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The delicate art of the corporate apology ad

There's no better way to indicate you've learned from your mistakes, it seems, than to gaudily acknowledge them in the most public way possible. Recently, several brands have taken to the airwaves to tell viewers that they've learned from their missteps. None of these missteps were as grave as the racist statements Paula Deen had to apologize for recently -- but then, the apologies don't seem nearly as deeply felt as her weepy, complicated video messages. The brands are just trying to dictate to potential customers that things are great.

The department store JCPenney, which has seen collapsing sales amid a revised policy ending short-term discounts, has been broadcasting an ad indicating "Some changes you liked, and some you didn't. But what matters with mistakes is what you learn." The discounts are back, but the ad puts an odd gloss on JCPenney's difficult period -- customers have flat-out rejected the store in general, and none of the changes were met with approval.

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