Banana Republic's "City Stories"

It's hard to create a campaign that will successfully reach Millennials. We've been inundated with advertising and marketing messages our entire lives and we've become experts at tuning out anything less than relevant. A lot of brands try to be "hip" or "speak the lingo" without doing their homework and wind up accomplishing nothing but a deteriorated brand image. Campaigns that work are created by agencies that do their research and manage to tap into the psyche of the generation as a whole. Although this campaign definitely reaches Gen Y, I think it's aimed at older Gen Y and also younger Gen X (my demo analysis: probably males and females, ages 18-35 living in major metropolitan areas). I must say, I think they really got this one right.

The Banana Republic "City Stories" campaign features nine musicians, each with their own style and story. It's a fully integrated campaign that includes print and outdoor advertisements, direct mail pieces, window displays and a heavy online presence. The website,, is a highly engaging mix of video (music videos and interviews), music, free downloads, and yes, the occasional Banana Republic promotion. The musicians they spotlight are as interesting as they are diverse, and were by no means chosen only for their commercial appeal. They are truly talented by anyone's standards. Here's a sample video of violinist, David Garrett.

Visually this campaign is clean and sophisticated, while conceptually it sends a strong message - without being overbearing. I imagine it will strike a chord with a wide range of people who never looked twice at Banana Republic before. That's a difficult thing to achieve without alienating the existing customer, but I think they managed it flawlessly. The thought and care that went into the creation of this campaign really shines through (listen to me, I'm gushing). I won't say anything else, but I encourage you to go to the website and if nothing else, enjoy some phenomenal free music.


Anne's Friend said...

very interesting- i cant wait to see it. I used to be wear their clothes a lot but have since switched to other brands..I might have to cruise into a store soon and check them out-
wondered over here from 20SM...

Dave Sohigian said...

Great post. It is so important for marketing to start truly understanding the desires of the Millennials. With so many Boomers in charge of organizations, and Gen X'ers in middle management right now, they often don't know the market. I read a great book recently called "Millennials and the Pop Culture" by Strauss and Howe. I highly recommend it (well, maybe for out of touch Gen X'ers like me :-0)
Check out my blog about generations when you get the chance at I would love to get your Millennial perspective.