- Gap announced this week a continuation of its holiday "Meet Me in the Gap" campaign, starring Grammy-nominated R&B artist Leon Bridges, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- One of the video ads in the seasonal initiative features Bridges singing a version of "Now That We Found Love," originally by The O'Jays in 1973, with a diverse cast dancing against a simple backdrop with oversized "crazy stripes" and colorful knit sweaters and scarves.
- The campaign, created with agency Yard NYC, launches Nov. 1 and will run across TV, mobile, social, in-store and digital. The TV spots will air on major networks and during popular events, including digital takeovers on Vevo, Hulu and Spotify with priority on live NFL games and other top-rated programs.
Gap's 2018 holiday push, much like last year, attempts to modernize the brand's legacy marketing creative with a diverse cast performing a retuned song and dance number against a simple background. In 2017, around the launch of "Meet Me in the Gap," the retailer tapped the hip-hop artist Future and Cher to do a duet cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People."
The brand says its latest iteration of the campaign is focused on spreading love and "feeling good and doing good" in today's "edgy" cultural climate. The effort follows the brand's fall push, "Good Creates Good," which carried a similar message and used social listening tools to compile positive Twitter posts and turn them into creative assets. Gap partnered with musician and actor Kyle to write a song using the tweets, which highlighted the positive side of social media.
Tapping Leon Bridges, known for his retro style, could expand the appeal of the campaign to his fan base. By including a remake of the The O'Jays' song, Gap is also playing up the nostalgia factor. Nostalgia, especially focusing on the '90s, is becoming a trend that more brands are embracing in their marketing and product designs. Clothing and footwear brands, such as Nike and Reebok, have recently debuted '90s-themed campaigns to appeal to millennials who grew up during the era.
Kicking off its holiday campaign at the start of November could be a strategic move by the Gap to capture consumer attention before Black Friday, though brands that begin in October typically benefit more. A recent AdRoll study revealed that holiday campaigns that launch in October see higher ad impressions and cost-per-click along with a decrease in CPMs.
The holiday push comes at a time when the Gap brand will need a strong winter season to rebound from the struggles it's faced over the past few years. Parent company Gap Inc. reported an 8% increase in Q2 net sales, reaching $4.1 billion, but comparable sales at Gap dropped 5%, compared to a 5% increase at Old Navy and 2% growth at Banana Republic.
Gap has also cut its keywords on paid search ads by 95%, according to an Adthena analysis of 2.2 billion impressions from December 2017 to June 2018. The parent company is allocating most of its investment on brand and sister brand terms, with 76% of clicks coming from terms like "gap," "athlete," "gap com," "old navy com" and "www.oldnavy.com."