Project Is for Print and Outdoor Branding and Creative

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NEW YORK ( -- The Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic chain today named Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, its agency to handle strategic branding and creative for its print and outdoor advertising.

The decision was made following a pitch

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that included Omnicom sibling TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York; Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; and New York independents Laird & Partners and A/R Media.

Goodby's first work will be a fall campaign that it will begin developing shortly, said Jack Calhoun, executive vice president for Banana Republic marketing. A spring campaign breaking in March magazines was handled in-house, he said.

Banana Republic spent $22.2 million in the first three quarters of 2003 and $24.6 million for 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

In-house ad department
Like most retailers, Gap units have large in-house advertising staffs. "Banana Republic's in-house teams will work closely with the agency, and will continue to manage all other forms of communication, including in-store marketing, direct programs, public relations and events," the company said in a statement.

The in-house department has done good work for the brand, Mr. Calhoun said, but the company wanted "to enhance the talent that we had internally" and develop a new direction for its advertising.

Media services will remain at Omnicom's PHD.

In its latest sales report, Gap Inc. reported holiday sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 3 of $2.52 billion, up 2% from the same period in 2002. Sales for Banana Republic led other Gap divisions, however. Banana Republic sales were up 10% vs. 9% in 2002, while sales at Old Navy were up only 2% compared with 9% the previous year. The Gap chain reported flat sales, vs. a sales increase of 3% last year.

The Gap, under CEO Paul Pressler, has begun to change marketing strategies at the chain, looking more to traditional media resources.

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Claire Atkinson contribute to this report.