This season, after one very large identity crisis, Gap has decided to stick with the tried and true. The retailer’s holiday commercials never fail to delight, and this year’s campaign, “Gap Want,” while slightly less jazzy than those of years past, is no exception.
While it's kicking off its pre-Black Friday sales (offering a 40% off flash sale over the weekend and 30% online discount today), its store windows and new ads are selling a different kind of feel-good message. They feature a collection of model-y and non-model-y people, including social media maven Alisa Leonard, comedian Donald Glover, Foursquare founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Salvaduri, actress Yaya DaCosta and model/presidential niece Lauren Bush.
In their respective ads, each spokesperson promotes a favorite charity, relating the cause to what they “want to give” this year. The non-profit organizations include FEED Projects (founded by Lauren Bush), Goods for Good and Women for Women International, among others.
The campaign plays off the feelings of last December when the economic recession forced consumers to reevaluate the true meaning of the holidays. More emphasis seems to be placed now on philanthropic causes and charitable donations than the need for a mountain of presents under the tree.
Then Gap did something very clever. The ad offers the viewer the option to give a $1 donation to one of the charities simply by “Liking” the video on Facebook. Even the Scrooges among us surely can take the time to follow a link. And voilà! The viewer, simply looking to do a good deed, is swept to Gap’s Facebook page, bombarded by the “Holiday Most Wanted Guide” and the opportunity to buy the clothes the presenters are wearing in the commercials.
No advertising campaign comes free of ulterior motives, but in this case, Gap has done an exceptional job of balancing selflessness, self-promotion and social media. It is supposed to be a far better thing to give than to receive, but this year, Gap seems to have both covered. Still, according to its fine print, it's only donating a total of $150,000 combined to the charities featured in the campaign — wouldn't they "want" a little more than that?