I used to be a very loyal customer when I was young. I’m French, and GAP was this sort of badass but smart brand coming from a foreign and mystic place; denims were high quality and if you were wandering around skateparks, guys were only wearing shrunk GAP or Levi’s denims. There was a sense of community, and it was not old fashioned at all to wear your outfits. Girls wearing your products were not basic. They were this bunch of aspiring people, who made our teenage years less Angst and more daring.
You’re struggling, as so many brands on the high streets, because you’re supposedly losing your customers. According to you and your fellows, it’s because of ASOS or Zara that you’re losing money.
I think you’re wrong, dear GAP. I think you’re just totally missing the point between what we guys expect and the way you communicate it.
So, I’ve seen your billboard ads everywhere from Shoreditch to Kensington. With your new motto: “Lived In”.
Basically, you’ve picked, like so many other brands emerging artists (is Birdy really emerging? I’m not sure…). And you’ve created a sort of content strategy in…social media, trying to make your words reverberate in our hearts.
But it does not work, because it’s not you. It’s not you and the guys you’re trying to talk to don’t exist. On Facebook, you posted that:
“Our Spring ads feature artists who live in their truth. Meet RJ Mitte, actor. Lives in his character. #LivedIn “
And one of your cheeky fans answers: If he lives in his character why is he not eating breakfast?
Your Creative chief executive Richard Teideman declared:
“In a market where it’s progressively harder to gain visibility, what I love about this campaign is not so much the images, but rather what they’ve done with them (..) The fabric print deployment is such a fresh idea – and it plays right to the heart of what Gap is all about – product-centric, but also ingrained into our lives.”
I don’t want to offend anyone but seriously: in which world do you really live? Sometimes, I wonder if you don’t create ads or comms that are made to please a Vogue intern and not your consumers.
I’m fed up with brands which don’t dare any more. Yes, you should take pictures of people wearing your outfits in the kitchen. Yes, there are tons of places where we were your denims and that you never explore. Yes, creativity is not a title but a living organism.
GAP, we seriously like you; but embrace what we now expect: a bit of meaning, a bit of audacity, a bit of edge. We’re not your morons, we’re your wives…and not yet your widows.