Banana Republic Makes a Statement

In a bold statement reflecting the state of American culture today, clothing retailer Banana Republic has released a new ad campaign featuring a series of real-life couples. One of the campaign’s couples featuring interior designer Nate Berkus and his fiancée, Jeremiah Brent, is receiving high praise for the social stance that they introduce.

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Trey Laird, chief creative officer of Banana Republic’s creative agency Laird & Partners, stated that the coupling choice wasn’t meant to be provocative, but instead sought to “to reflect our world and how we live in a true, genuine way.”

Banana Republic has also stated that past advertising campaigns have often felt staged and out of touch with reality. Through the introduction of real-life couples to the world of fashion advertising, Banana Republic hopes to bring a sense of authenticity and emotion to the highly stylized world of retail.

Catherine Sadler, global chief marketing officer at Banana Republic, stated that showcasing true relationships resonates more deeply with consumers, and that featuring Berkus and Brent reflects “values of diversity and inclusion we’ve shared since our early days” as a company based in San Francisco.

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I applaud Banana Republic for their decision to include a gay couple in their advertising campaign. Rarely, if ever, do we see political and social statements being made in the world of fashion advertising, and I admire the retailer for taking a political stance.

I also believe that this campaign will attract a younger demographic that the retailer has often overlooked, as the thought of Banana Republic often brings to mind an image of a middle-aged, conservative housewife. According to The New York Times, younger consumers regard inclusion and diversity as intrinsic parts of their world views, and the campaign “encourages them to join the ranks of the loyal older customers in Banana Republic stores.”

Banana Republic is one of many advertisers willing to take the political plunge. During the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, Chevrolet introduced two new advertisements featuring same-sex couples. In a similar endeavor, Coca-Cola’s much-maligned “America Is Beautiful” spot also featured a same-sex couple.

With major brands recognizing the importance of making a political statement in today’s increasingly inclusive culture, I hope to see more and more real-life couples reflected in our world’s advertising.

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5 thoughts on “Banana Republic Makes a Statement

  1. I am so proud of advertising companies recently for introducing a spirit of acceptance into ads. I always get so excited when I see a company do this, it makes me feel much more favorable towards them. It is definitely a controversial thing and they do risk losing some customers with a closed mind, but I think these companies being fearless is helping to turn the tide.

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  2. I had not heard about this campaign. That’s great for them and will hopefully help in the political struggle for equal rights for this marginalized group. It’s interesting that all of these supportive ads and campaigns have come up since the Olympics. And because absolutely everything is so highly politicized it is important for companies to stand up for what they believe in because even if not everyone in the market agrees with them, they will respect them for it. Those whose values coincide will form a loyal fan-base for them.

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  3. The idea of using real life couples in a fashion campaign is a good idea. By showing these real people, it makes the brand seem more real. Additionally, by using a same sex couple, Banana Republic is letting their values be known. Today, many people buy brands that have the same values and beliefs as they do. This has been causing brands to talk about what they believe. While Banana Republic may lose some customers because of their beliefs, I applaud them for taking that risk and showing their acceptance of all relationships.

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  4. I agree that brands have to care more about their values now than their products. If a brand has values that conflict with their target consumers, then those consumers are more likely to abandon ship even if they like the products.

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