GAP ISSUES RFP FOR A MEDIA BUYING AGENCY

Work Includes Gap Stores, Old Navy and Banana Republic Brands

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Gap Inc. has begun a search for a media buying agency, the company said today.

The Gap has traditionally handled all of its marketing

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and media buying in-house and through assignments with media-buying agencies such as Publicis Groupe's Starcom. But now, according to a spokeswoman, it has issued a request for proposals for broadcast media buying for its three brands: Gap stores, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

The review is being handled by Susan Kettler, Gap's senior director of media, according to the spokeswoman. Gap has reported 2002 advertising costs of $496 million for all three brands, she said.

U.S. TV buying
The request covers U.S. TV media buying only, the spokeswoman said.

The review is the latest move by the Gap under its new president-CEO, Paul Pressler, to revamp its marketing. In December, Mr. Pressler made his first moves toward repositioning the retailer as a more traditional consumer-marketing firm by hiring Publicis' Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, as agency for a strategic positioning assignment.

In a recent call with analysts, Mr. Pressler said he expected the shop to issue the first phase in its customer segmentation by brands in the early spring.

Traditionally in-house
While Gap Inc. has relied primarily on its in-house resources, the Gap stores brand over the years has hired advertising agencies on a season-by-season basis. The most recent spots airing for Gap stores are from Laird & Partners, New York, which has worked on the account for about a year.

Old Navy and Banana Republic marketing have been handled in-house. While Old Navy has upped its TV budget in recent years, Banana Republic has had limited TV exposure and relied primarily on print and outdoor ads.

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