JC Penney logo backed by a football field

This year, every brand was looking for a way to take advantage of 24.9 million tweets and an audience looking to engage. 

While there were many outstanding marketing efforts last night, one was particularly risky, and rewarding – JCPenney’s’ twitter typos.

Tweeting Typos

During the game, @JCPenney sent out two tweets riddled with typos: 


Other brands looking for a real-time marketing (RTM) opportunity began responding:



Pizza Hut asks if JC Penney needs some pizza.

Headlines begn appearing calling out @JCPenney for the typos:

Headline that says JC Penney is having a worse first half than the Denver Broncos.

From these tweets and headlines, it seems the Internet fell hook-line-and-sinker for the joke.

Later, @JCPenney revealed the typos were due to the mittens their community managers were wearing: 

Today, marketers are divided about the effectiveness of the stunt. Via AdWeek AdWeek says the stunt causes buzz and goads Kia Motors and Doritos. VS Via Huffington Post Huffington Post headline saying JC Penney was trying too hard. Here’s 5 Reasons Why It Was Actually a Huge Success 1 – JCPenney saved $4 million by not buying a commercial spot, but still generated tons of organic attention. There were 89,702 tweets mentioning @JCPenney yesterday, and their typo-filled tweets were retweeted over 40,000 times and favorited over 18,000 times. (PulsePoint Group Analysis) The tweets are even carrying into a second news cycle today. 2 – Tricked other big brands into promoting their message Coors Light, Snickers, Doritos, Pizza Hut, and Kia all tweeted back to J. C. Penney – spreading the tweets to their 500,000+ followers – double the number of followers of the @JCPenney handle. 3 – Affiliated the JCPenney brand with other top brands It’s no secret that JCPenney has seen better days, but with last night’s efforts, JCPenney is now in the same conversation as popular, fan-favorite brands. 4 – Reminded audiences of the next big event – the Sochi Olympics The Super Bowl is obviously a major event and it eclipses even the Olympics. But, @JCPenney is a major sponsor of the Olympics, so tying in the #TeamUSA mittens is a good way to remind audiences to turn their attention to the Olympics. 5 – Low risk, with big upside Tweeting typos is risky. Many consumers probably never saw that the tweets were a joke, and the brand risked losing credibility. So, this wouldn’t have made sense for a brand on top. But, with JCPenney facing challenges, it didn’t have much to lose. It also made the joke more believable – the Twitterverse thought JCPenney’s budget cuts led to sub-par social staffing. Maybe they did try too hard, but that’s what the Super Bowl is for.   The biggest criticisms seem to be that it was “lame” or “too silly,” but those claims are being made by Monday morning Quarterbacks – not their target audience. Right now, JCPenney needs to be relevant, and last night, they were. Well played, @JCPenney.