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.
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.
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.