On verge of selection, Gap aborts firm search

SAN FRANCISCO: Gap has shelved an agency search for its eponymous brand, just as the company was set to make a decision.

SAN FRANCISCO: Gap has shelved an agency search for its eponymous brand, just as the company was set to make a decision.

Gap began the search for a new US AOR in October to help its namesake brand move beyond a focus on fashion.

The process was scrapped, according to Kyle Andrew, VP of marketing, because, with major changes having been made among the senior leadership recently, marketers there felt that it was best to indefinitely shelve the search until the brand defines its priorities and strategies.

The three finalists were Edelman, Hill & Knowlton, and Weber Shandwick. All have already made final presentations.

"We've hired a lot of new people, and some of them haven't started yet," added Andrew. "These are people who have influence and drive the priorities for the brand and its sub-brands."

Those personnel changes include John Wyatt joining as president of GapBody, Pamela Wallack becoming EVP overseeing GapKids, babyGap, and Gap Maternity, and Charlotte Neuville being named as EVP of design and product development for the brand.

Gap will work with firms on a freelance basis, potentially including the three finalists, noted Andrew. She declined to say when the agency review would resume.

The account, part of a move to position Gap as a lifestyle brand, not just a fashion purveyor, was to have included all of Gap's related brands, including Gap Body and babyGap.

Gap and its eponymous parent company have seen better days. In early January, the company reported that total sales for all of its brands fell 5% over the past month and are off 2% so far in the fiscal year ending January 28. At Gap stores, sales in December were down 10% over the previous year.

Gap will announce its 2005 fourth-quarter earnings on February 23.

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