I am, as you will know by now, not a fan of discounting to get folks to engage with your brand. My frustration with the endless (and desperate) banners screaming 50 percent off! 70 percent off! We’ll pay you to take it off our hands! Is the reason I wrote Shopportunity! My Rx to correct the system was what I shared in Passion Brands.

            My plea in both cases: Plu-eese! The flop sweat is just too, too obvious and anxiety producing for shoppers. Simply put: It stinks as a strategy. If price is the only variable that matters, why don’t we all just go to Dollar General and be done with it?

            So it’s with a certain amount of chagrin, mixed with raw admiration that I say my hat is off to JC Penney’s new “Get Your Penney’s Worth” campaign. The brand found the emotional resonance that connects its name, heritage and value proposition. Beautifully. Gently. Respectfully. And, with some fun.

Seen through the lens of that single copper penny in a jar, you believe there’s a solid rationale for savings. At THIS store. At Penney’s. Not for them the hopelessness and “Do you like me now?” of other mass retailers. (I name no names, Macy’s.) They’ve found a real divining rod to help shoppers find genuine worth. Of course, it’s a construct from which Penney’s can promote and have circulars and shelf-talkers, but it’s one that allows all that to make consumer sense: A powerful platform. This is all the more impressive given where the retailer has been during the past decade. Well done, folks. Want to discuss our thinking for your brand at retail? Operators are standing by.