JCP apologizes. Too little too late?

Like others, I watched the slow demise of JC Penney’s former CEO Ron Johnson after he upended JCP’s traditional retail model by abolishing popular house brands and the even more popular sale.

Turns out the no sale idea was a big no sale with JCP customers.

I thought Mr. Johnson had a great idea and admired the slick Target-like tabloids and hip television ads. Turns out what I thought didn’t matter, though. I never went to a JCP store. Neither did anyone else, evidently. And droves of their existing customers turned away. Now the giant retailer is using social media to issue its social sorry, and in a big way.

In its May 6 issue, Advertising Age reports that on Facebook, JCP asked consumers to name their favorite JC Penney brand, then followed up with a TV spot also posted to YouTube and Facebook telling consumers it was listening. They even changed their cover photo on Facebook to include an image featuring #jcplistens.

“It’s no secret, recently JC Penney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t…Come back to JC Penney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.”

Experts differ in their reactions to the apologies. By admitting it made a wrong turn, is JCP drawing more attention to its mistakes? Or is this a socially savvy way to speed up a recovery?

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