be making Burger King commercials. Their catalog designers seem to know what they’re doing. GOOD JOB, SOMEBODY!

About Tom Pappalardo

http://www.tompappalardo.com
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2 Responses to The New JCPenney Rebranding Is Not Completely Terrible

  1. Dakota says:

    Exactly. I grew up going to pennys. Now I cringe when I pass it in a mall. Their lighting sucks. Its disorganized and reminds me of ross or michaels. And the new logo makes me shudder. It looks like a logistics logo. The old logo needs to be brought back. And they need to fix their frigging lights!

  2. Dakota says:

    Marshalls* not michaels.

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