Has anyone noticed how blatantly Banana Republic is trying to imitate J. Crew? The photo to the left is taken from an ad for BR Spring 2010. The vibe is very similar to the J. Crew men’s catalogue. And do you recognize the model? Yup, he also models for J. Crew. In fact, I recommend checking out the website for GAP (BR’s sister brand). Two of the main men’s models for J. Crew are also featured on GAP’s site.
Is any of this actually working? Perhaps. The GAP company as a whole has gone through a drastic shift since the ’90’s when I shopped there as a kid. It seems that the brands of the company have been moving up style-wise — Old Navy is the new GAP, GAP is the new BR, and BR is just not very good. The phrase is “steal from the best and make it your own” but the clothes aren’t that unique, creative or youthful, which is why better styling and better ads make for more sales.