Brand: Gap Skinny Black Pants (Gap)
Link: Click Here
Target: Skinny white women
This spot starts with a clip of Audrey Hepburn in the Paramount film “Funny Face.” In this scene she’s in a Paris nightclub and says, “I rather feel like expressing myself now. And I could certainly use the release,” and starts to dance somewhat absurdly. As she begins to dance she steps out of the club and the movie into a white frame where she dances to “Back in Black” by AC/DC. As she continues to dance, sometimes mirrored with the fram shifting she says, “If a girl wants to dance, a girl wants to dance. It’s a form of expression.” Then she is briefly split into four identical Audreys before she leaps back into the movie frame. Then the spot shifts to the Gap logo against a tan background with the “The Skinny Black Pant” as the subtitle.
This is a visually dramatic spot which follows the pseudo-iPod dance style being evolved for the Gap in its return to television (see our review of the excellent first spot in this campaign, ‘Jeans Take Shape’ here). Audrey Hepburn instantly commands attention as does her shocking step out of the movie frame and into the Gap commercial. The CGI effects are top notch and the entire experience is seamless.
Gap is continuing to do a good job with this campaign at developing an updated visual style which is both a modernization of the classic Gap dance commercials and a badly-needed assertion of fashion leadership for the clothing retailer. This spot is unique and ownable and has continuity with both past Gap efforts and the recent Jeans Take Shape spot.
Gap takes a huge risk with this spot and almost pulls it off. The practice of using dead celebrities to promote brands is controversial and many consumers hate it. This spot intends to walk the line between endorsement and affiliation. The point is to show that Gap is emulating Hepburn’s style rather than the opposite. Even though it’s a good effort, the visual effects will be startling and offensive to some consumers. Audrey Hepburn is a cherished cultural icon and pairing her with the Gap (or with AC/DC for that matter) may strike some as heresy.
There is also some particular (and possibly unintended) irony in this spot. In ‘Funny Face,’ Hepburn plays Jo Stockton who desperately wants to meet the beatnick founder of “empatheticalism” (which sagely allows that to understand other people you must put yourselves in others shoes). To do this she is forced to model ultra-chic fashions for photographer Dick Avery. By using this particular clip, Gap compounds the ironic statement of the movie about trends and fashions. Which makes this advertising blog wonder if they were really watching.
Another minor issue with this spot is that it lacks the “Fall into the Gap” tagline which was successfully revived for the ‘Jeans Take Shape’ spot. The tagline helps remind the lapsed Gap-ista of the days when Gap really did lead fashion and we don’t think it should be abandoned so quickly.
Branding Bottom Line:
Sad but better for Audrey Hepburn than reanimation in a beer commercial.