The Gap replaces retail TV budget with Web and Social Media

Picture for Post #14After reading about The Gap’s new online advertising campaign, I was left yearning for the days where retail advertising had a more concrete purpose – like maybe selling something.  





I thought agencies were about developing engaging strategies to increase sales and market share.  And I thought those who were responsible for such strategies had some accountability when it came to delivering results.

If the new Gap strategy is any indication – my thinking may have been wrong.  

The new ad campaign from The Gap, titled “Born to Fit,” includes no TV commercials instead, for the first time in the retailer’s history, The TV budget has been replaced with Web and Social Media – more specifically Facebook.  Print, cinema and outdoor ads have been developed to drive consumers to the campaign’s Facebook page.

Always open to new ideas … I eagerly logged onto The Gap’s Facebook page. After a few seconds, I clicked onto the video section, expecting to hear why people like wearing Gap jeans.  Instead I was treated to a short video from seven so-called celebrity “icons” – each one yammering on and on about the complexities of their “intriguing” lives.  

As they speak, each “icon” (and I use this world loosely) is sitting on a stool against a white background while the camera – occasionally – pans down to the Gap jeans they are wearing.  By the time I watched all of them, I wasn’t sure if The Gap wanted me to buy a pair of jeans or question my place in the universe.

Julie Channing, senior account director with The Gap’s digital agency explains the strategy this way, “We were really looking to reach out to fashionistas and influence audiences to start a conversation about how Gap has built this line of denim from the ground up.”

Really?  So, consumers are going to visit a Facebook page and soon after begin conversing with friends and family about the development of a new brand of blue jeans?

Channing goes on to say, The Gap had set no numerical benchmarks to determine success in the campaign, but rather would look at “how much consumers interact with the brand” to gauge ROI.

So, let me make sure I understand this – The Gap’s ROI objective is to count how many people are talking about jeans, not how many are buying them.

Don’t you just love how some companies are using social media?



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2 Responses to The Gap replaces retail TV budget with Web and Social Media

  1. joshuafleming says:

    Tony, let me start by saying I really enjoy your blog. I agree with a lot of what you typically have to say. I’m an agency guy and a huge advocate for traditional media. I also am a huge advocate for social media.

    I have to respectfully disagree with your take here. Someone once said “social media isn’t sell you media. What the Gap is trying to do is engage their customers in a whole new way. It’s customer support on speed. It’s brand awareness that seems a little less in your face than “By Our Jeans!” That’s what the Gap is doing. Or trying to do. Does anyone care how Gap has built a line of denim from the ground up? I doubt it, but I guess advocates of the Gap brand will be the judge of that.

    I have a bigger problem with how Gap is using the medium than how they are measuring the medium. The discussion should be interesting, not sure this is.

    I would ask that you read this blog post we wrote called “Social Media 102″ – Where the idea isn’t just traditional or just social media. It’s both. The Gap would be better served combining both mediums.

    Thanks for posting this, interesting content as always.

  2. There’s already enough selling online. Another space talking about how much people love a product would most likely be filtered or ignored. I will have to disagree with your point of view this time around, Tony. I for one appreciate their effort to connect instead of inject. With that said, get rid of the “celebrities” and bring on those freaky talking mannequins.

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