Ad of the Day: Old Navy

Clothing retailer wants guys to dress like guys. Just not like this guy

Advertising has to contain cultural references in order to connect with audiences. It's a testament to the influence of the industry in modern society that those references are often to commercials themselves. Or is it? Two new online spots from Camp + King for Old Navy are dripping with allusions to TV-commercial styles everyone will recognize. But an ode to the art of advertising, they are not. They are part of another sub-genre, one that parodies appalling advertising, usually for an unnamed or fictitious competing product, to highlight how much different some new product or service is. It's like Saturday Night Live's satirical ads being used for genuine commercial purposes. The first of the two spots is funnier. Called "Supar Tool," it's a spoof on formulaic, pretentious fashion ads. We see beautiful models in beautiful but bizarre situations, looking emotionally tortured and wearing too much makeup. In one scene, a man holds a sheep and looks forlorn. That's it. At the end, big blue badges slam on to the screen, telling the viewer, "Dress like a guy. Not that guy," and directing him to, which resolves to a special tab for men on Old Navy's Facebook page. Similarly, a second spot, "Corporado," pokes fun at a conservatively dressed man. The ads—set to run on various video and men's websites, including Facebook, YouTube, College Humor, Funny or Die and Maxim—do parody terrible creative, but they seem inherently to admit that good creative gets the job done. After all, if a product can be portrayed as better because one's advertising is not as idiotic as someone else's, that implies people do flock to products whose ads are better—or at least, to products that look down on "stupid" advertising. It's not an uncommon theme, but it's executed extremely well here, with the production values alone raising it above anything cobbled together for a late-night comedy show.

Agency: Camp + King
Client: Old Navy
Director: Greg Bell
Film Company: Epoch Films
Partner/Chief Creative Officer: Roger Camp
Partner/CEO: Jamie King
Director of Content Production: David Verhoef
Producer: Lauren Elliot
Brand Narrative Manager: Emily Forsyth
Designer: Dani Saputo
Production: Epoch
Director: Greg Bell
Director of Photography: Corey Walter
Managing Partner: Jerry Solomon
Executive Producer: John Duffin
Editorial: Barbary Post
Editor: Doug Cox
Assistant Editor/Motion Graphics Artist: Daniel Sanchez de Miguel
Executive Producer: Kristen Jenkins
Producer: Ben Somkin
Finish: Moving Picture Company
Finish: Barbary Post
Colorist: Ed Koenig
Online Artist: Greg Gilmore
Senior Engineer: Joaby Deal
Music: Elias Arts