Banana Republic Talks to 4

NEW YORK Banana Republic, a division of Gap Inc. that handles its advertising in-house, is talking to four agencies about its account, the client confirmed on Monday.

Pursuing the assignment are independent Laird + Partners, which handles Gap brand ads; Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago, which works for Gap corporate; and non-roster shops aR Media, an independent and Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, both in New York, a Gap Inc. representative said.

Billings are $20 million, sources said.

The agencies presented strategic ideas to Banana Republic executives last week, sources said. The client is looking to bring a shop aboard by month’s end for a “long-term relationship,” the rep said. The winner’s first work will debut in the spring. The business has been in-house since 1997.

The client started to explore outside creative resources in the summer [Adweek, June 16], after the arrival of new executive vice president of marketing Jack Calhoun, the former executive vice president of brand management and advertising at Charles Schwab. Another key player in the process is vice president of marketing Laura Jacobs, according to sources.