Old Navy Bows New Ad Campaign after Publicly Criticizing Previous Push

Search for New CMO Continues While Retailer Launches 'Funnovations Inc.'

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Move over "Old Navy Records," and make way for "Funnovations Inc."

Old Navy is officially scrapping the marketing campaign led by departed chief marketing officer Amy Curtis-McIntyre in favor of a completely new campaign, Funnovations Inc., which will debut Thursday and be in heavy rotation, with new creative debuting almost weekly, through the holiday season.

Old Navy Records, which replaced the Supermodelquins campaign in February, failed to drive traffic and was deemed "ineffective" by Glenn Murphy, Gap Inc.'s chairman-CEO. Old Navy execs had been working to evolve the campaign to better connect with target consumers -- 25- to 35-year-old women -- but Tom Wyatt, Old Navy's president, said that the overall concept just didn't resonate. The retailer posted positive sales at stores open at least a year in just two of the eight months the campaign ran. Sales results for October will be reported on Thursday.

The retailer's marketing needs to be an ongoing conversation, he said, while Old Navy Records was a "one-off conversation," with each spot linked by music but with a new cast of characters and creative concept. "We have four tenants that need to be embedded in anything we do: family, fashion, fun and value," Mr. Wyatt said. "Fashion and, to a degree, entertainment, showed up in the music campaign, but I didn't see family embedded, and I didn't see fun as embedded as what we did with Supermodelquins or this new campaign."

Despite those criticisms, Mr. Wyatt was complimentary of Crispin, which has handled Old Navy's $220 million account since 2008. "We feel strongly about the relationship and creative spirit they bring to our brand," he said. "I'm excited about what we're doing collectively."

Mr. Wyatt is serving as acting CMO and spearheading the Funnovations Inc. campaign until a replacement for Ms. Curtis-McIntyre, who departed in June, can be found. It's familiar territory. Mr. Wyatt was also acting CMO when Supermodelquins launched in February 2009.

"We do have a search ongoing, and it's our desire to land the appropriate CMO. At the same time, business goes on," Mr. Wyatt said. "I felt comfortable bringing Supermodelquins to life, and I'm very comfortable bringing Funnovations along the same way."

Mr. Wyatt downplayed the notion that the retailer could have difficulty finding a CMO, given that the efforts of the last CMO were so publicly criticized and that Mr. Wyatt himself led the most successful campaign in recent memory. "We have a litany of people that are, quite frankly, eager to talk to us and have been talking to us about the CMO position," he said. "This is a big brand and a coveted role in our company."

Funnovations Inc. is being billed as the place where the brand's "quirkiest, craziest ideas are born and tested." The campaign's tagline is "Come fun, Come all." In the launch spot workers strive to get just the right amount of "puff" into Old Navy's winter jackets. There's also a strong value message and call to action -- for one week kids jackets start at $20, adults at $29 -- something that execs have said Old Navy Records lacked. The campaign will be incorporated into all of the retailer's communications and present throughout the store experience, Mr. Wyatt said.

"This campaign dials up the fun, it's more like Supermodelquins," Mr. Wyatt said. "Fun is the tenant that we feel like is strongly our own. A lot of people sell clothes, but not everyone sells them with the spirit we do."

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