The Portland, Ore. shop was awarded a TV advertising assignment for a campaign that may amount to $15 million in ad spending for the hip, but financially harried fashion retailer, according to sources in the production community.
Executives at The Gap and Wieden & Kennedy did not return calls.
Executives at The Gap began quiet discussions with Wieden & Kennedy and Milton, Mass.-based Heater Easdon Advertising in May (ADWEEK, May 31). That move followed company executives' decision late last year to dump a TV campaign created in-house that they admitted hadn't worked.
Though The Gap enjoyed double-digit sales gains through 1991, like most fashion retailers it was hit last year by a slowdown in consumer purchasing. That trend, coupled with some admitted fashion mistakes and competition from copycat manufacturers, led to a 12.4% profit decline for third quarter 1992 - the company's first-ever profit downturn. For the full year, 1992 earnings plummeted again to $211 million on sales of $3 billion. That compares with 1991 earnings of $230 million on sales of $2.5 billion.
Analysts said then The Gap's much-maligned campaign, featuring an avant-garde poet called Max Blagg in a $12-million TV blitz, was a step away from the kind of value-oriented message the company needed to drive sales in the '90s.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)