Advertising Age reported JCPenney is dumping its one-year-old logo in favor of an earlier design. There’s a sad pattern emerging here. From advertising agency shuffling to logo swapping, the retailer appears desperately determined to recapture the past. Unfortunately, the past is completely irrelevant in today’s retail environment. Hell, the past was barely tolerable in the past. “As we transition to a more iconic and recognizable design, the change will give our loyal customers a sure sign that we’re still the store they know and love,” gushed a JCPenney spokesperson. “The classic JCPenney logo is familiar, as it is the same logo displayed on most of our stores today, and reignites pride in JCPenney and symbolizes the company who has faithfully served communities across America for over 100 years.” Okay, but there are probably only about three loyal customers left to love the logo. And while JCPenney “has faithfully served communities across America for over 100 years,” the last decade or two have sucked from a sales standpoint. So what’s next? Hyping Plain Pockets Jeans again?
J.C. Penney Scuttles Logo Introduced by Former CEO
Return to Classic Look Latest Step In Unraveling Johnson’s Changes
By Natalie Zmuda
J.C. Penney is reverting to its classic logo, in a move to appeal to loyal—and likely lapsed—customers.
Under former CEO Ron Johnson the logo and company name was updated to simply jcp. That logo, introduced to much fanfare in early 2012, featured a square red frame, with “jcp” in a blue box in the top, left-hand corner—reminiscent of an American flag. The frame was used throughout J.C. Penney’s stores and marketing.
Scrapping the logo is just the latest attempt to roll back the former CEO’s initiatives. Since Mr. Johnson’s departure in April, the retailer has reintroduced popular brands like St. John’s Bay, layered in plenty of promotions and is now in the midst of dismantling Mr. Johnson’s vision for J.C. Penney’s home stores.
The moniker had been falling out of favor for months, however. An apology ad which ran in May ended with the retailer’s full name, something that had been missing from much of the company’s recent communications, including the prior campaign, “Yours Truly,” which launched during the Oscars. Under Mr. Johnson’s direction, the brand had even abandoned its Facebook page look in favor of the square version.
Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney, confirmed the retailer is phasing out “jcp” in communications, noting that the classic logo has reappeared in TV spots the last few weeks. That logo, a simple red font, which features the first three letters of the retailer’s name in uppercase, is now rolling out to various print and digital pieces, as well as the retailer’s credit card, she said.
“As we transition to a more iconic and recognizable design, the change will give our loyal customers a sure sign that we’re still the store they know and love,” Ms. Coultas said.
But even prior to Mr. Johnson’s arrival, current CEO Mike Ullman had introduced an update to the logo in early 2011. That version featured all lowercase letters, with “jcp” in a red box. At the time, the retailer called the logo the “most meaningful update to the company’s logo in 40 years.” It solicited ideas from the company’s employees, design agencies and two art schools—University of Cincinnati and Rhode Island School of Design. Ultimately the design it selected was created by a third-year graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati.
“Through recent consumer research, our customers overwhelmingly confirmed their preference for our classic J.C. Penney logo,” Ms. Coultas said. “The classic J.C. Penney logo is familiar, as it is the same logo displayed on most of our stores today, and reignites pride in J.C. Penney and symbolizes the company who has faithfully served communities across America for over 100 years.”