Friday, November 16, 2012

Gap vs Mac - who started it all. Creative Excellence Fridays

Much has been said about the time and attention Mac has put into their brand over the last twenty or so years. Some say they invented a new way of visually packaging themselves. Steve Jobs spent on average about two hours a day with his agency to carefully massage the message and brand. But are they really the pioneers of the new mode of messaging? I challenge they are not. The Gap has come a long way since their humble beginnings in 1969 when founders Donald and Doris Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco. The first Gap's merchandise consisted of Levi's and LPs. In the 1990's the Gap had a successful celebrity print campaign that featured the likes of Steve McQueen.
A solid brand association and strategic move as McQueen's legacy only builds after his passing in 1980.

Their celebrity association continues with a variety of current personalities including Jennifer Garner.

I remember standing in a Gap store in midtown Manhattan six years ago and seeing this commercial playing in the store. I felt they had really nailed it. Sex and The City was hotter than ever and Lenny Kravitz created the soundtrack of cool.

We pull it back to 1999 with this next spot starring the beacon of cool at the time LLCool J.

Remember this spot from 1998? Bing Crosby breaks it down. 

Now check this out. Same approach, but with a very cool twist in post.

This spot definitely has it's own uniqueness, but it's hard to deny that the Gap pioneered edgy, face to the camera, multi-cut, multi music advertising. . Much credit goes out to long time agency TBWAChiatDay.  The Gap has had some re-alignment since "logo gate" in 2011.  It will be interesting to see what direction Ogilvy takes the brand after 24 years under the guidance of Marka Hansen.

In the Gap vs Apple brand debate, Apple simply took a page from Nigel's mantra in Spinal Tap, and turned it up to 11. Which is better? It's like asking which painting do you like better, Piccaso's "Guernica" or MirĂ³s "Upside Down Figures." Does it really matter? 

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.
Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

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