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Gap runs contest for iPhone app developers

Gap is running a contest for iPhone software developers to create an application that embodies the clothing and apparel brand's preppy style.

The retailer tapped Mobclix, a mobile applications platform combining analytics with a yield-optimization advertising service, for the contest that will give developers the chance to design the next iPhone app for the brand. Apps will be judged on originality, innovation, ease of use and customer appeal.

"Innovation and creativity are best fostered when full license is given to the people, and Gap strongly believes in letting developers push their imagination to the limits," said Krishna Subramanian, cofounder of Mobclix, Santa Clara, CA.

"Mobclix allows Gap to leverage its broad developer community to create productive and exciting apps that embody the vision of Gap," he said. "Something that is developed by the people for the people becomes extremely viral.

"For example, we are providing the store and inventory info for the developers -- someone could develop a coupon app that shows what deals are going on, where the closest store is and if the item is in stock."

Gap Inc. is a clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco.

The company has five primary brands -- Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta.

Gap remains the largest specialty apparel retailer nationwide. But it has recently been surpassed by the Spanish-based and Zara store chain owner Inditex Group as the world's largest apparel retailer.

Last December, Gap launched an app that rotated various clothing designs for the holiday.

Mobclix helps developers better understand, monetize and distribute their apps.

Mobclix enables marketers to run interactive ad campaigns that can be targeted to specific interest-based segments.

While there is no specific theme for the contest, Gap wants the app to be directed toward the brand's target customers -- individuals in their late 20s and early 30s who are interested in popular culture and value creativity.

Gap wants the app to feature denim, color, music, individuality and reinvented classics.

"The hope is to provide users an application that will help them interact and engage with Gap on a new level," Mr. Subramanian said.

Each week, a favorite app will be chosen from new submissions and will be featured on the Mobclix Web site.

The Mobclix community votes on the People's Choice winning app and a panel of expert judges -- including Gap executives, venture capital investors and tech bloggers -- will help Gap and Mobclix choose the Grand Prize winner.

The contest ends Sept. 1.

Prizes will be awarded in various categories such as Grand Prize Winner, Second Place Honoree, People's Choice Award, Best User Experience/Function and Best Visual Design/Aesthetic.

Prizes include a gig designing Gap's next iPhone app, a cash prize from a notable Silicon Valley VC, a $1,000 Gap gift card and a free advertising package from Mobclix.

"Gap is looking to reach an elite audience of developers, engineers and designers, and Mobclix works with this community on a daily basis and has the direct relationships to make the contest viral," Mr. Subramanian said.

"Another challenge is to know how the context with which the application is used," he said. "By leveraging the Mobclix analytics library, Gap is able to see how usage within the application drives brand awareness, conversions and purchases."