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Gap in big marketing push; returning to TV ads

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Gap is celebrating its brand heritage with a fall global marketing campaign – Back to Blue – that is one of the broadest reaching in its history. The campaign spans outdoor, direct, social, in store, digital and also includes a return to television.

"Back to Blue means getting back to what matters most – our truest selves, when we are most comfortable in our own skin," said Seth Farbman, Gap’s Global chief marketing officer. "It’s both a statement of how we feel as a brand, and how our customers want to live their lives and make their decisions."

The campaign includes new digital content every day, across many global platforms, including a partnership with Tumblr’s mobile platform. Gap has also updated its Styld.by platform – which partners with popular bloggers and style experts to curate the best fall looks – to include video, with a series on style advice from the costume designer for HBO’s hot show, “Girls.”

Extensive lo-fi digital content features 24 influential Millennials sharing simple, raw and relatable stories about what it means to be one’s most authentic self. Each wears their favorite pieces from the fall Back to Blue collection in short films, photographs and animated GIFs.

Kicking off with highly visible outdoor advertising in its top markets and magazine advertising in August issues worldwide, campaign features clothing from Gap’s fall collection, which is rooted in denim, chambray and classic Gap items. Debuting on TV for the first time in four years, the Back to Blue TV spots will be launched in mid-September.

Starting immediately, Gap is launching a contest on Tumblr, which encourages digital artists to share what Back to Blue means to them by creating an original piece of content. On Aug. 29, the winning works will be featured on Gap’s Tumblr and turned into Tumblr mobile ads. This is the first time a brand will own all of Tumblr’s mobile ads in one day.

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Office Depot, OfficeMax narrow list of CEO candidates to five

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot and OfficeMax have narrowed their list of CEO candidates to five, and expect to have the person in place in September. The rival chains are set to merge in a $1.2 billion deal that is expected to close by the end of the year.

In a joint press release, the two retailers said that after reviewing and vetting more than 100 candidates and interviewing eight, the CEO Selection Committee has narrowed the field down to five candidates it believes can lead the combined business forward following the merger.

“Our objective is to have a candidate in place prior to the closing of the merger to address critical issues such as headquarters location, company name, culture and strategy,” said Office Depot board member Nigel Travis, the chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

Each member of the committee has been actively engaged in evaluating the slate of candidates, including several that were suggested by Starboard Value, LP, an investor in Office Depot’s stock. The criteria for evaluating qualified candidates included: public company CEO with Wall Street credibility and a global perspective, or strong executive from a Fortune 100 organization; high integrity, team building, transformational leader with a proven track record; and experienced business integrator.

As announced on June 11, 2013, the two companies hired executive search firm Korn/Ferry International to assist the CEO Selection Committee in its comprehensive search. The committee is co-chaired by OfficeMax board member Jim Marino, the former president and CEO of Alberto Culver Company, and Travis.

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Meijer expands digital coupon initiative

BY Dan Berthiaume

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Meijer is expanding its mPerks digital coupon program to include pharmacy purchases, allowing customers to earn $10 off their total shopping purchase, 5% off total grocery and health-and-beauty purchases or 50 cents off per gallon of Meijer gas for every five eligible prescriptions filled. Customers can also hang onto their rewards and keep filling prescriptions to earn double rewards, saving as much as $1 per gallon on gas or $20 off their next shopping visit.

Meijer launched mPerks in the fall of 2010 as a faster, easier way for customers to clip coupons. The retailer says as many as 25,000 customers sign up for the free online program, which has a redemption rate up to four times the national average.

"Pharmacy rewards is just the latest way we go beyond offering everyday low prices and weekly specials to help our customers save money," said Michael Ross, VP of customer marketing and emerging technology. "We are excited to expand mPerks for our 1.5 million subscribers, and hope they enjoy personalizing their savings even more when they checkout."

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