Old Navy brings in Charlotte Russe exec as CMO

Steve’s breakdown: Not sure if the new CMO, Jamie Gersch, will rock the boat before the Holiday season. She starts at the end of October. But as soon as we ring in the new year, look for her to start rocking’ it Charlotte Russe style cause these Old Navy spots are soooo forced.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Just in time for the all-crucial holiday season, Old Navy has filled its six-month vacant chief marketing officer slot. The Gap Inc.-owned retail chain has tapped Jamie Gersch, most recently CMO at fast-fashion chain Charlotte Russe, as senior VP-chief marketing officer. She starts at the end of October.

Before joining Charlotte Russe last year, Ms. Gersch spent 14 years at Gap Inc., and as VP-marketing at San Francisco-based Old Navy, she oversaw communication strategy across all channels and led annual and seasonal marketing. As CMO of Old Navy, she’s replacing Ivan Wicksteed, who had been with the clothier for three years, recruiting the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in its advertising, before departing in March.

“Jamie’s combination of passion for our brand, experience driving results in the business, cross-channel experience, and creative smarts made her the ideal CMO for our brand,” said Sonia Syngal, who was promoted to president of Old Navy in April, in a statement. “I know she’s going to accelerate Old Navy’s brand vision and help us continue to deliver an incredible, inclusive and accessible shopping experience for our customers around the world.”

Old Navy, which is Gap Inc.’s largest brand, recently ran a back-to-school campaign starring comedian Amy Schumer. Ms. Schumer will star in at least five more spots, all created by Chandelier Creative, for the chain—the next one will air on Veteran’s Day, followed by a Black Friday-focused effort, and three commercials in December.

Long the bright spot in Gap Inc.’s portfolio, Old Navy suffered some sales declines late last year before a reversal in recent months, thanks to merchandise like activewear and stretch denim, and improved marketing. Art Peck, chief executive of Gap Inc., has repeatedly noted Old Navy’s recent momentum.

“I’m actually pretty confident that we will see Old Navy deliver a very solid back half this year,” said Mr. Peck on a conference call last month. “The value sweet spot today, Old Navy is extraordinarily competitive for the price out the door and has incredible quality, which is a killer proposition for the consumer.”

The brand reported a same-store sales increase of 1% in the month of August, compared with a 6% rise in the year-earlier period. In coming months, the chain will experiment with smaller format stores, of around 8,000 square feet, as a new real estate strategy.

Last year, Old Navy spent $134.9 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.


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