The Gap Just Wants You to ‘Dress Normal’

The Gap is encouraging consumers to simply ‘Dress Normal.’ Their new ads are anything but.

Gap Dress Normal

‘Dress Normal.’ That’s the new slogan for The Gap, in what seems like a terribly misguided attempt to fend off the brand’s public perception of blandness. Wieden & Kennedy is responsible for the new campaign, and creative director Stuart Jennings addresses this perception by saying that ‘Dress Normal’ deals with “the issue of Gap feeling a little bland.”

Here we have the creative director of the agency that created the spots acknowledging that the Gap brand is perceived to be boring. I’m not sure ‘Dress Normal’ is the best catchphrase to fend off this perception. In fact, it seems to confirm everything I already feel about Gap: Their clothes are bland, and this slogan feels like they’re assuring me that nothing has changed.

But let’s get to the spots behind the slogan. Directed by David Fincher, one would expect the ads to be far better than they are. Each of the four ads is exceedingly bizarre, in what is assuredly some attempt at irony. ‘Dress Normal,’ says The Gap, while inviting you to view their snobby faux-artsy TV spots. Each ad has its issues, including one in which almost nothing happens. I swear, the script could have just read, “Man runs up stairs. Woman watches.”

Another makes no sense whatsoever. A soaking-wet woman is riding in a car with three completely dry people. She removes her jeans and throws them in the front seat as the words “the uniform of rebellion and conformity” grace the screen. This is one of those attempts at being trendy that ends up being needlessly obtuse. The ad makes no sense, and the slogan makes even less sense than the ad.

Here’s another reason that this campaign is on my nerves: I have never seen more yawn-inducing clothes in my life. It’s a wonder they bothered to shoot the ads in black and white, seeing as I’m not sure other colors are at play here in the first place. The people in these ads pretty much all wear white shirts and black pants. It’s like they’re living in The Matrix, but couldn’t afford a Keanu Reeves cameo.

One of the additional taglines for the campaign is “Black is a color.” How any of this fights the perception of The Gap being bland is beyond me.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Gap Goes ‘Back to Blue’ on TV

After a four-year absence, Gap is finally making a return to television – and it’s enlisted some superstar offspring for its new spots. Gap’s new “Back to Blue” campaign features appearances by Dhani Harrison (son of George) and Alexa Ray Joel (daughter of Billy), both performing hits made famous by their fathers.

Though they’re returning to a more classic medium, Gap is totally hitting up social media for #BacktoBlue. The most recent ads were only released after Gap called for and received 1,000 “call-to-action” retweets on Twitter. As more ads are released, they’ll be accompanied by interviews, short films, and quotes about the artists that will be released on various digital platforms.

When it comes to social media dominance, Gap isn’t taking any chances. Last month, they took over all of Tumblr’s mobile ads for a day to promote their new campaign. By using the children of two iconic musicians from the ‘60s and ‘70s, Gap is hoping to appeal not just to trendy teenagers, but also to the nostalgia-prone baby boomers that often control the dough.

Gap used to be all about its denim, but with department stores and discount-chic retailers like Forever 21 and H&M selling affordable jeans, they’ve had to plot a broader strategy in order to remain relevant. So far, things are going good: Gap is currently the highest performing apparel retailer in the S&P 500, and has seen six straight quarters of rising sales.