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Gap’s New Ad Campaign: A Stretch

NEW YORK — Gap’s moving from stripes to stretch.<br><br>In its new TV campaign that breaks Tuesday, Gap will focus on GapStretch pants for women. Set to new interpretations of the 1967 Simon and Garfunkel hit, "Feelin’ Groovy," the...

NEW YORK — Gap’s moving from stripes to stretch.

This story first appeared in the March 3, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In its new TV campaign that breaks Tuesday, Gap will focus on GapStretch pants for women. Set to new interpretations of the 1967 Simon and Garfunkel hit, “Feelin’ Groovy,” the spots feature different women, each projecting cool confidence and enjoying themselves.

For example, Frankie Rayder jumps on top of a park bench, Maggie Rizer slides down a handrail, and Kiara gives a curbside puddle an unexpected splash. Each spot ends with the tag line: “Fit to Feel Groovy — GapStretch — The New Pants.”

The spots were created by Laird & Partners, Gap’s ad agency, directed by Mikael Jansson, and shot by Jean-Yves Escoffier.

The song, “Feelin’ Groovy,” is played in each of the four different spots, but is interpreted two distinct ways. One version features the soulful voice of Angie Stone, and the other is a more modern interpretation by Mya. The music was produced by Grammy-award-winning producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

“It’s really different for them,” said Laird. “They’ve been in this white space for quite a while, it’s sort of their signature, and we wanted to take it to the next level. Gap has always been so much about product, product, product, and we wanted to come up with a clear product message, but the emotional message is just as important.” The ads were shot outdoors in Los Angeles.

Laird said they decided to feature only women.

“We want to start speaking to individual targets in a much more focused way. Instead of saying, ‘Pants for Everybody,’ we wanted to connect with women in a more emotional way,” added Laird.

The four 30-second spots will run on such hit prime-time TV shows as “American Idol,” “24,” “Friends,” “Will & Grace,” as well as “Good Morning America,” the “Today” show and “Saturday Night Live.” In addition, they will run on numerous cable TV shows. A Gap spokeswoman declined to reveal the spring TV budget.

Corporately, Gap has been pouring a lot of money into its TV and print efforts.

As reported in December, Gap Inc.’s full-year ad spending was expected to reach $513 million, or 21 percent more than the $423 million it spent in 2001, based on company data and UBS Warburg estimates. Gap’s fourth-quarter ad budget of $151 million represented 29 percent of its estimated ad spending this year and compared with the $116 million, or 27 percent share, it spent a year earlier.

Gap has been aggressively trying to win back customers after a 2 1/2-year losing streak. Gap stores in the U.S. generated net sales of $5.1 billion for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, versus $5.2 billion a year ago. As reported Friday, Gap Inc., which generated $14.45 billion in sales for the year, reported its second straight increase in quarterly profits and a full year of profits.

Shares of Gap fell $1.78, or 12 percent, to close Friday at $13.04 on New York Stock Exchange trading. Two analysts issued downgrades on the company’s stock due to increased expenses, largely due to a $40 million increase in advertising expenditures, as well as weak February sales and merchandise margin trends this quarter.

Downgrading the stock to “hold” from “buy,” Lazard Frères analyst Todd Slater, said, “the company is spending like it’s 1999.” Banc of America Securities’ Dana Cohen moved Gap to “neutral” from “buy.”