GAP ADS: A HOLLYWOOD TRIUMVIRATE

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Gap hopes a little Hollywood magic can get its ads back on track.
The troubled retailer recruited Cameron Crowe, the Coen brothers and director Roman Coppola to produce its latest 30-second summer commercials promoting denim, khakis and the white shirt.
The spots, “Denim Invasion,” “Two White Shirts” and “Down on Khaki Street,” premiered Sunday night in the U.S. during commercial breaks for “Law & Order, Criminal Intent” and the “X-Files.” Throughout May, the spots will air during breaks for “24,” “The West Wing,” “Friends,” “ER,” “Will and Grace,” “Felicity” and the “NBA Playoffs.” The commercials will also air in the U.K. and Canada.
Crowe marks his directorial debut in TV advertising with the spot, “Denim Invasion,” which stars Kate Beckinsale and Orlando Bloom as an attractive couple who are chased by admirers. In “Two White Shirts,” directed by the Coen brothers, Dennis Hopper and Christina Ricci are lounging poolside playing a game of chess — which Ricci is winning. And in “Down on Khaki Street,” directed by Coppola, several young men and women are cruising carefree on bicycles.
The campaign was created under the direction of Lisa Prisco, the creative director behind such Gap ads as “Khakis Swing” and “Khakis Groove.” Each spot is set to two different soundtracks of Sixties-inspired music.
Gap’s summer campaign also includes black-and-white photography taken by David Strick.
Prisco was rehired by Gap this spring to produce the summer commercials. She took over from Gap’s previous agency, Modernista, in Boston. Beginning in the fall, the TV and print ads will be handled by Laird & Partners, a new agency headed by Trey Laird.
The new Gap TV ads will run through May 25. Gap declined to reveal how much it will spend on its TV campaign, however a spokeswoman said total ad spending at Gap Inc. is level to a year ago. Gap Inc. (including all its divisions) spent $423 million on total marketing expenditures in fiscal 2002. According to CMR, the Gap brand shelled out $90 million in media expenditures in 2001.
By highlighting classic, simple styles, Gap hopes to jump-start its summer business. As reported, weak traffic and deep markdowns led to another month of double-digit same-store declines at Gap in March, with comps down another 12 percent. Industry analysts expect the bad news to continue in April, which would give it monthly comp declines for two consecutive years.

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