Banana Republic is launching a meme-powered men’s fashion campaign featuring NFL quarterback Jared Goff facing off against his many fashion alter-egos. Goff, who plays for the Los Angeles Rams, stars opposite himself in everything from a vegan suede utility coat to a cashmere hoodie.
Mary Alderete, CMO of the brand, owned by Gap Inc., fills us in on the football-free campaign.
Marketing Daily: Why is this a departure?
Mary Alderete: In our last campaign, we used [Goff] for our Core Temp product, made him out as a bit badass, running through volcanic ash and fire. This is different, anchored entirely in humorous social memes.
MD: My editor, who isn’t a football fan, thought this was Ryan Gosling. I figured you’d get a kick out of that.
Alderete: Don’t laugh! That’s partly how we got here. They look so much alike that #Goffling is a trending handle on Twitter, and at first, we thought that would be awesome to face Jared off against his doppelganger.
But that turned into the idea of facing Jared off against all the other Jareds, and this fun body-double approach. He’s having dinner with himself, for example, or playing the winner, loser and dealer at a poker game. And that gave us the ability to show his range of style. My favorite is one called #brosbeforeclothes, where he’s kind of his own style wingman.
MD: Did you work with an ad agency?
Alderete: No. Len Peltier, our creative director, and I have been together as a team since we worked at Levi Strauss. Every single asset you see for Banana Republic these days is created by our in-house team.
No footballs. No ad agencies.
MD: Wait. No footballs?
Alderete: Yes, this campaign is 100% football-free. In the past, we worked with Kevin Love for four years, and never showed a basketball, either. We’re not interested in what Jared does in his day job. We are interested in getting access to what he’s like off the field. We want people to know what he’s like as a person. Like, what’s his house like?
MD: Well, what is his house like?
Alderete: We shot the whole campaign at or around his house. That’s his pool. And his putting range. He’s got a big backyard.
MD: A few weeks back, he got that $134 million contract extension, with a $110 million guarantee. That’s an NFL record.
Alderete: Yes. When he got that contract, we posted the Giphy of him cannonballing into his pool, hashtagged #CannonBaller. And when our stylist went back, she found him floating in the pool on a banana float we left. I guess that’s what you do when you make $100 million — you float in your pool.
MD: How would you describe the media plan?
Alderete: Very different than what we’ve done in the past. In addition to the memes that anchor it, which are all on our webpage, we also shot some video, with plenty of outtakes.
We created other single-motion memes, which are on Giphy, so people can use them. This is really social media-driven: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Like on Instagram, we took these sort of fashion mugshots, and people are voting for their favorite fashion looks. It really is all about amplifying the content. We’re trying to get people involved, creating engaging and shareable content so they can interact with our clothes. Fashion is almost always serious. But he makes it look more fun, more effortless, more cool.
MD: What’s the most fun thing about the campaign?
Alderete: We can’t stop coming up with hashtags. A reporter on ESPN asked him what he’d do with all that money, and instead of saying something like a Lamborghini, he said he’d buy a golf cart. So #goffcart. #goffballs. #ohmygoff. We’re hoping they just keep coming.