July 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

J.C. Penney dresses up its back-to-school campaign with social marketing

The campaign, which features new private-label brands, includes an updated microsite – Jcp.com/teen – that enables teenagers to connect with each other, create their own looks, and view J.C. Penney’s clothes and accessories on a digital runway.

In consideration of its Internet-savvy audience, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is putting a heavy dose of social networking into its back-to-school marketing campaign.

J.C. Penney, No. 15 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is combining digital, social, mobile and traditional media with unique special events and promotions for its back-to-school campaign, titled Schooled in Style: Smart Looks for Less, which kicks off on Friday.

The campaign, which features new private-label brands such as RS By Sheckler, Rusty, Third Rail a Zoo York Production and Decree, includes an updated microsite – Jcp.com/teen – that enables teenagers and shoppers to connect with each other, create their own looks, and view J.C. Penney’s clothes and accessories on a digital runway.

To incorporate more aspects of social marketing, J.C. Penney will update its page on Facebook with new TV spots, games and other events. Teens with web-enabled handheld devices can sign up to receive text messages about back-to-school sales and special offers from the retailer. “J. C. Penney’s Schooled in Style campaign brings it to life in fun, interactive ways for our teen customers,” says chief marketing officer Mike Boylson. “Capitalizing on our track record of leveraging digital and social media to communicate our value offering, the new campaign includes elements such as television and cinema ads with music from the up-and-coming band Hockey, a dedicated and a customized teen Facebook page with a wide array of interactive and mobile features, concerts, and promotions.”

For more traditional media such as TV, the back-to-school campaign will kick off with a new commercial featuring students turning their high school cafeteria into a high-energy fashion show, highlighting the latest looks and styles from J.C. Penney. “These elements showcase the diverse and fashion-forward assortment of brands we offer,” says Boylson.

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