Parents Are Slamming JCPenney On Facebook For This Ad That Allegedly Encourages Bullying Culture

Laura Stampler

JCPenney might have recently finished its spring marketing campaign that focused on apologizing to customers for ousted CEO Ron Johnson's widely disliked redesign, but it looks like the retailer is going to have to say "sorry" one more time.

Parents have angrily taken to JCPenney's Facebook page, maligning the company for a recent "Back to School Sale" ad that they argue encourages bullying and classicism, CNN Money reports.

The controversy is directed towards the middle of the ad, when a mother's voice-over explains the importance of getting their kids cool JCPenney clothes: "I've been told the stuff can make or break your entire year." To drill the point in, the woman's son is shown both surrounded by laughing friends and then sitting alone at a cafeteria table, awkwardly looking for someone to hang out with.

"This is just hurtful," Nadia L. Bogarin wrote on JCPenney's wall. "No one likes wearing the same clothes for two or three years in a row... but some of us didn't have a choice. This is beyond insensitive it is hurtful and ignorant. You lost a customer today."

Other commenters agreed:

JCPenney responded to individual complaints with a standardized message:

Of course some loyalists think that it's JCPenney that is getting bullied:

With shares down and the resignation of investor Bill Ackman from the board  Tuesday, JCPenney has had a long week.

What do you think of the ad?

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