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Old Navy Ads Get New Look

Gap Inc., already high profile and celebrity-oriented with its advertising, is getting even more marketing-driven as it builds a roster of agencies working for its brands.

NEW YORK — Gap Inc., already high profile and celebrity-oriented with its advertising, is getting even more marketing-driven as it builds a roster of agencies working for its brands.

It’s an attempt to resonate with target audiences after recent disappointing sales, which fell 4 percent in the first quarter and 8 percent in May, on a comp-store basis.

In the latest move, the Old Navy division hired the StrawberryFrog agency to create a fall print and TV campaign. StrawberryFrog has done campaigns for Sprint, Mitsubishi, IKEA and MTV, among others.

However, the parent Gap Inc. said Old Navy will continue to utilize Deutsch Inc., which began working with the chain last fall. Deutsch produced the fall 2004 “Feel Good Fashion” campaign for Old Navy and will be focusing on interactive and specialized advertising for teens, according to Gap.

“Deutsch is still one of our agency partners. It’s an Old Navy strategy to have a small group of highly creative agencies to work with — rather than one agency of record. It’s not a Gap Inc. strategy,” said spokeswoman Kris Marubio.

Deutsch’s campaigns involved gypsy skirts last summer and tunic outfits last fall. At Old Navy, “We are moving to a model of a roster of agencies,” utilizing different agencies depending on the campaign, Marubio said.

Old Navy, which has about 900 stores in North America, is opening 200 new stores through 2007 and is planning brand extensions, such as maternity, plus sizes, accessories and personal care.

This year, the Gap brand also began utilizing more than one agency. It uses Laird & Partners for Gap Women’s, GapBody, and babyGap, as well as Gap men’s wear internationally, and Crispin Porter+Bogusky for men’s wear in North America. Goodby Silverstein & Partners is Banana Republic’s advertising agency.

There have been questions about the effectiveness of some recent campaigns, based on company performance. The Sarah Jessica Parker campaign ended about two months ago, after concluding a three-season contract. Parker was replaced by musician Joss Stone.

As previously reported, one of Gap’s marketing strategies is to create interactive experiences for its customers, including “guerrilla marketing and grassroots tactics” for jeans, as well as spending more in nontraditional media. The company also announced a fourth brand, Forth & Towne, which will cater to women ages 35 and older and which will start opening stores in the fall.