The Reality Gap

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Faced with a case of recurring ad-failure amidst tanking same-store sales, Gap is taking the crazy cool notion of shunning TV in a revolutionary new print-only campaign.
The Laird & Partners campaign is revolutionary because it features relatively obscure personalities wearing Gap clothing. Personalities as obscure as John Mayer, Lucy Liu, Forest Whitaker and Selma Blair. We’re confused. So the new print-only Gap ads will have really famous people wearing Gap clothing. Sounds like a revolution to me, or the most common clothing ad there is. Yes, people get paid big money to come up with these ideas.
One of these men, Trey Laird, president of the ad firm that bears his name, comments that the people in the new Gap ads “are not the most expected choices, they’re not in Us Weekly every week.” Rather, they are in Us Weekly every other week. It seems like Gap is spending more time marketing the fact that its new ads are edgy than its actual clothing, as we look for clues as to why the chain’s sales stink.
The ad wizards mulled it over and realized that maybe they do have a tired, generic concept. That’s why the pictures will be in black and white and shot by Annie Leibovitz, best known lately for making Queen Elizabeth II look like she was in the Matrix. Sprinkle in a few people who aren’t as famous as the dude dating Jessica Simpson, like the director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” and you get your revolution... or a dressed up offshoot of 90% of clothing ads.
Gap Tries a Somewhat Old-Fashioned Campaign [New York Times]

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