Gap Said to Pick New Agency

Gap may designate Crispin Porter + Bogusky for the Gap brand, according to sources. The brand has worked with Laird + Partners since 2002.

Just like it did this year with Old Navy, Gap Inc. appears ready to crank up the advertising on its Gap brand.

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Gap has been conducting an agency review and is likely to designate Crispin Porter + Bogusky for the Gap brand, according to sources. It’s the same ad firm that does the campaign for the company’s Old Navy division. There could be cost savings by utilizing the same agency for two divisions, though Gap is said to be pleased with Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s quirky campaign for Old Navy, which features “SuperModelquins.” Although they’re mannequins, not live models, they have names, catty personalities and a penchant for getting into each other’s business and checking out each other’s jeans.

The Miami- and Boulder, Colo.-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky has a reputation for provocative campaigns. It recently scored big with Burger King’s “Whopper Freakout” ads, but flopped when it paired Jerry Seinfeld with Bill Gates in ads for Microsoft.

“We are still in the final stages of selecting an agency to partner with Gap brand for holiday 2009,” said a Gap spokeswoman on Tuesday. A CP+B spokeswoman referred calls to Gap.

Laird + Partners has been Gap’s agency since 2002 and was among the firms participating in a shoot-out.

Meanwhile, management is gaining confidence in Gap brand products and wants to be more in front of consumers to reverse declining traffic and market share trends.

In his first-quarter conference call, Gap Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Glenn Murphy acknowledged the need for increased marketing spend at Gap. The company plans a denim relaunch in August, to be followed by stronger marketing. “I do feel confident with the product at Gap,” he said. “We are really finding a way to speak to the customer.”

Last quarter, marketing costs for the corporation rose 3.2 percent to $96 million due to increased spending at Old Navy and Athleta, acquired in September.