Gap Found Real People, Not Models, for Its Summer Ads Celebrating American Diversity

Myriad individuals sport retailer's clothes in push for inclusion

Gap is continuing to celebrate the diversity of the young people it wants to buy its clothes.

A new print and video campaign, titled “I Am Gap,” from Untitled Worldwide takes a look at a range of personalities—found via street casting, rather than via a modeling agency—that the clothing retailer hopes captures the spirit of its brand.

A Latin jazz loop plays over :15 and :30 clips, shot in the vertical video format, that feel like straight throwbacks to the brand’s 1990s heyday.

In one, a woman named Hybutalla sports a hijab, while the copy touts her love of swimming and emoji. In another, a cowboy named Chance waxes about riding bulls, hitting balls and being tall. In a third, an anonymous woman with the look of a Los Angeles hipster talks about being a Navy brat, a treehugger and a rom-com connoisseur (though it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be a paragon of good taste in a genre that consists generally of rehashed garbage).

Stills from the campaign feature faces from different backgrounds striking familiar fashion poses, while being hip and attractive.

A short anthem spot, meanwhile, summarizes the core thrust of the marketing effort. “You are the quiet strength in a roaring city,” it says. “You are the free spirit who welcomes the unknown. You are the cattle driver, the BMX rider, the artist in the making. You are worlds apart in life but neighbors in optimistic spirit. You are America. You are Gap.”

Because nothing says land of the free and home of the brave like off-the-rack denim, blouses and tees.

It’s a basic strategy consistent with the marketer’s fall 2016 campaign, also created with Untitled, which beautifully documented the likes of Brooklyn United, a community marching band for kids, teens and young adults. The tagline for that advertising was “Do You.” “I Am Gap” is channeled as an explicitly inclusive, patriotic concept, if perhaps less powerfully.

The fashion industry in general has struggled to represent a diverse cross-section of cultures in advertising, even as it has begun to improve diversity on the runway. Gap is one of a few notable exceptions.

More print ads below.

Client: Gap
Agency: Untitled Worldwide, a creative business partner to brands
Photographer and Director of Video and Photo: Valerio Spada

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.