The Gap's Celebrity Endorser Strategy Not Working

Has the Gap, the retailing icon of American style, lost its marketing way? Some experts think so, and the primary reason is because of an overdependence on celebrity endorsers. Every marketer knows the potential pitfalls of relying on a celebrity to hawk your product or service. Marketing lore is rife with stories of famous spokespeople being arrested or somehow embarrassing themselves publicly while also appearing in a new ad campaign. While Gap's celebrity problem does not involve any scandalous hijinks, the retailer has been accused of just doing the same thing over and over and paying too much money for it. Gap's fall campaign, with "it" girl Joss Stone splashed all over the country, is the latest in a long-running series of celebrity-centric campaigns for the retailer. Season after season the retailer has hired big-gun celebrities such as Macy Gray, Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna as endorsers. And season after season sales have slipped, with Gap Inc. reporting the worst performance of the last three years earlier this month--a 7 percent decline in comp-store sales.
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