Ad of the Day: Gap

Brand gets real with documentaries about its 1969 denim design team

If you're just the average artsy young consumer, Gap really wants you to buy its jeans.

The clothier is rolling out a major new advertising push that seeks to position Gap as an edgy but accessible purveyor of denim—eschewing the celebrity faces featured in previous campaigns and focusing instead on creative types more in the vein of the everyman. It's a new look for the brand, which shook up its marketing roster earlier this year—bringing in a new agency, Ogilvy & Mather, and new CMO, Seth Farbman—in the wake of last year's spectacularly failed attempt at a logo redesign. The whole of the new spots is a departure from the traditionally crafted, polished look of Gap commercials—aiming to feel less like advertising and more like narrative.

How? A series of more than 30 short "documentaries" attempt to capture the vibe at Gap's denim studio in Los Angeles, home to the fashionable and tattooed design team behind the brand's 1969 line. The videos are still slickly edited and very much on message, mixing the earnest cheerleading of any brand spokesperson with the deliberate authenticity of reality television. Of the various Gap designers and merchants interviewed, most, if not all, at one point or another make use of the word "awesome," and the monologues slip in other such supportive gems as, "It's a lifestyle brand, it has its own energy, its own soul."

Overall, the campaign does offer some neat behind-the-scenes peeks at a creative process that many people take for granted. And the effort, launched on Monday, has already earned a fair amount of press. (Cool Hunting, a popular design and tech blog, which has worked with Gap before, also collaborated on this campaign—lending the brand's story some more credibility.) Gap is also dispatching taco trucks to select cities to treat the Gap-wearing hungry masses (people sporting competitors' threads reportedly have to pay $1.69 per snack) because everybody knows artsy, young consumers love tacos. And if they eat enough, they'll need to buy new pants.


Client: Gap

Campaign: "1969: LA and Beyond"

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York

Chairman, Ogilvy North America: John Seifert

Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy North America: Steve Simpson

Chief Marketing Officer, Ogilvy North America: Lauren Crampsie

Creative Directors: Michael Paterson, Jason Marks

Copywriters: Sam Mazur, Amy Thomas

Art Directors: Sun An, Sally Kim, Eddie Shieh

Creative Partner: Mutt Industries

Managing Director: Nadja Bellan-White

Account Director: Corey Cirillo

Account Supervisor: Caitlin O'Connell

Account Executive: Carlos Alvarado

Associate: Jessica Phelan

Worldwide Planning Director: Dan Ng

Strategic Planners: Liz Williams, Caroline Washington

Executive Director, Creative Technology: Jordan Berkowitz

Senior Digital Strategist, 360-Degree Digital Influence: Betsy Lowther

Marketing Strategy: Jeffrey Bowman

Director of Production, North America: Patti McConnell

Manager, Art Buying: Cindy Rivet

Executive Producer: Peter Bassett

Senior Content Producer: Elizabeth Lucas

Content Production: Sharon Mendelow, Jessica Fiore, Leslie D'Acri

Executive Director, Print Production: Terri Dannenberg

Head of Traffic: Elizabeth Kearney

Associate Director, Print Production: Bianca Lau

Associate Head of Traffic: Jill Kruskal

Senior Traffic Manager: Marc Scarpelli

Executive Director, Project Management: Kate Kehoe

Digital Producer: Jessica Gueco

Digital Producer, 360-Degree Digital Influence: Veronica Oleynik

Partner: Cool Hunting