Laird’s Gap Is ‘Groovy’ for Spring

NEW YORK Frankie Rayder jumps on top of a park bench, Maggie Rizer slides down a handrail and Kiara gives a curbside puddle a splash in Gap’s new spring campaign from Laird + Partners.

Four 30-second spots, which break Tuesday on all major networks, spot markets and cable, have the models frolicking to two re-mixed versions of the Simon and Garfunkel 1967 tune, “Feelin’ Groovy.” One version is re-interpreted by soul singer Angie Stone and another by Mya. “Fit to feel groovy—GapStretch—the new pants” is the tagline that ends each spot.

This is the third Gap campaign from Laird, the New York agency started last March by longtime Donna Karan creative director Trey Laird. In December, the San Francisco-based retailer turned to Leo Burnett to develop long-term marketing strategies; the Chicago shop was not involved in the spring effort, according to a Gap representative.

The spots were directed by fashion lensman Mikael Jansson, who photographed Gap’s celebrity-centric fall print ads that carried the tag, “For every generation.” Jansson has collaborated with Laird on Donna Karan and DKNY shoots in the past.

The most recent Gap campaign was a holiday effort that featured people wearing striped and colorful sweaters, scarves and gloves. TV spots used the music from the song, “Love Train.”

The latest effort comes as Gap refocuses on basic clothing styles and its parent, Gap Inc., rebounds from year-ago losses. On Thursday, the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $249 million or 27 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $34 million or four cents per share. For full-year 2002, the company posted a net income of $477 million or 54 cents per share, versus a net loss of $8 million or one cent per share in 2001.

Sales for Gap Inc., which also owns Banana Republic and Old Navy, improved 14 percent to $4.7 billion, compared to $4.1 billion for Q4 2001. Fourth-quarter same-store sales rose 8 percent, versus a 16 percent decline in the year-ago period.

The financial results “reflect the hard work and progress made in our turnaround efforts across all three brands,” Gap Inc. president and CEO Paul Pressler said in a statement. “Strong margin performance indicates our customers are responding to product improvements. Looking to 2003, we will continue to focus on improving our balance sheet, managing costs and creating sustainable growth strategies for our brands.”

Pressler, a former Walt Disney theme park executive, replaced Millard “Mickey” Drexler last fall.