Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Oct 10, 2014

Y&R bags Old Navy in China amid launch criticism

SHANGHAI - Y&R is tipped to have taken on Old Navy's creative account around July after the opening of its first store in mainland China in March 2014.

Very little about the Old Navy opening was Chinese in execution
Very little about the Old Navy opening was Chinese in execution

The win is a natural addition to the agency's client roster since it already works for Old Navy parent company Gap.

Old Navy's debut in Shanghai was prominently Americana-style in branding with performances by a USC Trojan marching band and cheerleaders in stars and stripes.

The departure from localisation (typical for new brand launches in China) appears to be the brand's strategy for the market, but is considered to be "likely a doomed one" even by US media.

BBH handled short-term advertising duties for the brand. The agency clarified to Campaign Asia-Pacific that it worked with Old Navy on a two-month project basis to launch its store at the beginning of the year.

"We had no expectations beyond that single assignment... thankfully," said a BBH source. The scope of work was purely in-store activation with no above-the-line campaigns. Separately, Ogilvy handled public relations for the launch.

Industry observers who did not wish to be named added that the relationship between BBH and Old Navy's China representatives was reportedly "not smooth" due to a "clash of personalities" and "creative differences" (see work below).

 

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