Janelle Monae Fronts a Festive, Musical Number for Gap's Holiday Campaign

Effort Harkens Back to Brand's Late '90s/Early Aughts Ads

By Adrianne Pasquarelli. Published on Oct 24, 2017

Editor's Pick

Anyone nostalgic for Gap's late '90s/early aughts music-fueled commercials will likely be enthused by the retailer's new holiday work. The San Francisco-based brand is continuing its "Meet in the Gap" messaging from September with a musical number featuring actress and singer Janelle Monáe and set to "(You) Got What I Need."

"Music has always been the foundation of Gap," says Craig Brommers, who joined the Gap Inc. namesake brand last year as chief marketing officer. Earlier this year, Gap debuted a campaign featuring the children of its '90s spokespeople; a recent fall campaign featured Cher.

Monáe and a 50-person choir, which is diverse in both age and ethnicity, sing in front of a white background, in keeping with many of Gap's recent spots. While a 60-second ad will run on digital platforms, Gap will air 30-and-15-second clips on national TV--a major change from last year, when the brand did not air any national commercials. Brommers notes that Gap has also made a significant digital investment with paid media on Facebook, Snapchat, Refinery 29, Vogueand Buzzfeed.

Last year, Gap spent $8.8 million on measured media in the U.S. during the holiday period of November and December, according to Kantar Media--a stark difference compared with sibling brand Old Navy, on which the company spent more than $52 million for the period.

Gap's internal creative team worked with Yard NY--the agency behind the recent revival of Crocs--on the new campaign, which was shot in Los Angeles and will debut Nov. 6. Omnicom's PHD handled media duties while AKQA worked on digital.

The commercial's inclusion of a crazy-striped sweater, one of the brand's signature products, is "ownable" by the company, Brommers adds.

Crazy stripes aside, though, Gap is a clothier operating in a retail landscape that is increasingly unkind to apparel brands. For the second-quarter, the brand reported a comparable-stores decline of 1 percent, which counts as a step up from last year's 3 percent decline. The company is closing stores in its portfolio--roughly 200 when combined with sister brand Banana Republic. Gap does have one high-profile store opening on the horizon: The company's Times Square flagship, the former Toys R Us space that will be shared with Old Navy, opens Friday. Brommers notes that Gap will also try to make the most of its brick-and-mortar sites to better connect with consumers by offering services like gift wrapping and do-it-yourself denim.

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Oct 23, 2017
Stephen Niedzwiecki
Chief Creative Officer:
Stephen Niedzwiecki
Executive Creative Director:
Dave Clark
Creative Director:
David Oscroft
Design Director:
Jay Chapman
Art Director:
Sarah Evans
Kira Pack
Ruth Bernstein
Chief Strategic Officer:
Ruth Bernstein
Executive Director of Strategy:
James Denman
Managing Director:
Jarrod Bull
Account Supervisor:
Bobby Bush
Executive Producer:
Kirsten Arongino
Molly Dowd
Associate Producer:
Peter Schwab
Production Coordinator:
Katrina Allick

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