Smart & Creative Advertising, Banana Republic’s “City Stories” Campaign


“We want this campaign to strike an emotional chord with Banana Republic customers,” said Peter DeLuca, Chief Marketing Officer for Banana Republic. “By tapping into their passion for music, the campaign brings to life Banana Republic’s tradition of city style along with a level of inspiration and optimism that is as refreshing as Spring should be.”

I’m thoroughly impressed with Banana Republic’s “City Stories” Campaign. Cheers to smart and creative advertising! It’s interesting to witness the ways in which the music industry is changing and the increasing role of music in advertisements (and I don’t mean jingles). In this case, it’s not just an exciting new song bringing life to a particular product in a commercial (like Yael Naim’s “New Soul” in the MacBook Air commercial). The musician and their respective image or brand is equally as important in portraying the eclectic side of Banana Republic. 

 The new ads feature nine Grammy-nominated artist/performers (David Garrett, Liz Phair, Chris Carrabba, Tommy Torres, David Sanchez, OK GO, Esperanza Spalding, Ayo and Sara Bareilles), each photographed in BR’s spring and summer 2009 apparel, with New York City as the backdrop.

 City Stories is meant to reflect Banana Republic’s modern look and enduring style while highlighting the vibrant energy of the city. The “eclectic pool of musical talent “who “echo the multicultural richness of the city” share their unique, creative experiences with a city of their choosing. Each artist is featured on the Banana Republic website, with a biography, behind-the-scenes interview, unplugged performance, free music download and streaming music sample. 

iTunes gift cards were given to customers with purchase from February 17 to 26, redeemable for a free compilation of songs by the participating artists. From March 1st through June 31, 2009, Banana Republic’s “City Stories” will be available on RED, Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system, as the first-ever branded channel.

It’s obviously an incredible opportunity for the artists involved as the exposure is tremendous and potentially expands their target audience into new demographics. OK Go gets to be exposed to financially stable individuals- the Banana Republic customer, the young and self-expressive professional. In turn, Banana Republic seems a little more hip and may appeal to a younger, creative crowd (the type that may not a wear suit to work).

The campaign speaks volumes about the power of music and it’s ability to elicit an emotional reaction/connection. It also shows that the artist or band’s brand is a key factor in cutting through the clutter and competition of mass media and establishing a deeper emotional connection with a target audience.

Check out this great article about music in advertising, the jingle — but one created by a superstar musician:


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