The American Family Association said it is "suspending its Christmas-season boycott" of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic pending a "Christmas-themed commercial" from the retail chain set to debut on Nov. 28.
The AFA, a Christian organization, called for the boycott about two weeks ago, alleging that the client has downplayed the word "Christmas" in holiday advertising and in-store promotions over the years. Indeed, Gap has stayed away from mentioning specific religions -- last year's work, for example, was themed "Merry Gap-mas."
The AFA has boycotted other retailers like Sears and Target in the past for their holiday ads.
Gap, however, today informed the AFA via e-mail of an upcoming Christmas-themed ad, and the group is giving the retailer the benefit of the doubt -- for now.
"As a gesture of our 'goodwill to men,' we have decided to suspend our boycott of Gap and its divisions until we see the content of this new commercial," said Bryan Fischer, the AFA's director of issues analysis, in a statement. "We firmly believe that Gap is responding to an enormous amount of pressure from the AFA network. It looks like Gap has finally decided that a recession is a bad time to take a principled stand on secularism and alienate a huge percentage of their customer base. We're happy that they're apparently keeping Christ and Christmas in the Christmas season."
Gap's lead agency is MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and its latest seasonal ads have been high-steppin' musical productions with a "Cheer factory" theme.
The company last week had said in a statement: "On Nov. 28, Old Navy will unveil its latest holiday commercial, which will also say 'Merry Christmas.'"
A rep today added: "As you know, ad campaigns for our brands are planned ahead for months in advance and were created and agreed upon before any of the communications about this boycott were initiated."
See also: "Best Buy Ad Flap Heats Up"