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When Michael McCadden picked up his office phone one day this spring, on the line were Gap co-founders Donald Fisher and wife Doris, who was screaming.

Ms. Fisher, it seems, was responding to "Jump Jive, an' Wail" in a Gap TV spot for its khakis, featuring the swing music of Louis Prima. In the two years since his arrival, Mr. McCadden, now exec VP-marketing for Gap, GapKids and BabyGap, has put Gap on outdoor boards, in the movies and back on TV after a hiatus of five years. In short order, he put Gap online and then instituted online sales. Online sales were soon comparable to the chain's top-selling units..

In what was once a design, manufacturing and retail-driven company, Mr. McCadden has worked to elevate marketing to a new level, where his department is involved from top to bottom in helping execute the product and themes changing every six week in the miles of Gap windows nationwide.

Perhaps just as important as the phone call from the Fishers, Gap President-CEO Mickey Drexler has given a good measure of credit to the advertising and marketing for the Gap's Wall Street success, with comparable store sales increasing 17% for the quarter, compared with a decrease of 3% the previous year.

The kudos are a long way from Mr. McCadden's start in the business world, running a small ballet company in Alabama. Since then, Mr. McCadden, 39, has rung up a resume that includes Gillette, Calvin Klein and Coach.

One of the secrets to his success, says Mr. McCadden is that he considers advertising from the position of the marketer, looking at ads as more than artistic perfection. Each must answer questions such as "Is this ad a PR [public relations] gift or nightmare? Will either the youth or older customer accept or reject it?"

Once those questions are addressed, he says, "This brand can do anything we want it to do."

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