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Old Navy’s Hipster Christmas

Holiday ads are in full swing and, with them, have arrived cameos from actors, celebrities and adorable animals alike. You may have already spotted two of your favorite comedians in a series of holiday TV ads for Old Navy, which feature “Portlandia’s” own Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

But Old Navy’s strategy goes beyond television spots, as Advertising Age recently pointed out in an article highlighting the brand’s comedic take on a holiday ad campaign. According to Chief Marketing Officer Ivan Wicksteed, the television spots — the first of which features the actors relegated to the dreaded kids’ table at a holiday party because of their “drab” clothing, until a tablemate advises the duo to visit Old Navy for some more festive attire — are punctuated by supporting videos (some longer format, some shorter), which began airing online on Dec. 6. The online series will continue to broadcast throughout the season.

Wicksteed told Advertising Age that tapping into the charm of “Portlandia,” an Emmy-nominated series known for poking fun at hipsters, is part of his strategy to make Old Navy trendy again. Three years ago, he said, the brand “was in the clothes-by-the-pound business, not about style credibility.” Now, he’’s “trying to make the brand cool again.”

This holiday ad push — with 20 percent of its budget dedicated to digital channels, a huge increase from even a year ago — shows the continued commitment of Old Navy’s parent company to support the evolution of the brand. Earlier in December, CEO Arthur Peck noted on a third quarter earnings call that “even though marketing dollars were down in the quarter, they definitely were not down at Old Navy.” He added that the brand will include more radio in its marketing for the fourth quarter.

In addition to its marketing push, Old Navy is also upgrading its brick-and-mortar store experience for customers. According to Advertising Age, having recently renovated its 34th Street store in Manhattan and with plans to open a Times Square flagship in 2017, the company is also exploring a concept store that would involve a showroom where no inventory is kept on site, instead offering customers the ability to make a purchase and have it delivered immediately to their homes.

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