Huffpost Parents

J.C. Penney Back-To-School Ad 'Promotes Bullying,' Parents Say

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Some parents will not return to J.C. Penney this back-to-school season.

The retailer ran a back-to-school ad earlier this summer promoting their “First Day Look” campaign for kids. But, the commercial struck a chord with many of their shoppers who say it promotes bullying.

The ad, which you can watch here, features a voiceover of a mom talking about her children’s clothing choices for the upcoming school year. She says, “I’ve been told that this stuff can make or break an entire year,” while a child sits alone at a lunch table.

Consumers have sounded off about the commercial on J.C. Penney's Facebook page. Those offended claim that showing a child alone because his clothes aren't cool enough will perpetuate bullying in real life.

Rachel Santana expressed her anger on the page writing, “Your ad stating 'The only thing kids will really be caring about' is not allowed to play in my home. I mute the TV. No kids should have to feel pressure to dress better than the rest. You won't be getting a penny from this family of six for back to school.”

The company has replied to more than one post, including Santana's, with this statement:

We truly appreciate your concern. Our intent was not to trivialize or promote bullying. At jcpenney, we're committed to carrying a broad range of styles that let kids express their individuality and make a positive first impression. Our marketing is meant to inspire kids to create and reveal their look as they head back to school this season. The ad is part of a handful of back to school TV ads we are airing this season. It aired earlier this summer as scheduled but is not currently part of our TV campaign. We'll pass your feedback along to the appropriate teams for review.

However, just because this particular ad is no longer being aired not all parents are appeased. Some Facebook comments also call out an online ad (one that we couldn't find on J.C. Penney's page) that shames kids for not having new clothes every school year.

Angela Landry wrote “Jc Penney [sic] I love your clothes and usually shop here for my kids. I don't however like your slogans on your ads. The one I seen online that said 'I like to wear my clothes from last year! Said no kid ever' doesn't help some kids whose parents don't have the money to buy them new clothes.”

Clearly, these parents are giving J.C. Penney an F this back-to-school season, but others are supporting the store. "There was nothing wrong with your commercial to begin with, and I'm sorry you were bullied as a result of it," Kelly Kervin wrote on Facebook.

And TV host, Charlie Berens, of Nightcap went even further with his critique of the situation (watch below), saying, "Let's not bully J.C. Penney for something they probably didn't intend to do. I have a better idea. Let's bully them for making really cheesy back-to-school ads."

What do you think? Take the poll and sound off in the comments.

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