Brittany Campbell
art director + designer


GAP: Be Your Own T

This week's Ad of the Week is brought to us by The Gap. I've been walking in a lot of different parts of the city this week and I keep seeing the same Gap ad on all the bus stops. It's a young women wearing a navy blue and white striped t-shirt and wearing a brown hat. But what she's wearing is not what you take notice of. The first thing you notice is the gapping whole between her two front teeth.

As an aspiring art director I can't help but think why this model, and her teeth, were chosen for this campaign. Not only is she in this one ad, the same photo is present in an other ad that collages other photos together and she is on the main page of the women's Gap website. The only conclusion I can come up with is Gap was going for shock value. Similar to the "sex sells" concept, the attention this model gets does little to sell the clothes but it does attract pedestrian eyes.

The biggest problem I have with this model choice is THE GAP BETWEEN HER TEETH! It's hard to ignore the play on words- GAP teeth. I don't know if it's very intelligent to rebrand The Gap as "The Gap Teeth Brand."

I can't help but think of how I'm judging this young woman's appearance and how I wish, as a society, we could get past our obsessions over physical imperfections but advertising is a business, and in my opinion, an art. Each and every choice made in creating an ad is on purpose. There is reason behind every placement of type, color and model choice. So I really wish I could have been present in the room when the art director said "THAT model in THAT pose with THOSE teeth."

The Gap has historically launched campaigns and press releases that, I personally believe, were made just to create buzz. They've had their many campaigns that show favorite celebrities dancing around in the latest Gap pants. There was their involvement in (red), which did increase AIDS awareness but also increased Gap's market value. And who can forget The Gap rebrand of 2010? Was that a publicity stunt or a rebrand gone bad? Maybe the Gap gap teeth ad is just another one of those buzz campaigns. If so it worked, I'm already blogging about it and the campaigns has only been going on for about a week and a half!

As a former sales associate of The Gap, when I hear the word "gap", I think of t-shirts and cardigans that come in a slew of different colors. I also think of closing shifts that lasted until 2am but that's beside the point. Now when I hear the word "gap" I will be thinking about the gap teeth I will get when I wear the newest striped t-shirt from The Gap (which, I actually went and purchased).