The Gap’s TV Commercials

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Analysis of the Gap’s TV Commercials Why are Gap ads so powerful? The concept of all of their recent television commercials is very simple, yet highly effective. An attractive young person, or perhaps a small group of attractive young people, is on a stark, white set. The actor/ model/ celebrity then sings and or dances around. The commercial ends with a catchy phrase about the Gap: Gap Rocks or Gap Swings, or something similar. It’s a simple concept, but somehow it works. What branding is about for this company is identifying through the elaborate cool-hunting market-research process what it is that the public cares about and are passionate about as a culture, and harnessing that to sell something very different. So it is, in a sense, a betrayal. The Gap's not selling music, they're selling clothing. By examining the institutions, sign systems, subject positions, and mediation used in the advertisements, perhaps an explanation to their success, and why the public allows itself to be duped, can be determined. The Gap hit it big in April of 1997 with its first ad of the series, one for khakis. The ad, which featured about10 swing dancing couples (all, of course, wearing Gap Khakis), lasted 15 seconds. No one onscreen spoke at all. Quickly following this ad, was a second, equally effective commercial. In this ad, a dozen actors sat and took turns singing a line from Donavan’s famous hit, Mellow Yellow. These ads apparently spoke to people, because they received great results in the polls. To this initial popularity, of course, one can attribute the barrage of similar advertisements that plague today’s televisions. The campaign was very popular and very effective with adult consumers of all ages according to Ad Track, USA TO... ... middle of paper ... ... Marketer of the Year. The publisher of Fashion Network Report observed that "they made their name into a brand. They are one of the few retailers that has that luxury." Gap now spends more than half a billion dollars a year on advertising: almost five percent of the company's sales is devoted to selling the attitude that brands the clothes and the people who wear them. Works Cited: Enrico, Dottie, "Viewers Find Ads Toe-Tapping Good." USA Today Ad Track: http://www.usatoday.com/money/index/ad206.htm "Levi’s 501s and the ‘Knowing Wink’" ENG 341 Library Reserve. Lukens, Clinton, "Credibility gap widens with new ads" Trojan Daily Vol 136 No 58. April 20, 2003: http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/dt/V136/N58/03-credit.58v.html Temple, Kim, "Naomi Klein: Who’s the rock star now?" Chart Attack. June 7, 2003: http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2003/06/0706.cfm

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