advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

This is page 2 of:

JCPenney’s Christmas Pin Program: Channel Ping-Pong

December 5th, 2012

The campaign seems to be strongly physical-store centric, which is fine as a way to show off the new JCPenney attributes. The promotion, though, makes no attempt to do that. It’s not as though shoppers were asked to visit some of the stores within the store and to collect buttons there. The JCPenney we visited was within a mall, and we witnessed quite a few mall shoppers step inside JCPenney, take a handful of pins and then walk right back into the mall to continue non-JCP shopping.

Even the little card that the chain issues with the pins reflects an oddly unrealistic view of a store-centric mentality: “Come to JCP every day through Christmas Eve for more buttons, while supplies last, and more chances to win gifts.” Acknowledging that marketing copy is, by design, over the top, we still need to ask if the idea is truly for shoppers to have to go back to the store “every day.” After that first day, why couldn’t they resubmit twice a day (the limit) solely on the Web site or via mobile? That’s still encouraging daily interaction with the brand, in a less-ludicrous manner.

Then there are the terms and conditions. Nothing is more refreshing than reading a chain’s marketing copy (“shopping here is easier than breathing oxygen and better than great sex”) and then reading its legal copy (“that’s not funny. And put that down right now”).

You think it’s hard for customers to determine if they’ve won? Check out what they must do if they have won and have the audacity to try and collect their prize. Courteously, most casual shoppers will be spared that hardship, as the odds of winning run from eight-to-one for a $5 or $10 gift certificate (good only to purchase $5 or $10 items, as opposed to those dollars off larger purchases) to 81,000-to-one for a $500 gift certificate to 618,321-to-one for winning an $8,000 Great American Vacation Grand Prize. A pair of VIP tickets to a taping of The Ellen DeGeneris Show comes with odds of 27 million-to-one. And then there are the really hard to win prizes—including 81 million-to-one odds against winning a two-slot toaster.

Wait. Customers are literally a hundred times more likely to win an $8,000 vacation than to win a $60 toaster? In fact, several sub-$100 prizes have longer odds than the contest’s big-money “grand prizes.” Has anyone at JCPenney ever actually run a contest like this before? This isn’t the place to dump a few leftover clearance items.

If they’re lucky enough to beat the odds, customers have to complete a gift claim form within 48 hours of receiving their winning notification. Hopefully, it doesn’t get stuck in a spam filter for too long. (We are reminded of a favorite line from an early Simpsons episode, where Homer is given 24 hours to live by Dr. Hibbert. “24 hours?!” “Well, 22. I’m sorry I kept you waiting so long.”

Winners are given the option of uploading a photo, which would be displayed “on the JCP tree.” The T&C then adds, cryptically, “New York and Tennessee residents are not allowed to upload a photograph.” It’s probably due to state law, but ’tis a wise move regardless.

Under another missed opportunity, buried in the middle of the T&C is a nice holiday-themed reason for shoppers to participate in this promotion, but good luck finding it: “Salvation Army Donation: For each Code entered into the Web site on November 27, 2012 (CT), JCP will donate $1 to The Salvation Army, up to a maximum donation of $100,000.” Why not tout that on every piece of signage for the promotion? “If you enter, even if you don’t win, you’ve still made a difference this holiday season.”

The very last line of the T&C is another baffler: “Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of the Promotion.” That certainly seems to be the case, given that neither Apple nor any Apple product or service is in any way mentioned or referenced. (Smells like a cut-and-paste from a template for another promotion where Apple was involved. Either that or JCPenney’s lawyers now periodically throw in the names of random companies that are not involved in things.) Given the details of this promotion, though, it doesn’t seem like JCPenney was that active a participant, either.


advertisement

9 Comments | Read JCPenney’s Christmas Pin Program: Channel Ping-Pong

  1. J. E. Anstett Says:

    What a ridiculous idea. Another example of a non-merchant playing games. Perhaps this was one of Johnson’s kids ideas? I can hear other real retailers laughing, all the way to the bank.

  2. ConsumerLambda Says:

    JCPenney needs to get its act together fast. Very fast. I see a Diplodocus happily munching grass while the meteor is about to hit the ground. BTW: The “Apple” legal mention is probably related to the iTunes gift codes that are offered as prizes.

  3. Linda Says:

    They need to make the site easier to find. I enter the jcp.com/christmas and it takes me to everything but. It has taken me 45 mins to find it and haven’t won a darn thing. I have done a lot of shopping at Pennys and have gotten quite a few buttons but have won squat.

  4. Janet Hale Says:

    I have entered several codes and it keeps saying they have already been used. I just got them from the store.

  5. chandra Says:

    I too have read the dim reviews for the past limited promotion of JC Penney on the button thing at this point it reminds me of the kid game ” button, button who got the button” or was it ‘button ,button who stole the button” in any case i had much trouble getting into the site and entering the code (needed a magnifying glass to see the code) which was ridiculous and not a good promotion at this time of transition … I still have 8 buttons that i was not able to enter and I am mad. i hope I didn’t win big shame on the marketing management of JC Penney.

  6. Lori Says:

    Not sure why the problems, but we had customers win. I only had a few say they had trouble with the site, but with the folks & their tons of certificates, it must have been isolated.

    I didn’t hear of anyone winning merchandise or trips, but we’ve had customers win tons of the $5 & $10 certificates. I know of several who had stacks & well over $200. While you’re “only” supposed to redeem 2, the system didn’t stop us from redeeming all they had (had to be the same increments i.e. all $10 or all $5). Some were going by the T&C and with customers calling in to complain, HQ said to redeem all they had.

    And we gave out handfuls of buttons & still had some leftover Christmas Eve.

    I do agree the code was quite small. A lot of our customers seemed happy with it, but most didn’t seem to know about it, so we had a lot of educating to do.

  7. Jerry Says:

    This seems really insane. Why would you send a potential in store customer back home and to their computer. It doesn’t make any sense.

  8. Sol Says:

    I don’t think this technique was a home run for JCPenny at all. Sounded like a big waste of time if you ask me. Jerry is right. Why remove the customer from the store and set them back home in front of their computers?

  9. Jenifer Says:

    I read the dim reviews of past promotions and they are awful. I didn’t know about the codes either :( well said Jerry and Chandra :)

Newsletters

StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 17,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!
advertisement
StorefrontBacktalk
Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.