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J.C. Penney Woos Latina Shoppers With World Cup Campaign

In J.C. Penney’s (JCP) latest effort on its three-year quest to regain financial footing and instill consumer confidence, the retailer is positioning itself as a shopping destination for Hispanic families. The segment is expected to be the single biggest source of growth for the retailer in 2014.

With a buying power projected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, retailers across the country are revamping their promotional campaigns and product mixes to appeal to Hispanic consumers. Latinas have become JCP’s muse.

“Because she has a higher taste level and consumers fashion at a faster rate, our Latina woman will make J.C. Penney better as we rebuild our brand and the goods we offer. If we do right by her, we will do better with our general market work, as our Latina customer is increasingly reshaping the general market,” Debra Berman, senior vice president of marketing, told Ad Age.

Ad Age reported that the new initiative will be on display this week with a World Cup campaign specifically targeted to Latinas–a first for the retailer–and will be supported by a sponsorship of Univision’s World Cup coverage.

A Nielsen study that found Hispanic women watch World Cup programs more than non-Hispanic men was a “breakthrough moment” for the JCP. As a result, the retailer is aiming to stand out by speaking to women directly in the typically male-dominated sports realm.

The ad campaign includes two 30-second spots that will air during each of the tournament’s 56 televised games and will also appear online. In the TV spot “Pulse,” Latina women are shown cheering for their teams dressed in their national team colors. The voice-over translates to “our colors are tattooed on our souls.” Lyris Leos, director of multicultural marketing said J.C. Penney wanted to give female viewers “something that was hers,” according to Ad Age.

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Other efforts include the integration of J.C. Penney products into some segments on the Univision morning show “Despierta America,” including a story Tuesday with Colombian fashion journalist Nina Garcia about fashion tips for World Cup fans.

In regard to the decision not to create a general market campaign, Leos said, “We wanted to make a big, concentrated splash in the Latino community,” Ad Age reported.

Currently, Hispanics account for 9 percent of JCP’s customer base. The store has always been in Hispanic women’s consideration set, according to YouGov BrandIndex. However, thanks to a new Hispanic Facebook page and a new rewards program, the store is said to be getting a better understanding of the market. In fact, YouGov BrandIndex said JCP has experienced a spike in perception during the last two weeks.

The retail giant has also updated its roster of 180 Hispanic-designated stores in areas that have double the national average of Hispanics, or stores where sales from that demographic are higher than average. In these locations, bilingual associates are identified, and both Latin music and bilingual signage are prominently featured.