At J.C. Penney, A New Deal


Read the full story by Kirk Kardashian, originally published by Tuck School news.

As you may have noticed, there’s something very different about J.C. Penney these days. It’s sporting a sharp, redesigned logo—a square bathed in red, white, and blue, with the diminutive “jcp” letters in one corner.


Scott Neslin, the Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School, teaches a sales promotion course at the Tuck School. (photo by Laura DeCapua)

A new advertising campaign features Ellen DeGeneres, with color-splashed commercials poking fun at the ridiculous midnight blowout promotions and coupon frenzies that beg people to open their wallets. And it has initiated a “fair and square” three-tiered pricing system: everyday, monthly specials, and clearance.

For Scott Neslin, the Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing, that last change is the most interesting and significant. Neslin teaches a course on sales promotion, and has researched the impact of promotions in a variety of industries. “Over the last few years, promotions have gotten out of hand, especially price promotions or sales,” he says. “If you use them in moderation, they can generate incremental sales and profits. But if you overuse them, they erode brand loyalty and the reference prices customers expect to pay.”

Office of Communications