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How Gap Stayed Cool By Being Normal


Gap is taking a romantic black & white turn as their fall 2014 campaign “Dress Normal” is milking the “Normcore” trend. Gap is leveraging the new fashion movement “Normcore” that is all over fashion brands. The fashion style “Normcore” is basic, unpretentious, run-of-the-mill looking clothing.

What is Gap? Gap is normal basic clothing…perfect.

These clean black and white ads leave you with a sense of wonder and mystery, making them the spots you remember the most. Gap is also heavily marketing their black and grey denim collection.
The Wieden & Kennedy New York office created these cinematic beauts.

The director for the campaign is David Fincher, who directed “House of Cards” and “Fight Club” (to name a few). These ads stray from the conventional, as they are filmed in the “middle” of a story plot to keep you questioning. Gap’s Global CMO Seth Farbman wanted to see “positive anxiety” in the Gap ads through Fincher’s work and it was delivered.

Take a look, each ad is a snug 30 seconds long.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
Executive Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman, David Kolbusz
Producer: Lisa Delonay
Production Company: Reset
Director: David Fincher
Executive Producer, Chief Operating Officer: Dave Morrison
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Director of Photography: Jeff Cronenweth
Production Designer: Don Burt
Editing Company: Work Editorial
Post Producer: Sari Resnick
Post Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Visual Effects Company: Mill
Mix Company: Sound Lounge

Classic black and white films are known as “Film Noir” in French. This means black film/cinema. Film Noir is a mood, style, point-of-view or tone of a film. Noir films were an organic artistic movement first produced during and after World War II representing the angst and depression of the era.

Film Noir films are easily recognizable due to their low-key lighting (known as chiaroscuro), depth-of-field camera work, mystifying visuals, threatening shadows, diverse camera angles (which are normally vertical or diagonal instead of horizontal), seductive cigarette smoke, and anxious emotional story lines. Locations are almost always at night, filled with shadows, alleys, back doors and fancy apartment buildings.

Lighting is the most important feature to a Noir Film. There are three quintessential lights that are used. The first and most important light is the main light for which is usually the brightest and most dominant light on set. The second light that complements the main light is the fill light. This light is placed opposite the main light to fill in some of the shadows that were made by the main light. Lastly is the back light. The back light supplements an outline to separate the subject from the background.

Gap used a Noir film approach to capture classic staple clothing pieces that they have to offer. Each ad is very well made and there has been a lot of positive feedback from Gap buyers and non-buyers alike. Audiences enjoy the “cool” feeling the spots bring.
Will the ads drive up Gap’s popularity? SHP+ will keep an eye out.


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