Mar 11, 2007

Toad's Favorites, #6

Say what you will about the Gap, when they're on, they're on.

And this spot, featuring Patrick Wilson ("Little Children") and Claire Danes ("My So Called Life") is very, very Gap. Now I don't pretend to understand fashion advertising but the Gap seems to have captured that classic Americana space with spots that resemble music videos, what with all the dancing and all. From the "Khakis Swing" to "Audrey Hepburn" to this, they've been consistently on brand and on target. This spot is striking to look at and is instantly identifiable as a Gap ad (even at the gym with the sound and closed-captioning off). Add the up-and-coming stars and the unexpected music and you've got yourself a home run.


Jenne said...

Claire Danes is "up-and-coming"? If so, then she's been "coming up" for nearly ten years!

Firstly, Ethel Merman's voice is as atrocious now as it was back when the song was recorded. Secondly -- and, in my mind, more importantly -- "boyfriend trousers" are yet another stupid fashion idea from The Gap; the whole commercial strikes me as a giant waste of time and energy (and celebrity) to push a product that should have never been. What girl wants to don a pair of trousers that make her look sloppy, lazy, and hovenly? Wrinkled, over-sized, ill-fitting pants that only a rail thin model/actress can make look at least mildly chic in the I-slept-over-at-this-dude's-house-all-I've-got-to-wear-on-the-walk-of-shame-are-his-pants-I-found-at-the-top-of-his-laundry-bag look?

The Gap would do well to hire some good designers, aim for stocking their shelves with an ever-rotating selection of reasonably-priced fashions from across the spectrum of well-made classics to pieces reflecting (and ahead of) the trends. They'd do well to heed the evolution in fashion retailing from giants like H&M and Zara, even Target, in how they develop and maintain collections aimed at the trend-conscious masses. Then, maybe rethink how their advertising dollars might most effectively drive people into their stores -- to buy more than just a pair of the season's most ill-concepted pants.

Anonymous said...


Alan Wolk said...

So Jenne, do you like those pants? It was hard to tell from your comment ;)

I know you meant it sarcastically, but Claire Danes actually has been "up and coming" for about 10 years- she's always poised to break into the big time, but never quite does.

To your point, however, I'm no expert on women's clothing, but I did think that the pants looked kind of ummm, masculine and not particularly sexy. That said, the spot still harkens back to the Gap of yore, the one that actually seemed to get it. And in a sea of spots aimed at hip 30something males, it really does stand out.

Jenne said...

As far as standing out in a sea of spots aimed at hip 30something males, I'll agree -- it stands out. I just don't think it stands out for necessarily the right things. (Ethel Merman, for one, would stand out in a sea of pretty much anything.) Yes, it's cute, and yes, it's a little like the Gap ads of old, but from a lot of cold, hard facts, the Gap isn't exactly doing that hot. But whether it stands out and whether it's actually making women (and girls) go awwwww all the way to the Gap are two separate things. Given the reactions on two pop culture blogs, Best Week Ever (where you can read the first draft of comments posted by moi on this very subject) and The Onion's AV Club, I would say that this ad appeals to some -- but mainly men who like the idea of Claire Danes running around pantless. I will admit that the Claire Danes spot is vastly better than the Boyfriend Trousers posters hanging around New York right now, in which every skeletal model has these oversized, baggy, wrinkled pants hanging off her bony hips with a look of vapid contempt.

Anyways. :-)

Anonymous said...

This spot is supposed to appeal to "hip 30something males"?

More like 30-something males-whose-idea-of-hip-is The Gap-who-love-Show-Tunes-and-might-be-gay.

(Then again, maybe that's why it "stands out." I can hear the CMO now, "I got it! I know how we'll get these dudes' attention. With a twee dance number!"

Seriously, if they're looking to sell to these "boyfriend trousers" to guys who actually have girlfriends, I'd suggest ditching the dance numbers.

Or at least adding a stripper pole.

Anonymous said...

Wow- talk about missing the boat, really?

The point was the spots DON'T pander to hip 30something males. They're not the ones buying these pants. Their girlfriends are.

Jenne said...

Um, these spots DO pander to 30 something males. As a straight female, I don't want to see Claire Danes underwearless. But my hipster 30 something male friends certainly do. I also don't want to wear my boyfriend's trousers, nor am I going to pay for a pair of pants that fit like his, cute choreography in a Gap ad be damned.

And lo, my (female) art director brings up this very question this morning: "What is up with those awful Gap ads with Claire Danes? Who wants to buy boy's pants?"

Alan Wolk said...

Come on Jenne- you're smarter than that.

Why would you create a spot that pandered to a demographic that clearly had zero interest in your product?

Women are the target for these "boyfriend pants" - hence Patrick Wilson in his boxers (check out all the comments about him on the YouTube video this links to) If you're catering to straight men, show tunes and Broadway dance routines ain't the way to do it either.

As for your art director friend-- you're confusing two things here- she doesn't like the PRODUCT being advertised (nor do you) - the actual ad is another story. I mean I personally find cigarettes repulsive, but can appreciate a good cigarette ad. Same thing here. Those pants may be a fashion faux-pas. But the ad is another story.

Jenne said...

i never said i thought the ad was bad (in fact, i said it was kinda cute, the personal hatred of ethel merman is just a subjective thing due to listening to endless musical soundtracks growing up), i just think their efforts are maligned.

Alan Wolk said...

Then we are in complete agreement. (FWIW, Mrs. T was commenting this weekend on how she thought the pants were pretty ridiculous from a fashion perspective.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the ad as cute. She is a bad dancer, he is a good dancer. "I can do anything better than You" and she can't even dance as well. It's insulting. There are tons of cute young women that can dance. I would felt better if the dancer was cute and a good dancer. Turn the volume down and watch it and it will make you wince.

Anonymous said...

I like the commercial because it has Claire Danes dancing in it, dancing well by the way. Did nobody else notice?

We assume so easily actors are supposed to dance and sing, but so rarely do they get a chance to show it. Not everyone who is even a professional dancer keeps form and keeps dancing in their late 20's, most people can't dance at all (see spoofs of the above commercial). Why don't we just appreciate a cheeky exhibit of someone's talent and hard work?

I do.