- Gap today (Sept. 7) debuted a fall advertising campaign that profiles an array of creators who are both proudly independent and making a broader social impact, according to a news release.
- Titled "Individuals," the effort plays on the 15 minutes of fame concept through 15-second video profiles of diverse ambassadors. Those include filmmaker Chloé Zhao, director of "Nomadland" and Marvel's upcoming "Eternals" superhero blockbuster; Lakota actor JaShaun St. John, who Zhao discovered; and Nakia Smith, an influencer and advocate for the Black Deaf community.
- Video ads airing across TV and digital were directed by Christian Weber, while portraits of the "Individuals" were shot by photographer Mark Seliger. Gap is continuing to amplify messages of optimism and inclusivity as the retail category navigates an uncertain phase of the pandemic and preps for a volatile holiday period.
Gap is subverting the 15 minutes of fame concept by profiling up-and-coming influencers, activists and artists whose impact on their respective industries is shaping up to be enduring. The "Individuals" campaign centers on short video profiles that look to capture the values and aspirations of each ambassador and how those qualities can serve as an inspiration to the community at large.
"These individuals transcend race, gender, age, abilities and talents as catalysts for change, reflecting what's possible from anyone," the company said in the release.
The seasonal push is the latest from Gap built on themes of unity and what CMO Mary Alderete calls "American optimism," a throughline in its marketing efforts since the executive moved into the top marketing spot last year. Gap has been trying to reestablish its place as a cultural touchstone after falling behind amid the consumer shift to fast-fashion competitors and e-commerce sites. Part of that revitalization involves threading the needle between more modern messaging — with a heavy emphasis on diversity and inclusion — and drawing on Gap's status as a heritage brand.
"Individuals" spotlights apparel made iconic in Gap's '90s heyday that has been reinvented to better suit today's trends, with loose-fitting denim and khakis styled alongside hoodies, button-downs and outerwear. Along with a hero spot, the marketer shot a separate denim ad that was directed by Weber and choreographed by Jacob Jonas The Company.
Gap's parent company, Gap Inc., is heading into the fall season with some positive momentum following a brutal pandemic period for retail. The Banana Republic and Old Navy owner reported its best second-quarter sales in over a decade last month, with net sales — a key measure of category health — up 29% year-on-year. But the Gap flagship brand proved a laggard, with net sales down 10% compared to 2019.
Gap continues to turn to cultural tastemakers in the search for a jolt of cool and sales boost. It has a much-anticipated collaboration with Kanye West that completed its first presale in Q2, though the company has otherwise kept relatively quiet about the celebrity tie-up, as reported in Retail Dive.