Friday, June 23, 2006

Gapping Down...and Out?

Old Navy Announces Six Finalists in Nationwide Search for New Canine Mascot

Well, that’s a relief.

In a press release up which I am not making, Old Navy announces it has found six dogs, of which one will be chosen as a new mascot. Better yet, we all get to vote which dog will be the winner!

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Old Navy announces the six finalists in the brand's nationwide search for a new canine mascot. The finalists have been selected by a panel of celebrity judges as possible replacements for the much-loved mutt, Magic, a canine "spokesdog" who appeared in Old Navy's advertisements in the late nineties. Now America will choose the winner -- Old Navy is asking customers to "vote for the dog they dig"

For those us who haven’t been inside an Old Navy since the last dog was around—which is most of us, judging by the chain’s recent comp store sales (negative 8%, compared with negative 8% the prior year)—this is not so much news as a head-scratching turn of events for a franchise that lost relevance long ago.

Perhaps—and this is just a suggestion—the folks at Old Navy and its parent, Gap Inc., should be focused on human customers rather than canine marketing tools in order to reverse the long-term decline in business at what once was Gap Stores’ growth engine.

What’s next—a revival of “Fall Into the Gap”?

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2006 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Tahoe Kid said...

Hopefully Old Navy's six finalists are not among these 6 (retail) dogs: Pier One (1 year return:-46%), Cost Plus (-41%), Tuesday Morning (-41%), Radio Shack (-39%), The Bombay Company (-57%)and Gap Stores (-13%).

TimingLogic said...

ARRRRRFFFF!!! Or should it be BARF! I've worked as a consultant to segments of the retail industry for much of my life. Yeah, supply chain optimization is important, reducing cycle times from design to store is important, best practices technology is important, data analysis and consumer trends are important but the reality is you've got to have something in the store that people want. It simply comes down to merchandising. I'm not sure what a mascot has to do with stocking the stores with merchandise the consumer wants. Maybe I'm missing something. When your business is deteriorating rapidly a little laser focus on merchandising might be beneficial. They should pick a lap dog because that is what the once all powerful Gap brand has become.

There is a theme here. He's also on the board of the terribly incompetent but once powerful Avon Products and he used to run Disney Stores, a unit that is being chucked. It looks like he brought his Mickey Mouse ways with him to The Gap.

Why in God's name can't this GAP CEO, who is being paid gazillions, get his sh*t together? The board has been way too lax with his underperformance while paying him a totally ridiculous amount of money to grind the once great brands of Gap, BR and Old Navy into also-rans. This guy has got to GO and send the board with him!

rkb said...

It seems, and this is just an observation, that Old Navy must be losing sales to discount retailers (Target and the like). Old Navy used to have a near lock on the low-end yet still fashionable clothing market. Old Navy has not changed, yet other retailers have now added 'exclusive designers' and are more on-top of the trends.

econjohn said...

A cute new puppy mascot won't make me forget the buttons popping off my $9 shirt after one washing or the boxers my wife bought for me that unfurled from their elastic within a couple of months...

ModenaF1 said...

'Gone to the Dogs'....seems like an appropriate tagline!

BelowTheCrowd said...

A recurring theme here is the corporate marketers not realizing that they're in a whole new world and that trying to make news out of totally manufactured events just isn't working anymore.

As you pointed out the other day, coke just can't deal with the fact that a bunch of dumb homemade videos are getting their product more attention and millions in advertising, and Old Navy remains as completely oblivious.