J.C. Penney looks worse after Super Bowl flub

The company is being widely criticized for a marketing blunder on one of the biggest stages of the year.

By InvestorPlace Feb 3, 2014 2:26PM

Caption: Customers shop at a J.C. Penney store, in New York 
Credit: (© Mark Lennihan/AP)By Jeff Reeves

J.C. Penney (JCP) took to Twitter (TWTR) Sunday night in a rather odd marketing blitz.

In short, some yahoo at the company supposedly decided to tweet with mittens on, causing many people to wonder whether some 20-something was a bit tipsy at a Super Bowl party.

Now, social media marketing is a hot area that is full of quirky and sometimes odd approaches. After all, the "social" nature means the best marketing efforts appeal to prospective customers in a way that makes them feel like a friend instead of a dollar sign.

Like when a Twitter account for Arby's delivered a pithy Tweet about a singer's oversized hat at the Grammy's. The one-liner got more than 80,000 retweets -- and plenty of free branding for Arby's.

That's clearly what J.C. Penney was going for -- but failed miserably as the Internet mocked the tweets first as being drunken, then mocked the retailer itself for what seemed like a rather odd and misguided marketing idea.

Take a look:

Missteps in branding are par for the course at J.C. Penney, however.

First, Ron Johnson swooped in and tried to reinvent the company in the image of Apple (AAPL) retail stores. Then J.C. Penney tried to put the toothpaste back into the tube by reviving coupons and sales and even its old CEO.

Now the company is desperately trying to fend of continued claims that it is running into liquidity issues and that its days are numbered.

Shares of the stock are down 70 percent in the past 12 months and roughly 85 percent from J.C. Penney's early 2012 highs as a result.

The Twitter snafu certainly isn't a reason in and of itself to condemn J.C. Penney's stock. But a marketing failure during the biggest event of the year -- well, it's one more way the company has proved it doesn't have its act together.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor's Guide to Finding Great Stocks. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

More From InvestorPlace

Feb 3, 2014 2:58PM

its so nice msn allows us to post comments on this worthles story, but not on te other stories of the economy looking terrible and growth at a minimum.  nope msn doesnt allow comments where its obvious people will talk trash about obamas "recovery"


5 years of this administration and we are still seeing this?  its a joke!  obama the worst prez ever

Feb 3, 2014 3:00PM

markets are wy down on news of a slowing economy.  how can this be?  i thought we were in a recovery?  at least thats what msn has been saying for four years.


msn you suck

Feb 3, 2014 3:42PM
I don't like tweeting,period. I think it's stupid and those that send out what seems to be an unlearned english language, full of
cute words substituting letters and the such.

Feb 3, 2014 4:53PM
JC Penny pretty much screwed the pooch when they teamed up with the Kardashians.
Feb 3, 2014 3:15PM
And just think we we're told last week by the bozo prez that things we're just great. All these jobs he has created for our country.!!!!!!! What a joke
Feb 3, 2014 3:04PM

 economy is in the tank because of obamas policies and you have msn putting out stories of jcpenney tweets where someone is wearing mittens.


seriously msn talk about a disconnect with reality

Feb 3, 2014 3:22PM

If all the goof balls really looked at the spelling on the tweets, how could you even tell that there was something wrong?   Wt du u tnk thez kds du wth aul thr tm anyway? Lrn hou tu spl?

Feb 3, 2014 4:56PM
How would Obama know what a job is, he never had one. 
Feb 3, 2014 5:10PM

MSN: Reporting all the news that isn't news



Feb 3, 2014 4:47PM
I went shopping last week at Penneys for dress shirts.The average dress shirt was $50 but they did have a buy one-get the second for half price which brings them to about $37.50.I walked down the mall to Sears and bought comparable shirts for $21.99 each.I like the store but Penneys seem to have lost their focus,price-points,and sadly their market share.Wards and Mervyns were big deals at one point as well.Hope they figure it out before its too late.
Feb 3, 2014 4:49PM
Did the same person tweeting for JcPenney write this article? There are plenty of typos in this article as well!
Feb 3, 2014 3:36PM
I thought once the Seahawks won the superbowl that the world would instantly become a better place. But I'm now beginning to realize that absolutely nothing has changed. Huh.
Feb 3, 2014 4:14PM
I watched the game with about 20 other people and NONE of them were twittering or texting.  And from what I've seen of twitter messaging none of them look like the twitterers got past 6th grade English.  So I can't imagine much damage being done.  Jeff Reeves, do you have a short position on JCP or just like trying to make mountains out of mole hills?
Feb 3, 2014 3:15PM
Some sites will actually see this as news, pick it up, and give the company free advertising. Now who would do that?
Feb 3, 2014 3:16PM
Looks like the wonderful wall street banks have had a meeting and decided to sell high and in coordination (like a pack of wolves operate on a wounded deer or a pod of orcas rounding up some baby seals) to drop the dow a few thousand points so they can buy back in at 12,000 or so, then drive it back up in coordination and then repeat the cycle..That's why they get paid the big bucks.
Feb 3, 2014 5:04PM

"First, Ron Johnson swooped in and tried to reinvent the company in the image of Apple retail stores. . . then J.C. Penney put the toothpaste back in the tube be reviving coupons and sales and even its old CEO."


Are you sure YOU aren't drunk? Or did a 4th grader write this?

Feb 3, 2014 6:27PM
coke, your super-bowl ad *ucks..  loser move.  speak English will ya..
Feb 3, 2014 3:13PM
Don't be "igorent", people today know how to spell.
Feb 3, 2014 5:09PM

if you are going to write a boring story about the bad spelling used by a JCPenney employee while tweeting, perhaps your story should be free of spelling, grammatical errors. Just a thought.


the company is desperately trying to fend of continued claims..."  Should be FEND OFF, not fend of...

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