The latest commercial in J.C. Penney’s apology tour to win customers back features the doyenne of domesticity, Martha Stewart, advertising her new home collection at the retailer.
In it, Stewart describes her excitement over MarthaHome and says, “When I first met the J.C. Penney team, I was just blown away.” Only problem is, the team Stewart initially met with to create the collection has been largely dismantled in recent months -— Ron Johnson, the former Apple Inc. retail chief, was ousted as CEO last month and replaced with his predecessor, Mike Ullman. Following Johnson out the door was Mike Kramer, the company’s chief operating officer.
Johnson hatched the plan to bring Stewart to J.C. Penney, a move that resulted in contentious litigation with Macy’s Inc over certain items that it claimed they had exclusive rights to sell. Bringing Stewart’s products to J.C. Penney was a key part of Johnson’s overhaul plan for the company.
Stewart refers to J.C. Penney as JCP in the video, which is what Johnson wanted to rebrand the department-store chain, as she talks about the paper goods and baking supplies in her collection.
Johnson’s plans for the company, including a reduction in promotions, cutting mainstay brands like St. John’s Bay and turning J.C. Penney into a collection of boutiques alienated customers and led to a $4.3 billion decline in sales last year.