J.C. Penney's Typo-Riddled Tweets Attract 'Free Media'

Free media is when you get exposure that's better than advertising. The company sent out some tweets during the Super Bowl but there were a lot of typos. The mistakes gained national attention. The company said it had been tweeting while wearing mittens — products Penney was promoting.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our Last Word In Business is free media, what you get when you get media exposure better than advertising.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It costs between $3- and $5 million to buy a commercial in last night's Super Bowl. That's not counting the payroll for the stars.

INSKEEP: It's not clear how much advertisers paid Sarah McLachlan to be attacked by a dog, or to have Bob Dylan declare: We will build your car.

MONTAGNE: J.C. Penney found a far cheaper way to gain attention. Whoever runs the company's Twitter account just sent out a couple of tweets full of typos.

INSKEEP: Early on, a Penney tweet said the score was like a baseball game, except it was spelled ballaballgumla(ph). Later, after a touchdown, a tweet called it a tough down.

MONTAGNE: The mistakes gained massive attention. People asked if the account had been hacked, or if J.C. Penney needed a designated driver.

INSKEEP: No. They said they were tweeting with mittens, a product J.C. Penney was promoting. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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