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JC Penney ads stir controversy, but not sales

J.C. Penney keeps making headlines, but will it have any effect on the company's bottom line?

The retailer first made a splash in January when it announced it would do away with sales and coupons in favor of an everyday-low-price model. It was part of a plan to revive the fading brand under the new leadership of former Apple executive Ronald Johnson.

The next bit of buzz came when Penney hired Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman. Social conservatives complained and staged a boycott.


Most recently, the company ran Father's Day ads featuring a same-sex male couple. It got the company a lot of free publicity, but has failed to move the needle on sales.


It joins another ad featuring same-sex moms:


Ironically, the most damaging ads were its first set of pre-makeover commercials, which ineffectually described the company's new pricing strategy:


By all accounts, Penney's efforts are missing the mark, says CBS MoneyWatch:

"The retailer's performance has been so bad it faces a possible credit downgrade, hardly a ringing endorsement for a company supposedly in turnaround mode," writes Constantine von Huffman.

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