“I’m too pretty to do homework”

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has shopped at JCPenny at least once in his or her life. The department store JCPenny found itself in a bind earlier this month as an online sale for a t-shirt offended many. Not found in stores, but available online only, JCPenny had a girls age 7-16 shirt for sale that says “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

Not only was the shirt itself offensive, but the promo for the shirt read “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”

The public lashed out by writing on the company’s facebook page going so far as to refuse to shop at Pennys any more.

JCPenny has pulled the shirt from their website and says they will not be selling the shirt online any longer, and that it won’t be put into any stores.

A representative for the company commented to the Village Voice that they are not happy about the shirt and that they are looking into the situation to see how it happened.

The company has apologized to its customers and wishes to reinsure its customers that JCPenny will continue to uphold the integrity of their merchandise.

JCPenny’s PR group reacted very quickly to the online outcry from its customers, which is completely necessary for a company as large as this one.  I think that they handled this situation rather well. They did what they could to please their customers; they removed the t-shirt from the shelves and promised to maintain integrity in the items they sell in the future.

It’s difficult for me to say how I would have handled this differently. It’d be nice to say I never would have allowed the shirt to be created or even thought of, but having to think from a PR perspective, I have to handle the situation after the offense can’t be reversed. I would have pulled the shirt from the website to never be sold again, and I would have had a figurehead of the company make a public apology to all who were offended.

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3 responses to ““I’m too pretty to do homework”

  1. The thing that strikes me most about this is that JCPenney is misusing their ability to affect an entire generation of young girls for the sake of the bottomline. From a PR perspective, sure, promoting Justin Beiber is way more profitable than promoting good study habits. The problem with this, however, is that stores like JCPenney are perpetuating an entire population of flighty, flirty, fifteen-year olds who are too distracted by their texting to understand the value of hard work. And that is the face of the “American teenager” that we have created.
    So legal? Yes. Ethical? I’m not so sure.

  2. I heard about this. It’s very sad because many girls of that age group are so impressionable and, as my friend commented when she heard about this, girls will often act like the shirt they are wearing. What happen to principles? Nowadays values and attitudes come from whatever t-shirt they happen to be wearing that day, not what precious values that should be in their hearts.
    Shortly after JCP’s shirt, Forever21 came out with there own version: something like “Allergic to Algebra.” Of course, another outcry ensued against the store, they took the shirt out of their stock and critics were saying that they should have learned from the JCP incident.
    It’s shocking that both companies would support this kind of message and sell the idea that a smart girl a) isn’t the pretty girl and b) is one of the worst things possible any pretty girl should be.

  3. Pingback: Comment #1 | Simply PR.

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