Gap ditches TV for Facebook in advertising new jeans

jeansClothing maker Gap is rolling out a new line of jeans, Gap 1969. One thing that will be missing with this new denim line? TV advertising.

Instead, the retailer will rely on Facebook to reach customers. Ads on various Web sites (including glam.com and popsugar.com) will drive traffic to Gap’s Facebook page. The “Born to Fit” campaign to promote the 1969 line, created by interactive marketing agency AKQA, also will include traditional elements such as cinema, print, and outdoor ads, too, but Facebook is the main event.

This is quite a change in advertising strategy for Gap, who in the past has turned out hip TV ads featuring celebrities and popular music. (Remember that one for khakis with Dwight Yoakum’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love? Sarah Jessica  and Lenny with How Do You Wear It? Beyoncé and crew strutting in leotards?)

But TV advertising is expensive and times are tight. Gap has been battling to revitalize its brand during the past few years and 1969 is its bid to get back on the leader board when it comes to denim. Focusing on social media and online marketing to the exclusion of TV is a bold move but a smart one, considering that its target market (and increasingly an older audience – interpretation: can afford jeans that cost $54-$59) uses the hooey out of Facebook.

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Photo by Brian Teutsch, used under a Creative Commons license.

Comments

  1. Insightful story and indicative of the trends seen within the industry. We all know digital advertising IS the present and future of advertising, and the growing presence of online social media groups is really causing agencies everywhere to sit up and take notice. Still, I will miss those upbeat musical GAP commercials. Sort of.

  2. TV has been America’s biggest megaphone for the past 30+ years. It’ll be interesting to see if social media, and esp. Facebook, can now take its place to launch a new line of jeans. I hope it works for Gap, for Facebook, and to provide a new choice of megaphone for America.

    I also hope it leads to the introduction of ENTERTAINING ad units in Facebook. Let’s face it. TV advertising was interruptive and often annoying, but it could also be super-funny and enjoyable at times. Social media ads need to become so entertaining that people want to talk about them around the water cooler or act them up at the club!

    If anybody can do this, The Gap can!! (Almost 500,000 YouTube views for the 3 Gap video ads mentioned above. That’s pretty good). Let the show begin…

  3. Thanks, Adam and Frederic, for commenting! It will be interesting to see what kind of results Gap has with this new approach.

  4. George Garcia says:

    This is so cool. The Times They Are A Changing!

    Now if only the news media would realize nobody is watching TV they could stop pushing/promoting ideology and start reporting.

  5. Jenni-

    Thank you for this post … I Twittered out this blog and got a lot of reaction from folks!

    Let’s be real … the eyeballs have moved … and are moving. I applaud GAP for taking this big step out there and have a feeling that it will work for them.

    I was having a conversation with my buddy Gary Vaynerchuk about this exact topic a couple weeks ago at my event. Gary said it best, “First it was radio, then tv and now the internet.” The public doesn’t race away from each medium all together, but the eyeballs do shift!

    Tom

  6. Thank you, George and Tom, for commenting! I agree that it will likely be a good move for Gap considering their target market (but Facebook wouldn’t be a good fit for all companies, i.e. B2B companies). I don’t think TV advertising will go away any time soon but it’s smart to diversify.

  7. Melanie McKenzie says:

    How did this new strategy perform?

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