Gap’s fall campaign tells customers to “Dress Normal”. I first came across these ads reading this post on the blog We’re Not Sorry which discussed the cinematic merits of the brand’s commercials. While I agree that the commercials are filmed beautifully, I am confused by the message these advertisements are sending.
One of the commercials shows a girl dancing and tells viewers to “let your actions speak louder than your clothes” which, to me, is a good ad for the line of “normal” clothes Gap is advertising. As a viewer, I watched that commercial and I liked what it was selling. In a time with celebrities like Lady Gaga making crazy fashionable, the idea of wearing something simple and still standing out resonates well and would persuade me to shop at Gap. However, the other three commercials confuse me.
One shows a man running up the stairs to meet a woman at the top and ends by telling viewer Gap sells “simple clothes for you to complicate”. Another shows a rather passionate scene between a man and a woman and tells viewers to “dress like no one is watching”. The last shows a girl shimmying out of her apparently soaking clothes in the back of the car and tells viewers Gap clothes are “the uniform of rebellion and conformity”. Especially in terms of the last two, I am confused by what Gap is trying to tell me. In my opinion, most people who “dress like no one is watching” are in sweats or a birthday suit, neither of which are part of the Gap Fall Line to my knowledge. I understand they are playing off of the dance like no one is watching quote, but the meanings are opposite. Dance like no one is watching means to go crazy and not care what people think. However, Gap is telling viewers to dress normal, the opposite of going crazy. If Gap did want “dress normal” to mean finding what is normal to you and rocking it, why would one of their commercials end with “the uniform… of conformity”? Overall I think Gap missed the mark with these television advertisements.
In terms of their print/non-video advertisements, I think Gap did a much better job. For the most part, the ads show “normal” people doing at least somewhat normal activities (I’m not sure who ever sits in a chair like the ad above) and look well-dressed but not overdressed. These do a much better job of showing what “normal” clothing is and the variations from person to person; they also convey the idea that if you want to find your own normal without stepping over the societal boundaries, you need to shop at Gap.
Overall, I have varied feelings about this campaign. At some points, like after watching the “let your actions speak louder than your clothes” commercial, I am on board with the “dress normal” idea and letting your personality shine through. At the same time, some of the other ads leave me confused as to if I should be trying to fit in or find my own normal. I feel almost attacked by Gap, as if they are telling me I look strange for not already always wearing Gap. This campaign was a good idea in theory, but not executed as well as I think it could have been.
Actions speak louder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Q2L_bmqJo
Complicate Clothes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3oKYGqBsfo
No one is watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8sACbaqXaE
Rebellion and conformity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfAu4L_QuTo