Why Gap’s “Dress Normal” campaign misses the mark.

When we first saw the new Gap TV spot, we did a double-take. Surely Gap, our national anthem brand, didn’t just use the term, “Dress Normal” in its advertising? Surely, we misread or misheard this TV spot. Right?

Nope. We didn’t. This is Gap’s new campaign – “Dress Normal.” And, it’s a stinker. Here’s why:

– Millennials (and Gen Z) pride themselves on being unique, expressing their personal style. They don’t want to conform. They want to express their unique personalities and pride themselves on being different. So, why would Gap think that a conforming brand message would work? Not sure.

– Beyond the fundamental reasons that it doesn’t make sense, Gap is saying that dressing is an art. “Finding your own version of ‘dress normal’ is an art – my normal is different from your normal, and that’s the essence of the campaign,” Seth Farbman, Gap global chief marketing officer.

Really Gap? Really? Dressing may well be an “art” to folks who have thousands of dollars to spend on clothing – but, it ain’t an art to most regular folks trying to put a sweater on their back. To the majority of people, dressing is a way to get by – and if you can express yourself a little bit while you do so, fantastic!

– Ok, if we thought you were going for dressing normally – as far as regular people were concerned, Gap – we might let you slide. If you featured regular, normal people. But, you’re not. You’ve opted to feature celebrities such as Angelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss, Jena Malone, Zosia Mamet, etc.

What we’re saying here is that your new “Dress Normal” campaign is founded on a nice idea – but, a poorly executed one. Had you featured regular people showing how they “Dress Normal” (better stated, “dressed their normal”) with Gap products, no harm no foul – perhaps even admirable. But, when you try to “dress up” the concept of “Dress Normal” by featuring celebs, it not only rings untrue, it falls flat. We’re not the only ones who think so: Gap’s Dress Normal Campaign Isn’t Working Because Normal People Don’t Want to be Normal.

To find out more about how to help your brand not fall flat, contact ERC.

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