One Million Moms Can’t Stop Ellen & jcpenney

Ellen jcpenney vs One Million MomsLast week, I was skeptical of the claim that jcpenney would be the most interesting retail brand of the year. This week, I owe them an apology.

In the face of a boycott from One Million Moms – a conservative, “pro-family” group – jcpenney has decided to stand behind its decision to employ Ellen DeGeneres as the company’s new spokesperson. I know it’s only February, but I’m ready to vote this Best Brand Move of the Year.

There Will Always Be Naysayers

If you’re a modern, reasonably hip brand with even a wisp of humor, One Million Moms (OMM) will not like you. (Heaven forbid they see Brandee. Or my casual use of the word “heaven.”) But you know what? Here’s a short list of other things OMM has a major problem with:

One Million Moms Boycotts Ben & JerrySure, the Moms also condemn more serious cultural issues like “Gay Day” at Disneyworld and the It Gets Better Project. And while this blog’s purpose is not to get political, I think there’s an important lesson for all brands in the case of OMM against the United States of Ellen.

Using the V-Word

OMM opposes Ellen as a spokesperson because she “is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store.” This statement suggests three things, only one of them remotely true:

  1. White women do not shop at jcpenneys
  2. Homosexuals do not shop at jcpenneys
  3. Talk show hosts do not shop at jcpenneys

OMM also threatens, “By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, jcpenney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over all these years.”

Wait, did jcpenney hire Ellen to head an LGBT initiative? No. They hired her because she’s fun. It probably had less to do with values than the undeniable fact that people like Ellen.

The Branding Masterstroke

In the face of adversity, jcpenney had the bravery and good sense to stand up to OMM – something they failed to do last year.

“Our company was founded 110 years ago on The Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself,” said jcpenney CEO Ron Johnson. “And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.”

And now people are coming out of the woodwork to shop at a store that stands for something, even if it isn’t exactly what they set out to accomplish by naming Ellen spokesperson.

OMM brought torches to burn down the castle. Instead, Ellen and jcpenney have used them to light up the darkness. Bask in its glory:

One Last Thing

I don’t disagree with everything on the OMM website. The world would indeed be a better place without Kardashian-edition Barbies and topless Kathy Griffins.


Image courtesy of

6 Responses to “One Million Moms Can’t Stop Ellen & jcpenney”

    • Jason Bittel

      Good idea, Sarah! Mine will be for white t-shirts and kitchen appliances I’ll probably use once.

  1. Igor

    Thanks for your comment on my piece, Jason. Are people really “coming out of the woodwork” to spite the Million Moms, or is that just a long-term hope. Me, I kinda doubt that Ellen’s gonna propel JCP back to health, with or without a foil.

    Love your About pitch, btw.

    Happy shopping.

    • Jason Bittel


      Well, you’re right: talk is cheap. But people are definitely talking. The FB group formed to upshow One Million Moms has gotten 176,000 likes (which is at least 130,000 more than OMM) in as many days. But will they shop?

      Thanks for your article and your appreciation for wallabies!

  2. Susan L

    Good blog. This group of girls are not as powerful as they are taking credit for. JCP is not the only corporation in a financial bind. There are many hurting. I called three corporations that these girls claim they took down as a result of their mass e-mails and calls. Each corporation said, yes, they did receive mass e-mails and phone calls, but did NOT meet the demands. Posting on social networks of victories over sinners does not make it truth. Billion dollar corporations are not going to bow down to a group of misfits, especially now that omm and afa have been branded a hate group.


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