Athleta Launches First National Campaign, Tagline: 'Power to the She'

Growing Gap Inc. Brand Is Boosting Ad Spend in 2012

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Athleta is kicking off the new year with an inaugural tagline and its first national campaign, "Power to the She."

Athleta ad: 'Power to the She.'
Athleta ad: 'Power to the She.'

The Gap Inc.-owned athletic brand partnered with Peterson Milla Hooks to create the tagline and campaign, which will launch this week. Gap Inc. doesn't break out sales for Athleta, though it has called it a brand with "huge" potential and is investing in stores with premium locations, such as Manhattan's Upper West Side and Los Angeles' The Grove shopping center. By mid-January, the brand will operate 10 stores, and it has plans for 50 stores by the end of 2013.

"As we're growing, we recognize the opportunity to have a creative platform and a brand campaign. It seemed like a good time to launch something compelling," said Tess Roering, Athleta's VP-marketing and creative. "We really haven't had a tagline before. We've played with things but nothing has really stuck. When PMH brought this to us, it felt so right."

Athleta spent just $400,000 on measured media in 2010, according to Kantar Media, though that figure jumped to $7.3 million in the first 10 months of 2011. Ms. Roering declined to name the brand's 2012 advertising budget, though she said it is larger than the 2011 budget.

PMH, a Minneapolis-based independent shop, teamed up with Athleta as part of a four-month project. Ms. Roering says that Athleta is still too small to require a full-time agency, though it's open to working with the agency again. The brand's internal creative team handles the bulk of marketing activities, while PHD handles media buying.

The campaign, "Power to the She," will include print, digital, in-store marketing, sponsorships and partnerships. Initial ads have a New Year's resolution vibe, with copy reading "Find a job. Find the one. Have one. Have two. Roast a chicken. Cut bangs. Run. Breathe. ... We kick asphalt. Power to the She."

Ms. Roering said the campaign is the first time the brand has "dug in deep with what our consumer is consuming, what media she's spending time with." There are the usual suspects: Runner's World, Yoga Journal, Fitness and Shape. But Athleta will also appear in general-interest titles like Real Simple and In Style. One of the more interesting places it will turn up is Sports Illustrated.

"We learned that our customer over-indexed to an extreme measure in watching sports. She went to college and loves to follow her college basketball and football teams," Ms. Roering said. "We also know she's interested in the Olympics, and it's an Olympics year."

As part of Athleta's new push, it is also expanding its title sponsorship of Iron Girl with a co-branded training program and is preparing to announce a national partnership with the nonprofit Girls on the Run.

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