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Archive for January, 2012

OMG-JCP!

I have not been this fired up about a rebranding since Showbiz changed to Chuck E. Cheese and they made that gorilla purple. But unlike the Showbiz massacre, when I was supremely disappointed, this time, I can hardly hold back my excitement– and my American Express.

Let’s be honest, JC Penney’s has been struggling these last few years. 100%, in the past I would have rather gone to the gynecologist than shop at Penney’s.  And if you were honest, you’d say the same thing.

But these last few days, I’ve been seeing these awesome commercials-

I can totally relate.

And then, I got this direct mail piece in the mail that made me pee my pants a little bit.

Go to your mailbox right now and look for it. It’s like they read my mind, put it in a catalogue, and I now magically want to shop at Jaques Penne’s again.

So, here is what all the “experts” say about the new branding efforts: Brand Channel article. Skip it if you want a synopsis: they are poo-pooing the rebranding efforts. But these “experts” must not be JC’s target market. I am.

And here’s what I had to say in response to all the nay sayers: (Literally, I got so fired up, I commented on the previously mentioned post. Here’s what I had to say.)

“How is everyone SO MISSING this AMAZING new transformation? It’s not about the actual logo or what people will call the store- it’s about what all of this means to the actual shopping experience. The branding is just supposed to reflect the actual changes that are taking place! All of the previous comment-makers just don’t get it!

I am 32 years old, married, a mother of one and plan to grow my family. My family has a household income that probably puts us right in the bullseye for JC Penney executives– let’s just say I can’t buy Prada, but we make enough that Penny’s wants me as a customer. I own a home, I have a college degree, and I’m a savvy shopper. I’m in a book club, I get my hair hight-lighted, and most of all, I want STYLE– style that I can afford.

Target has given me a shopper’s equivalent of a “style hit” every now and then, but it’s just not enough. Xhilaration, really!?, that’s all there is to choose from after all those cool commercials?

Kohl’s has made me dis-believe in “sale prices.” I knowing that those shirts never cost that much in the first place. I’m not that stupid.

And Toys R Us- You infuriate me! Don’t make me wait and wait on these stupid coupons that I can’t use until tomorrow!

Bravo JC Penney– you are bringing style, affordability, and straight-forward pricing that I really appreciate.

Thank you for the new imaging that makes me believe that you can bring me style again. Before I thought you were just Worthington, but after this awesome direct mail piece that almost made me cry in excitement, I have a renewed hope! Thank you for cutting out the stupid “sale” prices that are intended to trick me into believing I’m getting a deal. I’m not that stupid and I appreciate you recognizing that. Thank you for another place to shop.

I have just one request- PLEASE HURRY. Bring this in-store remodel to my store before I lose all this excitement.

Oh, and I’d work for your marketing team any day. They have done a great job.”

Tiger Lilies all around! Two dozen to new CEO Ron Johnson (formerly of Apple), and heck, another two dozen to new President Michael Francis (formerly of Target). I hope you guys can deliver the goods.

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I love to be entertained. I’d say it’s one of my favorite hobbies. I love a good book, a well-written television show, and everything about going to the movies. Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Mad Men are my most recent loves. I couldn’t wait for the next book, that next episode, the next film. But each has come to an end and this last year I found myself a little depressed.

I’ve tried all sorts of replacements: DivergentHunger Games reworked; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo– shock value;  and the worst yet- ABC’s Once Upon a Time– the Lost writers trying to fit the Lost blueprint into the popular fantasy genre, not to mention the horrendous special effects. I had almost given up.

Then a ray of light, hope in the midst of my despair! Downton Abbey.

I happened upon this little historical fiction on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre right before New Year’s Day. Because I was highly disappointed by the BBC’s The Hour last year, I didn’t expect much from Downton. I thought I’d try a few episodes while my husband watched the 10,000 bowl games that I care nothing about.

Well, right off the bat- The Titanic sinks and the Earl of Grantham is left with no heir to his title, his money, and Downton Abby, a fictional estate in Britain’s North Yorkshire. The story follows the Earl, his three daughters, his American millionairess wife, and his meddling mother played by Maggie Smith. As the aristocrats grapple with the antiquated world around them- dealing with issues of inheritance, different classes in a changing society, and love and marriage, a parallel but very separate society in the servants’ quarters tackles the same issues.

The things I loved about Season 1:

The writing is superb– Each storyline is well developed and relevant. Each character is intriguing and vital to the plot. Mary is selfish yet endearing. I feel sorry for Edith and hate her all at the same time. I am appalled by O’Brian and equally repelled by Thomas. I cheer as the love develops between Mr. Bates and Anna, and hope that Matthew can figure it all out before the War begins. There are many characters, many story lines, and no lack of action. This show never slows down.

The art direction is fantastic– Highclere Castle in Hampshire is used  as a setting and could not be a more perfect and beautiful backdrop as the drama unfolds. The costumes are equally as stunning, bringing to mind the 1998 film, The Titanic, (sans early/cheesy computer generated special effects) and giving Mad Men a little competition in the television period-drama category.

The Season Finale puts both the writing and the art direction together beautifully. The excessive and dated aristocratic society come face to face with its absurdity as World War I is announced- announced during the most beautiful and lavish garden party- complete with linen-clad guests, white roses and a mint julep.  It’s a story for the eyes as well as the heart.

The things I hope for Season 2:

Better character development- Season 1 left me disliking Thomas so much that I couldn’t believe in him. He was too evil, too mean, and too selfish. The writers even managed to weave in a thread of humanity for O’Brian but left Thomas as terrible as ever. What bothered me the most about Thomas’s characterization was that he is the only homosexual character. I was troubled that the only gay character was the only completely horrible character- and I long to see him made real. To my relief, the beginning of Season 2 provided Thomas some depth, and the beginning of a back story which might prove to help.

The unrequited love story lines- I’m so over the unrequited love story lines and so tired of all the whining. I just get so Twilighted out and wish people would just say how they really feel! The relationship between Mr. Bates and Anna begins to take a very intelligent and intriguing turn in the Season 2 premiere that I applaud. On the other hand, the Matthew and Mary love story that is based upon the “I love you but I just can’t say so” mentality wears on me. My hope is that the writers are developing Mary’s character- maturing her and allowing her to show some empathy for Matthew’s fiance- instead of just creating the inevitable drawn out love affair that we expected for Season 2.

All in all, I can’t wait for Sunday nights. Thank you PBS for a wonderful surprise. How did I miss this one for so long?

I dare say that all of The Tiger Lilies readers will enjoy Downton Abbey too- you will not be sorry- at least until the episodes end.

Also, if you dig what I dig, check out this blog, YABookBridges.com. There is a post about Vixen, a book series set in 1920’s Chicago. I know I’m going to check it out.

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