[Editor's Note: This story has been updated here.]
I’m sure everyone’s seen the mass advertising campaign for the re-launch of J.C. Penney. And if you’re a fan of Ellen DeGeneres then you know that the popular daytime host is the new spokesperson for the shopping outlet. That didn’t sit well with a conservative online group called One Million Moms. They insisted J.C. Penney fire Ellen because she’s openly gay. Well, J.C. Penney has told those one million moms that they don’t compete with the 3 million daily viewers who tune in to watch Ellen.
From Yahoo Parenting’s Piper Weiss:
The One Million Moms organization, an extension of the American Family Association, called on members to urge the company to rethink their decision. “Funny that J.C. Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families,” reads the call to action on the group’s website. “The majority of J.C. Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there.”
Not likely. As one of the most popular talk show hosts on TV, with over 3 million viewers turning in each episode, Ellen has her own army of followers that transcend traditional demographics. Gay, straight, moms, dads, kids, and even television critics (she’s won over 32 Emmys), Ellen has surprised the industry’s once closeted Hollywood culture by proving that talent and likability can override bigotry.
The barrier-breaking DeGeneres brand, and its patchwork fan-base, has proved a powerful marketing tool for advertisers too. Can anyone else Hollywood represent both CoverGirl and American Express?
In the fall, the One Million Moms organization campaigned against Macy’s for including a wedding cake topper with two men in its catalog. Last year, its parent organization, the American Family Association, launched an attack on Home Depot for participating in gay pride events. Sometimes the applied pressure may be influential—the Florida Family Association takes credit for Lowe’s department store pulling ads from TLC’s ‘All-American Muslims‘ series.
But as it stands, this campaign against Ellen won’t impact J.C. Penney’s decision. In an emailed statement to Yahoo Shine, J.C. Penney confirmed it “stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres.”