JC Penny tried a Twitter tactic during yesterday's Super Bowl game that didn't generate great reviews. The company started by sending out a few misspelled tweets to introduce their new brand of Olympic "Team USA" mittens, a move which likely made JCP look that much older to young consumers (and/or widened their appeal with babies and small children, since they typically wear mittens).
While other advertisers shelled out a record $4 million a pop for a spot among the 50 commercials featured throughout the big game, JC Penny "drunk tweets" to confuse the Internet into thinking someone was actually inebriated, were completely free.
Tweets like, "Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???" caught the attention of Kia Motors and Coors Light, both of whom fell for the gag before JCP tweeted back the mittens promo.
Unfortunately, life in the Twitter verse is short-lived and based on the responses (which included Ignite.com naming the company "Most Desperate" on its list of Super Bowl winners) neither the public nor the media was all that impressed. From the Huffington Post:
J.C. Penney has had a tough few years of unsuccessfully attempting to transform itself from a place where your mom shops to one in which you might too. Last night during the Super Bowl, it tried again on Twitter. Tried and failed, we should say.
The main problem with JCP's tweets were the Twitter jokes that followed. As noted by an MSN Money story posted earlier, the retailer "failed miserably as the Internet mocked the tweets first as being drunken, then mocked the retailer itself secondly for what seemed like a rather odd and misguided marketing idea."
Still, JCP spokesperson Kate Coutlas explained their motivation to Buzzfeed in an email yesterday. “We knew Twitter would be very active but wanted to find a way to stay above the Super Bowl fray and instead create our own narrative,” she said. “Given it was cold, and we are selling Go USA mittens — we thought it could be a fun stunt!”
Twitter promotion is part of JC Penny's larger rebranding efforts. Last year the company scrapped its ill-received red-white-and-blue logo in lieu of the classic design, and aside from the social media ploy, JCP signed former Blackstreet singer Chauncey Black for a re-up of the group's 1996 "No Diggity" single. The lyrics are reworded to promote the aforementioned Olympic mittens used in the Super Bowl tweets.
While we have yet to see if JCP can turn a short-lived Twitter spotlight into sales, this guy's tweet might just sum it up:
Nice try JCP.
Hit the gallery below to see the Super Bowl tweets.
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