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JCPenney Hijacks Target on Twitter Before Black Friday

  |  November 18, 2011   |  Comments

Promoted Tweets become holiday marketing battleground.

Hijacking Google traffic from competitors is about as old as Santa's sled. But it's intriguing to see Twitter search emerging as a holidays retail battleground with Black Friday one week away. And it appears that JCPenney is a leading yuletide marketing warrior, based on the Promoted Tweets it's purchased with terms involving competitor Target.

JCPenney has bought Promoted Tweets for the following keywords: "Target"; "Target stores"; "Target gifts"; "Target deals"; and "Target holidays". From numerous Twitter queries by the ClickZ News team, similar searches for other competitors, such as Kohl's, Dillard's, and Nordstrom, resulted in zero JCPenney ads.

The Plano, TX-based company, which didn't respond to interview requests for this story, has also locked down queries for searches related to its brand. Basic terms like "JCP" and "JCPenney" will produce copy the brand's marketing team has penned for Twitter, including this ad:

Black Friday is next week & jcpenney has just the values U need for the year's biggest shopping day! jcp.is/u9LFEs

Interestingly, Target - which has launched an onslaught of holiday marketing videos on YouTube – doesn't appear to be focused on Promoted Tweets. It didn't show up in results for any of the aforementioned brand-related terms when the Twitter page was refreshed.

Meanwhile, other brands are also zeroing in on Target searchers via Twitter. Sears has purchased Promoted Tweets for "@target", while the Gap, Neiman Marcus and HP are employing the tactic similarly against Minneapolis-based Target.

Proving that Twitter hijacking has become fair game, Old Navy is attempting to poach shoppers away from JCPenney, paying for the keyword "JCPenney". Here's one version of the ad copy showing up:

We're turning up the Deal-O-Meter for #Gobblepalooza 3D! Come in for 3 days of deals starting Thanksgiving Day. oldnvy.me/v6tDqL

Some observers may conclude JCPenney's play on the Target keywords is no coincidence. After all, JCPenney president Michael Francis left Target last month after heading up advertising there for more than a decade.


Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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