Why JC Penney needed Target’s marketing boss

Target Corporation lost its marketing boss to rival JC Penney today. Judging by the latest marketing gaffe by Penney, he best get there soon.

Michael Francis was marketing chief for the last 10 years, and, according to the Dow Jones News Service, “joins Penney at a time the retailer, like others, needs sharp marketing skills for the holiday season.”

The announcement comes after this ad finished its run for his new company:

That ad comes a few weeks after JC Penney tried to market a sweatshirt that said “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

The AdFreak blog says JC Penney has issued the non-apology apology:


Now, there’s this dirty-old-man ad, clearly aimed at guys who remember the iconic stoner flick and might have replayed that Cates scene in their heads a million times. That was almost 30 years ago. Using the pubescent Cates now is not only weird and random, it’s just plain pervy. What, wasn’t Gisele available? (Responding to one complaint on Facebook, JCPenney wrote: “We apologize that our advertising offended you. That certainly was not our intention. We have confirmed with our Marketing team that this particular ad campaign is scheduled to conclude at the end of [September] with no plans to re-air. Additionally, we have forwarded your comments to our Marketing team for consideration as they develop future advertising campaigns.”)

During Francis’ time at Target, according to Ad Age, “he has overseen some of Target’s best known ad campaigns such as Design for All and Hello Goodbuy, as well as the marketing of designer partnerships with Michael Graves, Liberty of London and, most recently, Missoni.”

  • Heather

    Um, wow. I’m sure all the Gen-X guys are rushing to JCP right…. now. *eyeroll* I hope Phoebe Cates got Paid!

  • Jim Shapiro

    Alert the press: Sex Sells!

    I’m not sure how this ad is any more egregious in that sense than the dozens of others that do the same thing in different ways, and perhaps this one only differs in it’s self-referential attempt at humor by using honesty.

    JC Penney’s face book response is straight forward without being patronizing.

    What’s the problem again? Oh yeah. Sex in advertising.

    Or is it that the ad is condescending to men? Again, Alert the press! Heterosexual men like to look at whomever they might consider to be physically attractive women! Most ads for men’s clothing are directed towards women or homosexual men.

    OK, I’ve now convinced myself that Penny’s departing ad guy should win a Cleo for creative, out of the box thinking for this last work. :-)