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ABOUT the only time that food and clothing turn up together in ads is when detergents demonstrate their abilities to remove from one the stains made by the other. That is about to change as a food magazine and a clothing retailer join for an elaborate summer promotion.
The magazine is Bon Appétit, part of the Condé Nast Publications division of Advance Publications, and the retailer is Banana Republic, part of Gap Inc. It is, apparently, a coincidence that the retailer involved features a food in its name. Those two brands are working together, along with OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service, to promote a new apparel collection coming from Banana Republic called Desk to Dinner. The clothes, as the name suggests, are intended to be versatile enough to be worn from a day at the office to a night out to eat.
A campaign, scheduled to begin next week, will seek to drum up interest in Desk to Dinner through print ads, direct mail, e-mail, digital content and social media like Facebook, Twitter and an Open Table blog, Dining Check. There will also be a presence in the windows of all 450 Banana Republic stores in North America as well as events in stores in major markets like Chicago, Houston and Miami, featuring chefs from local restaurants.
Food is “definitely one of the passions” of the brand’s customers, he said, and the campaign also enables Banana Republic to expand its clientele because “Bon Appétit and OpenTable have audiences that are outside my own.” “Collaboration, in my mind, is the wave of the future” for marketers, Mr. Nicklo said. “By partnering, we could bring more to bear than any of us could alone.”
When you dine out, “what you’re wearing is part of the experience, and what you’re eating is part of the experience,” she added. “The culture of food, of going out, is a huge part of the work experience.”
“This is new for us, working with retailers,” said Scott Jampol, vice president for consumer marketing at OpenTable in San Francisco. “If it’s successful, we’d like to do more.” In this instance it makes sense, he added, because “when you’re buying a new outfit, it’s logical to think about where you will be seen in that outfit” — like, say, a restaurant. The campaign is another example of how “the foodie lifestyle,” as Mr. Jampol put it, is becoming “an emerging trend” as marketers increasingly seek to “find where they are and what they admire.”