GAP NAMES MARKETING EXEC FOR FLAGSHIP BRAND

LB Works' Jeff Jones Fills Long-Vacant Post

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Gap Inc. has raided Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett again, tapping the president of Burnett's technology division, LB Works, to be its new executive vice president of marketing for its flagship Gap brand.

Jeff Jones, whose LB Works is being folded

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into Burnett at the end of February, fills a vacancy that has been empty since the departure of Peter Hempel in July 2002. Mr. Jones, 36, will oversee marketing for numerous brands -- including Gap, GapKids, babyGap and GapBody -- starting in April.

Close attention to marketing
Gap Inc.'s president-CEO, Paul Pressler, has been paying close attention to the marketing function at all Gap divisions, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, since joining the company in September 2002. Burnett last year conducted a sweeping consumer segmentation study, from which Gap has been using findings in recent marketing efforts.

In June 2003, the company hired a former Burnett executive vice president and group account director, Susan Wayne, to the senior marketing post at Old Navy. Priot to that, Jack Calhoun was named executive vice president of marketing. And Mr. Calhoun's Banana Republic unit last week hired Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to handle an advertising assignment after a long review process.

One executive close to the company said Mr. Pressler has been weighing the possibility of hiring an overall marketing chief, though a representative for Gap said: "We have no plans to reinstate the CMO position at Gap Inc. Mr. Jones will report directly to Gap brand President Gary Muto."

Laird & Partners
Whether Mr. Jones appointment will have any effect on Gap's creative agency of record, Laird & Partners, remains unclear. Laird has produced numerous eye-catching campaigns, including one this past fall featuring Madonna and Missy Elliott. Like most retailers, Gap Inc. units have large in-house advertising staffs.

Mr. Jones said it would take some time for him to get his arms around the Gap brand but already has some ideas about what it offers.

"It has this incredible lifetime value in terms of the consumer that most brands would kill for. But somewhere along way, its prolific [offerings] have allowed the brand to be taken for granted more than it should," Mr. Jones told AdAge.com. "I'd like to see a more tightly integrated approach" in the advertising.

Too soon to tell
He joked that all of his friends are expecting request for proposals, but he emphasized he needs time to get to know the brand and its sub-brands before making any decisions about the future advertising or its partners.

"All apparel and specialty retailers are very visual brands, and one of the things I want this brand to have is more dialogue and more voice to allow consumer to have experiences with it in different ways," he said.

Mr. Jones said there have been no discussions with his LB Works creative partner, Steffan Postaer, who left the agency at the end of the year.

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