Thursday, May 31, 2012

Penney for your equality

You know, I’ve never been a big JCPenney shopper. Nothing wrong with good old Penney’s, but it’s not really been my thing. That is until now. You see, the venerable 110-year-old American retailer is acting anything but old-fashioned these days with its new advertising approach. In fact, I’ve call them downright progressive. First, they hire America’s Favorite Lesbian Next Door Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman. Then they feature a two-mom family in its Mother’s Day catalogue. And now, they’re going to feature a two-dad family in its Father’s Day catalogue. Yes, JCPenney. Yes, I KNOW!

And not only has Penney’s featured real-life gay parents in its marketing campaign, it’s treated them as wonderfully equal and totally not a big deal. The copy that went along with the Mother’s Day ad was called “Freedom of Expression” and said “You’ll often find Wendi, her partner Maggie, and daughters elbow-deep in clay, paint of mosaics.” It also featured Wendi’s mom, to make it a lovely three generations portrait. The new Father’s Day ad says, “First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver - all rolled into one. Or two.”

Both sets of gay parents are featured amid other pictures depicting straight parents and other families. They’re just amid the melting pot, as it should be. Of course, this brought out the crazies. The so-called One Million Moms conservative group launched a protest for both the Ellen hiring and Mother’s Day ad.

In response to the Ellen thing JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson said: “Our company was founded 110 years ago on The Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.”

When the rabid mamas attacked again for the Mom’s Day ad, a JCPenney spokesperson said: “As JCPenney focuses on becoming America’s favorite store, we want to be a store for all Americans. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re proud that our May book honors women from diverse backgrounds who all share the heartwarming experience of motherhood.”

Now, the Father’s Day ad is so new the marauding mommies haven’t had a chance to launch a protest. But, rest assured, I am certain they will. And now I am also equally confident that the good people at JCPenney will rebuff said intolerance and instead embrace an acceptance of a world that thinks everyone – gay, straight, whathaveyou – deserves to be represented and perhaps wear reasonably priced clothes while doing so. Sure, it’s also business, but it’s good business for everyone when gay inclusions is not just principled but marketable. So thank you, Penney’s, for knowing that love is love, family is family and a dollar is a dollar. You’ve certainly earned a few of mine.

9 comments:

MakingSpace said...

I'm a mommy and I will be marauding through Penneys doing some shopping to support them. There are all kinds of ways to be a marauding mommy. I plan to be the kind that supports the company. Woot!

Kristan Hoffman said...

Just seeing those ads brought tears to my eyes. JC Penney's values are definitely bumping them up on my shopping list.

Anonymous said...

While I've been very impressed with JCP's new ad campaign thus far, my local ads and catalogs have not included same sex couples like you described! Apparently, living in the Bible Belt means you receive a different ad than other, more progressive parts of the country! I'm glad you clued me in to the positive efforts they are making for our visibility, even if they're starting their efforts in focused locations. :)

Avery said...

I *really* wish I liked their clothes/stores more. . . I'd love to support them but...I just don't care for the product, mostly. At least as far as clothing goes. Perhaps the next time I need a blender, that will be my destination of choice.

Katherine said...

I'm in Australia and we don't have Penney's here but I think this totally rocks!!!!! And when my wife and I come to NY next month we will be finding one just to spend a bit of $$.

Love this blog :)

maren said...

Agreed, I'm super impressed with Penney's, I wish I liked their products more!

Natalia Rivera said...

Just go buy your socks and underwear there! Support those who support us.

Norma Desmond said...

There really aren't enough good things to say about the courage of Penney's for sticking to and creating more of these ads. Granted, in 2012, it shouldn't be considered courageous, but Penney's isn't exactly a booming corporation anymore, and there aren't many companies willing to do what they've done. A million thanks to them.

Anonymous said...

you realize who's heading up their marketing campaigns, right? michael francis, the very same guy who left target not long after the whole mn forward/tom emmer debacle (and after target.com launched its mess). more power to them! perhaps i should stop shopping target and start shopping jcp! if only they carried toilet paper...