Is It Me? Or is JC Penney/Lauren's American Living God Awful

J.C. Penney Co Inc. is undertaking the biggest merchandise launch in the department store’s 105-year history. The massive collection, developed by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp’s Global Brand Concepts exclusively for Penney, will include men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, bedding, towels, window treatments, luggage, furniture and swimwear.

Penney Chief Executive Myron “Mike” Ullman said American Living products could mark the largest single introduction of a brand in retail history.

I don’t think so. I have been perusing the American Living website. Some of the items I see look perfectly respectable—the dress shirts, ties, shorts, etc. I haven’t checked out the window treatments yet. But the thing that jumps out at me like a rat on the cheese shelf is the absolutely God-awful logo chosen for this line developed by Penney and presumably one of the top arbiters of fashion taste in the 20th century. This logo looks like the cheesy Bicentennial decal I put on a wooden serving tray made in shop class circa 1976.

Before the Hannity morons jump on me for being anti-American, let’s review: I am a frequent JC Penney shopper. I plan to give my IRS tax rebate to my church. I fly an American flag on the flagpole in my yard all year. I drink American whiskey—Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey. I vote. I recycle. I am a proud American. I do not, however, where a flag pin on my lapel. I do not wear American flag tee shirts. I do not use American flag beach towels. To me, the American flag is a sacred symbol that should be revered and displayed according to proper protocols. If someone defaces a flag, I would rather engage them in conversation about why, rather than pass a law preventing them from doing it again. But I digress.

My objection to this gawdy logo from JCP and RL has everything to do with simple taste. Lauren’s Polo player, which adorns a few of my shirts, is nicely understated if a bit yuppified. I wouldn’t be caught dead, however, buying or wearing one of these American Living logo-adorned shirts if they were on the $5.99 rack. I wish I could represent the especially hideous blue casual short with the huge, hideous logo that’s on the American Living homepage.

The dress shirts and the like I see on the website have the logo in the collar label, not the pocket. That was wise. But I dislike the logo enough to keep from buying the dress shirts too.

What exactly is it that JCP thinks it is tapping into here? yes, there is optimism in the air for a new President. But the rest of the world certainly is doing its best to make me feel bad about being an American when I travel abroad. Intramurally, we are trying to convince ourselves that a Recession can be averted as we drive by streets of vacant and foreclosed houses. A discreet Eagle for a logo would have sufficed. Even an artful Turkey, Benjamin Franlin’s choice for a national bird, would have been better and more unique.

Did JCP and RL actually focus group this design or the name?If so, i want to see the tapes to see how badly they were done.

The phrase “American Living” also hits me as being a name that Whirlpool might have created to describe almond colored refrigerators and dishwashers in 1975.

I’m just not getting this in case you couldn’t tell.