Could rebranding have saved GAP?

June 29, 2015

The GAP, once known as the hip, laid-back brand suitable for all, announced the closing of 175 stores nationwide.

Like most brands, when GAP realized it needed to do something to attract new customers - in this case, Millennials - they turned to a reputable ad agency to strategize them a new campaign. They came up with the “Dress Normal” campaign, which, let’s just say, could have gone better.

The concept for the campaign is great. It stood for "individualism and the liberation that comes from confidently being your most authentic self.” However, the campaign itself simply wasn’t enough.

If you don’t even remember the campaign, then you’re not alone. Personally, I don’t, and I spend my days studying the big brands, and appreciating the cream of the crop.

What they needed was to dig deep and find their roots. With an in-depth study of themselves, they could have found their original message and reconnected with their target audience. What GAP needs is an entire rebrand, including an evaluation of their brand position.

The “Dress Normal” campaign was essentially wasted money. There isn’t a deep emotional connection to GAP because it’s a huge, faceless corporation. Unfortunately, many small businesses make the same mistake.

More than a campaign failure, it was ultimately a marketing strategy fail. The campaign should have been a piece of the strategy, not the other way around.

If GAP’s position was based on individualism and liberation, they should have repositioned their brand, their target, and everything else in between. You can’t just take a bold stance without any type of follow through. I mean, you can, but GAP’s result is what you’ll get.

Can someone please answer what normal means? Do I want to be normal? A more appropriate tagline might have been: “Be Yourself”. I just came up with that in the last 5 minutes. Sounds to me like GAP’s hopefully-former agency needs to reboot their creative team.

We’ll take your business next time, GAP.