Anyhow, here's a brief recap of our stories from last week, and this week, along with that snarky commentary that you guys seem to love. So here's a few things that you might have missed.
And now... back to the recap. (We promise some new stories very, very soon!)
Gap Brand Forgoes Spring TV Spot, Amid Tightening Following Rough Quarter
After Gap reported fourth quarter sales of $4.67 billion, a 5% drop from last year, the company had some interesting news on the marketing front.
The company is actively looking to trim costs as it weathers a “volatile economic environment,” said CEO Glenn Murphy, in a conference call to analysts on Feb. 28.
The struggling retailer will reexamine its marketing plans for the second half of 2008, once it has a better understanding of its holiday efforts, said Murphy. “We’re very aware of the environment in which we’re operating in 2008, but not all of our marketing money is being revisited," he said. "Some portion is being re-looked at to make sure it’s being used appropriately, given that consumer sentiment is where it is, and that particularly applies at Old Navy.”
The immediate marketing plans for Old Navy and Banana Republic would remain similar in scope to last year’s, while the company has decided to forgo a spring TV campaign for the Gap brand, said evp/CFO Sabrina Simmons.
The primary focus of spring marketing for the namesake division will be print and in-store efforts for the retailer’s footwear collaboration with designer Pierre Hardy, due out in March. Additionally, Gap will launch a capsule T-shirt collection, a design collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which will hit retail stores in April.
Hmm... Doesn't sound good. And add that to the fact that, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Gap already cut its ad spend in half for last year, spending an estimated $55 million (down from $117 million in 2006), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Old Navy spent an estimated $173 million on U.S. ads in 2007, down slightly from $200 million in 2006.
For the full story, click here.
Reebok CMO Uli Becker Moves Into the Driver's Seat as Prez/CEO Harrington Exits
Uli Becker got a jump last week, when the Reebok CMO was named president and CEO of the ailing brand, following the resignation (forced?) of top dog Paul Harrington, who had been with the company for 12 years.
This is actually something of a growing trend across industries, one that we've been keeping track of. In fact, wouldn't you know, we wrote something about it today. Check out that story, about CMOs migrating to the CEO and presidential roles, here.
Back to the relevance, Becker (photo, left) joined Reebok back in May 2006, following his duties as the head of global brand marketing for Adidas (Reebok's parent company) and managing director of Adidas International in Amsterdam. When he joined Reebok, Becker announced his intent to streamline marketing operations and to unify brand messaging, as the athletic footwear and apparel maker sought to turn its business around and reposition itself in the marketplace.
We like him. He's a straight shooting guy who's looking to get all of those mixed messages cleaned up and get the brand on the track to profitability, all with the kind of efficiency you'd expect from a German executive. So we expect good things, hopefully, and, it would appear, so does Adidas jefe principal Herbert Hainer.
"[Paul Harrington] played an instrumental role in managing the integration of Reebok into our group and laid the foundations for the repositioning of the Reebok brand worldwide," said Hainer, chairman and CEO of Adidas, in a statement. "Uli Becker's proven leadership and global marketing expertise make him uniquely qualified to take the revitalization of the Reebok brand to the next level, both internationally and in the US."
Reebok's marketing for 2008 would be focused on women's running and "American major league sports," underscored in the brand's forthcoming "Your Move" campaign, said Hainer. The campaign, previewed last year, aims to cast Reebok as the brand for individuals rather than hardcore athletes and is part of a larger effort for Reebok to capture the sport lifestyle market.
Details regarding a CMO replacement were not available.
McGarryBowen, New York, is the lead ad agency for Reebok. The company's latest ad campaign launched two weeks ago in conjunction with the release of its first "Freestyle World Tour" collection (but, of course, our readers already knew about that). The product line will include five new sneaker and apparel editions, which will roll out during the course of this year. "Freestyle Tokyo," which launched Feb. 21, will be followed by other editions that derive their name and design inspiration from cities like Paris, London, and New York.
Airwalk Looks at MySpace for Brand Models
In its spring 2008 campaign, which hits a variety of alterna- lifestyle titles in June (and it's not the 1990s anymore honey, so we're not talking about gay pubs, but rather the skate/surf/
snowboard glossies), Airwalk went to MySpace for part of its casting call.
In addition to leveraging images of its athletes, including Rodney Jones, the brand cast Lorene Drive, a band that creative director Jeff Buice found on MySpace, to be featured in their ads (check outtake spot, right). Even more interesting is that the ads feature mini-anecdotes from the talent, and directs readers to log onto Airwalk.com to see the full story, and then write in some stories of their own.
Buice told me that the idea is basically to make a social network around ad campaign creative. Yeah, it made us do a double take too. But Airwalk has been on the online game for sometime now, and this is just the latest way that they're engaging with the online market.
"We always do print ads because it still reaches
tons of the demo that we’re going after. But the online component is
growing massively, out of control, for our [consumers]," Buice told me.
"The hook was finding a way to get people to correlate between the two,
while still maintaining a focused, singular strategy."
Intrigued? Check out the full story, here.