LOS ANGELES — Sarah Jessica Parker finally hooked up with Mr. Big on “Sex and the City,” but now she’s got a real commitment — a six-month advertising deal with the Gap.
Parker, who became a fashion icon in the HBO series as she strutted in her Manolo Blahniks and wore designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Westwood and Chanel, has signed with the San Francisco-based retailer to appear in its new marketing campaign. The blitz is set to hit television and magazines at the end of August, the company said Wednesday.
Parker will star in the campaign, which gives a nod to Gap’s 35 years in business, and will appear both alone and with other as-yet-unnamed artists. Individual style and the spirit and heritage of Gap will be the subject of ads, but the company would not disclose details, said Gap spokeswoman Erica Archambault. The New York ad firm Laird+Partners, Gap’s agency for the past two years, will shape the message.
Led by former Disney executive Paul Pressler, the Gap has gone from two and a half years of same-store sales declines to steady increases since October 2002. First-quarter profits shot up 55 percent, while sales gained 9.4 percent and comps rose 7 percent.
Parker “is the face of the decade,” said retail analyst Marsha Jong of the Los Angeles investment firm Sanders Morris Harris. “This is just another thing that will keep the engine going.”
The amount of Parker’s contract was not disclosed, and neither the actress nor her publicists could be reached for comment.
“The moment you say individuality to me, the image I get in my head is Sarah Jessica Parker,” said Trey Laird, president and executive creative director of the ad company. Rather than crediting “Sex and the City” costume designer Patricia Field for Parker’s street-couture style, “I think it’s totally her. I know her. She is that person. She’s the person who takes risks and mixes things up.”
The actress will appear in ads through the rest of the year, in contrast with the Gap’s dream team from last season, Madonna and Missy Elliot, who made one-time appearances in television and print campaigns.
“It’s the first time we’re working with a celebrity on a broader scale other than a one-time appearance,” Archambault said.
Gap president Gary Muto said in a statement that Parker, who in private life has a young son and is married to Matthew Broderick, presents the ideal image. “Gap has always been about individual style, and no one represents this philosophy better than Sarah Jessica Parker,” he said. “She looks as amazing in jeans as she does in couture. And no matter what she’s wearing, she always adds her own style and flair.”
Gap’s collaboration with celebrities is not new ground for the 1,500-store U.S. operation. Since the Eighties, Demi Moore, John Malkovich, Mike Myers, Anjelica Huston, Kate Beckinsale, Ashton Kutcher, Winona Ryder and Isabella Rossellini have all endorsed the brand.
“We pay them, but we don’t disclose terms of agreement,” Archambault said. “So many icons in the fashion and music industry have been featured, and there’s something that comes with that. People love what the Gap brand stands for. It’s classic American style.”