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Among the troubling and ultimately damaging shifts undertaken by JCPenney in recent years, one of the most perplexing was the varying amounts it dedicated to promoting some of the brands with which it maintains close relationships. For the Liz Claiborne brand for example, even as JCPenney retained dedicated, in-store Claiborne shops, it varied the amount it spent to advertise the brand’s availability, from $52,000 to $1.1 million to nothing, over the course of just three years.

As JCPenney works to regain stable footing and reverse some of the more controversial decisions of its recently ousted chief executive, it has committed to establishing a firmer ground for Liz Claiborne as well. By reemphasizing the target market for Claiborne products—namely, women between the ages of 35 and 50 years—JCPenney will develop cross-category offers that span clothing, accessories, shoes, and housewares.

In addition, a new advertising campaign by the retailer plays heavily on its connection with the fashion brand. In the campaign, the focus is solely on the Claiborne products that women can find at JCPenney, and the theme revolves around a celebration of women in the prime of their lives, who are empowered, established in their careers, self-confident, and free-spirited.

This specialized campaign does not use the tagline dominating JCPenney’s broader communications strategy, “When it fits, you feel it.” However, by ensuring that the communications about this brand resonate with that concept, the retailer establishes a consistent image for both itself and one of its most popular product lines.


Stuart Elliot, “J.C. Penney Burnishes its Liz Claiborne Brand,” The New York Times, August 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com