A Gap in the Message

Hey, remember when Gap tried to change its logo from the instantly recognizable, classic, and iconic navy blue box to that pseudo-hipster Helvetica disaster? Well, I do, and having followed Gap’s attempted resurrection since Patrick Robinson’s appointment as the brand’s Head Designer, I still cringe at the sight of that eerily floating blue square (why it feels the need to haunt the letter ‘p’ is still a mystery to me…just one more reason why I could never become a graphic designer).

Now Gap is pursuing a new strategy, and it’s one that I’m not sure makes much more sense; the brand is strongly pushing its higher-priced 1969 line, which supposedly represents the “cool, sexy part”, to up its fashion credibility among potential customers. The big question, though, is exactly who is the typical Gap customer?

Fans of Glee know that the latest episode included a song-and-dance segment in a Gap store (the video alone is worth watching for Darren Criss singing enough thinly veiled suggestions to make your palms sweat) filled with happy, smiling customers holding onto bundles of jackets, pants, and t-shirts. There were also various shots of dancing mannequins decked out in Gap gear, flips over tables of sweaters, and an adorably befuddled store manager whose all-Gap outfit made me wonder why more men don’t shop there.

The latter question was immediately answered by watching the video again, which is when I realized that none of the clothes featured seemed remotely “cool” or “sexy”. In fact, they looked rather…boring. There’s nothing wrong with a cardigan and slim cut pair of jeans, but to show those types of clothes on a show targeted mainly at pre-tweens and teenagers seems almost pointless. Gap’s customer is of a much older set, and the brand acknowledged as much when you see all the customers in the segment looking to be in their late 20’s or 30’s.

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of musical TV shows for those past the age where fan-squealing is still considered appropriate, so perhaps Gap was just hoping to show young consumers that it does still exist—and who knows, maybe if you’re lucky you’ll find yourself being serenaded by the cast of Glee the next time you drop by.

Aimee Shimizu
Assistant Blog Editor

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