Banana Republic Tells ‘City Stories’

NEW YORK Banana Republic has tapped nine musicians to tell its “City stories” this spring. The new ad campaign will feature Grammy-nominated artists such as Sara Bareilles, Tommy Torres and Liz Phair, and Grammy-winning band OK Go!

Each performer is photographed in the store’s spring and summer 2009 apparel and accessories, with New York City as a backdrop.

The series of print, outdoor, online and direct mail advertisements were developed with Banana Republic’s advertising agency, AR. In-store window displays, debuting Feb. 18, will kick off the effort.

“By tapping into their passion for music, the campaign brings to life Banana Republic’s tradition of city style,” said Peter DeLuca, CMO of Banana Republic, in a statement. “We want this campaign to strike an emotional chord with Banana Republic customers.”

The campaign’s online component, at, will feature interviews with the artists, free music downloads and unplugged performances. In a partnership with Virgin America, “City stories” musicians will air March 1-June 31 on in-flight entertainment channel RED, becoming its first branded channel. iTunes, another partner, has developed a free album download as a gift with purchases from Feb. 17-26.

The retailer is hoping the campaign helps reverse its recent spate of double-digit same-store sales declines. Its January, same-store sales were off 22 percent, per parent company Gap Inc.

Banana Republic spent $25 million-plus in measured media for the first 11 months of 2008 (excluding online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In 2007, it doled out $40 million.