Digital Conference

Traction for Music-and-Shazam Ads That Replaced Old Navy's Supermodelquins

How Some Mobile Apps Are Creating the Real Interactive TV

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Old Navy is seeing strong early traction for the music-focused campaign that replaced its longstanding Supermodelquins effort, Old Navy marketing chief Amy Curtis-McIntyre said at the Ad Age Digital Conference.

Exec VP-advertising for Shazam, Evan Krauss, address the audience while Old Navy CMO Amy Curtis-McIntyre looks on.
Exec VP-advertising for Shazam, Evan Krauss, address the audience while Old Navy CMO Amy Curtis-McIntyre looks on. Credit: Rob Tannenbaum

Old Navy retired its 2-year-old Supermodelquins, staples of its advertising from agency CP&B, earlier this year in favor of a new CP&B campaign involving original music under an Old Navy record label and a tie-in with the song-identifying app Shazam. When consumers open the Shazam app during the retailer's new commercials, it recognizes the song and launches a mobile website with e-commerce links to outfits from the video. The ad agency built the site.

Ms. Curtis-McIntyre joined Old Navy only nine months ago from Hyatt.* "If you love or hate those Supermodelquins: not my fault!" she said. But when the brand decided to returned to music and dance under the banner "Real Music. Real People," the plastic people clearly didn't fit. "Doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize mannequins can't dance," she said.

Old Navy has now produced four original songs, which it promotes in its commercials. Shazam, too, is promoted by the effort, of course; it has seen a spike in downloads since the campaign launched and now has 120 million users, said Evan Krauss, exec VP-advertising for Shazam, who appeared at the conference with Ms. Curtis-McIntyre. "One reason for that is Old Navy," Mr. Krauss said.

The first 1,000 people to use the app on the Old Navy songs received a coupon for free jeans. There's been 70% redemption rate for that offer. Nearly one-third of people that used Shazam during the commercial shopped, downloaded the song or watched the video. When the first commercial ran, the featured song "Super C-U-T-E" became No. 1 on Shazam, beating out Lady Gaga.

"This is not your mother's Old Navy," Ms. Curtis-McIntyre said.

The retailer has also seen positive brand conversations in social media spike and stay high.

"We struggle with social return-on-investment, like everyone," Ms. Curtis-McIntyre said. "I'm not declaring it a transactional phenomena, but from a brand standpoint, our customer is on Facebook and Twitter and, in terms of brand health, seeing those spikes is only good for us."

This mobile component makes sense because although Old Navy's target customers still watch a lot of TV like "American Idol," "Glee" and "Grey's Anatomy," they also watch with a second screen handy. This consumer uses mobile devices for photography, email and texting with her kids. "She's not necessarily using the gazillions of other apps," said Ms. Curtis-McIntyre. "Music is one though, and she's seeking entertainment."

Shazam has made recent moves into identifying TV commercials and shows. While interactive TV has been a much discussed topic, mobile seems to have developed more quickly as an enhancement for TV, Mr. Krauss said, citing a Nielsen Yahoo Mobile study reporting that 86% of viewers use mobile devices while watching TV. When users use Shazam during its partner shows, such as "Royal Pains" on the USA Network, they can access video and mobile wallpapers. Through a similar program, one TV show partner saw its mobile website spike during the day of the Shazam campaign and the five days following. Those traffic levels have remained high.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Ms. Curtis-McIntyre joined Old Navy from JetBlue. She joined from Hyatt.