Ad of the Day: Sofia Coppola Directs 4 Oddly Charming Holiday Spots for Gap

Love, but not understanding

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Gap's new tagline, introduced a few months back, is "Dress normal." But the retailer knows your family is anything but—particularly at the holidays.

Having launched the new positioning with David Fincher in August, Gap moves on to another Hollywood director—Sofia Coppola—for a stylish and quirky holiday campaign from Wieden + Kennedy in New York.

The four spots are endearingly weird, with storytelling that's more about momentary glimpses into the charms and foibles of family life than traditional plots. The first two, "Gauntlet" and "Mistletoe," are the strongest and will air on TV. The former shows a girl arriving home (in a crazy striped sweater) to a bustling house at Thanksgiving; the latter is about an awkward moment under the mistletoe.

Two others, "Crooner" and "Pinball," will run online. "Crooner" is the most staged of the bunch, with a little boy lip-syncing "Cry" by Johnnie Ray to his family. And "Pinball" is the romantic entry in the series, with a woman playing pinball in a restaurant as her boyfriend waits for her in a booth.

The ads close with the line, "You don't have to get them to give them Gap." That's a slanted and quite refreshingly take on the notion of holiday togetherness—love without understanding being, after all, a fairly accurate description of many people's holiday experiences with family.

It also highlights, maybe better than the Fincher ads did, just what the "Dress normal" idea is all about. It's not about being normal—it's about being yourself, which can be quite peculiar indeed. And Gap, in all its normcore glory, can be part of your personal style, particularly for millennials. Or least, this campaign tells gift givers, don't assume it can't be.

The rest of the job is just to make the ads as hip seeming as possible, and Coppola does a nice job with that. The music is a big part of it. "I Got Stripes" by Johnny Cash in the "Gauntlet" spot is just fantastic, and the "Mistletoe" and "Pinball" soundtracks are solid, too (featuring "I'm Not Ready for Love" by Promise and "Deep Down" by Hazel and the Jolly Boys).

There are print ads as well. Check them out below, along with statements from three Gap executives about the campaign.

Seth Farbman, Gap's global chief marketing officer:

"We wanted the campaign, and the films in particular, to focus on the best part of the season—family and friends. While the holidays look different in every home across the country, Sofia has brilliantly translated Gap's snapshots of these authentic family characters to the screen. Our aim was to create a campaign that would be very warm, very honest and very Gap. And even if you don't always get your family, our message this season is that it's easy to give them Gap."

Rebekka Bay, Gap creative director:

"Sofia is a great fashion icon and helped us bring our fashion themes to life alongside the storytelling of family fun for the festive season. The campaign celebrates our spirited and optimistic crazy stripe collection, along with candy-colored Fair Isle sweaters, cool biker jackets and a collection of party dresses. The Gap holiday collection is more giftable, more romantic, more optimistic, more fashionable and more Gap than ever."

Steve Sunnucks, Gap global president:

"In the fall, we started our 'Dress Normal' story with another great director, David Fincher, and issued a rallying cry to dress how you feel most comfortable, and 'Dress like no one's watching.' Now Sofia Coppola has helped us bring to life the second chapter of 'Dress Normal' through our holiday films with the same authentic and honest tone."


Client: Gap

—Spots: "Crooner," "Pinball," "Gauntlet," "Mistletoe"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

Executive Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman, David Kolbusz

Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Susan Hoffman

Copywriters ("Mistletoe," "Pinball," "Crooner"): Laddie Peterson, Al Merry

Copywriters ("Gauntlet"): Laddie Peterson, Al Merry, Heather Ryder

Art Directors ("Mistletoe," "Pinball" "Crooner"): Jaclyn Crowley, Jeff Dryer

Art Directors ("Gauntlet"): Jaclyn Crowley, Jeff Dryer, Morgan Sheehan

Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski

Producer: Alison Hill

Director of Brand Planning: Erik Hanson

Brand Planner: Hayley Parker

Director of Interactive Strategy: Marshall Ball

Interactive Strategist: Jordan Schenck

Account Team: Tamera Geddes, Molly Friedman, Patty Ehinger

Business Affairs: Lisa Quintela

Production Company: The Directors Bureau

Director: Sofia Coppola

Executive Producer, Managing Director: Lisa Margulis

Executive Producer, Head of Production: Elizabeth Minzes

Line Producer: Youree Henley

Director of Photography: Eric Gautier

Editing Company: Consulate

Editor: Chad Sipkin

Post Executive Producer: Alan Lopez

Editorial Assistants: Ryan McCally, Elizabeth Navarro

Visual Effects Company: The Mill

Lead Flame: Jamin Clutcher

Producer: Clairellen Wallin

Telecine Company: CO3

Colorists: Tom Poole, Stefan Soonenfeld

Mix Company: Sonic Union

Mixer: Steve Rosen

Music Supervision Company: Able Baker

Music: "Pinball"

Song: "Deep Down"

Artist: Hazel & the Jolly Boys

Music: "Crooner"

Song: "Cry"

Artist: Johnnie Ray

Music: "Mistletoe"

Song: "I'm Not Ready for Love"

Artist: By the Promise

Music: "Gauntlet"

Song: "I've Got Stripes"

Artist: Johnny Cash

—Print and OOH

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

Executive Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman, David Kolbusz

Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Susan Hoffman

Copywriter: Laddie Peterson

Art Director: Jaclyn Crowley

Account Team: Tamera Geddes, Molly Friedman, Patty Ehinger

Project Manager: Kellie Pederson

Art Buyer: Molly Dowd

Photographer: Frederike Helwig

Business Affairs: Lisa Quintela

Director of Brand Strategy: Erik Hanson

Brand Strategist: Hayley Parker

Director of Interactive Strategy: Marshall Ball

Interactive Strategist: Jordan Schenck

Retouching Agency: 150Proof&Co

Retoucher: Chris McClelland

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.