Gap Telling People to “Dress Normal” in Newest Ad Campaign


As fall quickly approaches, new advertising campaigns are popping up everywhere–the Gap is no exception. In the past, Gap has been known for short, precise tag lines such as “Black is a Color” and “Born to Fit.” But this time has customers a little confused. The news line the company came out with is “Dress Normal.” Gap hired director David Fincher, most known for directing House of Cards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Fight Club.  In doing this they tried to add “anxiety” to commercials. The company did not want a typical Gap advertisement, but “we [Gap] wanted to tell part of the story and leave a sense of wonder,” said Gap’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Seth Farbman, who also told Buzzfeed–

“There’s certainly a long tradition at Gap that people come first and that the clothes are there to make you feel like your best self, and we’ve been unapologetic about that for years. ‘Dress Normal’ is a reinforcement of that idea.”

The print ads for the fall include celebrities Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss, Michael K. Williams, Jena Malone and Zosia Mamet. These stars are pictured in everyday scenes. One (below) is resting on  a chair. One is a woman walking on a beach, another sitting at a coffee shop. Unlike past Gap ads where models are posing against a simple, colored background, these new ads try to depict people wearing Gap clothes in a normal setting.



The commercials are all in black and white, with the Gap logo at the end in white, aqua, yellow, or pink. This could be a nod to the different colors incorporated in the new fall line. The company, whose average buyer is age 39, wanted to appeal to the Millennials (age 16 to 34) yet still be classic and stay in touch with the older generation of Gap buyers.

Unfortunately, the view of the marketing director is not what is coming across to many customers. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, normal means “usual or ordinary : not strange.” In a society where everyone strives to be extraordinary and original, it seems like Gap is telling them to be average. While this is not what Gap was trying to go for, it is how a great deal of consumers are interpreting the new campaign.

In my opinion, I can see where Gap is trying to go with this, but it just does not come across as well as I am sure they hoped. The commercials and print ads are very well designed and planned out, but the tag line needs some work.


Diaz, A., & Zmuda, N. (2014, August 27). David Fincher Elevates ‘Dress Normal’ for Gap | CMO Strategy – Advertising Age. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
Maheshwari, S. (2014, August 18). Gap Tells Customers To “Dress Normal” In Fall Marketing Campaign. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
Normal. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2014.
Silva, T. (2014, September 9). The Gap’s Strange New Ad Campaign. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
Vaynshteyn, G. (2014, August 21). What Exactly Does Gap Mean by “Dress Normal?” Retrieved September 10, 2014.

5 thoughts on “Gap Telling People to “Dress Normal” in Newest Ad Campaign

  1. I actually work at a Gap store and I can see why they are trying to appeal to a younger demographic, because most of the shoppers are mid 30’s and older. However, I agree that the current campaign is missing the mark a bit. I don’t think the issue with Gap is their brand identity, I think it is the clothing in general. Gap offers great basics and business casual, but they can’t and continue to not offer younger audiences the uniqueness and quirky choices offered by places like Topshop or H&M.


  2. I really enjoy the retro feel the Gap ads are giving off to the consumer. However I agree with what is stated above. I do not think Gap is struggling to appeal to the millennials because of the way they advertise or for what age group as been best known to shop there. I think it is more about the clothing in general that may pull people our age away. I do they they have great basics and sweaters and heck, awesome kakis when I was in grade school, but I wouldn’t say they have a signature look that grabs the attention of people in their teens to early twenties as Topshop, Urban Outfitters, or J Crew.


  3. I find these adds really appealing and cool. The casual manner of the actors makes me want to go see Gaps new collection, even thought its not a place I would usually shop. Although, people are striving to be different and make a statement in fashion today, thats not a realistic way to dress day to day. I think what Gap is trying to get at is that their clothes are for every one and are easy basics to have and throw on. I think this is a good way to get millennials attention, because we are always searching for trendy, but also easy and comfortable clothing.


  4. Gap has always been a company I have admired. When I was younger I loved the classic styles it had and admired how they stayed relevant and “with it” in regards of fashion. One ad by them that I can’t forget was recreating the straight leg black pant that Audrey Hepburn wore a few years back. That was a fabulous ad! It was very interesting to learn that their target age group is 39. I always noticed younger people around my age shopping there. This blog post made me realize how effective Gap is staying relevant and popular in this time and age where they have MANY competitors.


  5. As a GAP lover myself I find it unfortunate that the campaign is being misinterpreted. I took it to mean that you can dress normal, be you, as in you don’t need to try to break fashion boundaries but just go about your day and dress normal but with normal being such a sensitive word nowadays many are taking it the wrong way. Hopefully next time they’ll use better word choice.


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