Banana Republic Taps NBA Star Kevin Love for Spring Campaign

Cleveland Cavs Player Is the Gap Inc.-owned Brand's Inaugural Style Ambassador for the Men's Business

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Kevin Love partners with Banana Republic as style ambassador.
Kevin Love partners with Banana Republic as style ambassador. Credit: Banana Republic

Banana Republic is shooting for the stars with its new style ambassador. The Gap Inc.-owned brand announced Thursday that it has tapped NBA player Kevin Love, an Olympics gold medalist, as its inaugural style ambassador for its men's business. He will appear in the San Francisco-based clothier's spring campaign, which debuts March 8.

"Our customers are always looking for inspiration and are particularly engaged when inspirational figures are able to share their style," said Aimee Lapic, senior VP and general manager of customer experience at Banana Republic. "Kevin has such a full and dynamic life; his attitude, personality and style will really resonate with our male audience."

Mr. Love, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympics team in 2012, will appear across all of Banana Republic's brand channels.

"Since I am always on the move, it is important that my clothes are not only stylish, but are functional as well," said Mr. Love in a statement. "Banana Republic absolutely hits the mark on both."

The Kevin Love initiative was executed in-house.

Banana Republic has had its share of struggles recently. The chain, which has 673 stores globally, including 612 in North America, was the poorest performer of Gap Inc.'s brands last year, reporting a 10% decline in same-store sales. By comparison, same-store sales at Gap were down 6% in 2015. Old Navy's same-store sales were flat.

On a recent conference call, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck explained that Banana Republic had a misstep with merchandise, which was too fashion-heavy and trendy for customers. In recent months, the brand has returned to its classic apparel roots—such product, including floral dresses and blazers for women and checked linen shirts for men, began appearing in Banana Republic's assortment in February.

"We have centered on the classic, appropriate, expected aesthetics of the brand," said Mr. Peck on the call. "And I feel much more comfortable that we are on track as we get into spring, summer and then fall this year."

Gap has also reined in Banana Republic's marketing spend. Last year, the brand spent $14.3 million on measured media, a 54% drop over 2014, according to Kantar Media. The decline follows a 39% decrease between 2014 and 2013. Ms. Lapic declined to disclose how much the brand is spending on the current marketing.

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