ArabAd - - CAMPAIGN -

In Le­banese con­sumers’ minds, GAP is a well-es­tab­lished global brand, and is well ap­pre­ci­ated. How­ever, this com­mu­ni­ca­tion brings us to reeval­u­ate our at­ti­tude to­ward the brand with a re­def­i­ni­tion of its core val­ues. Ac­cord­ing to the Hi­er­ar­chy of Ef­fect Model, the cam­paign ap­peals to our af­fec­tive stage in which we are brought to pre­fer GAP’S prod­ucts over com­peti­tors’, and some­how re­late to GAP’S val­ues in­stead of those of com­peti­tors’. But how ex­actly do we, con­sumers, in­ter­pret these com­mu­ni­cated val­ues?

The cam­paign is com­mu­ni­cated through print ads and short videos and found on dig­i­tal plat­forms and in stores in Le­banon and glob­ally.

The in store bill­boards, also avail­able on so­cial media, rep­re­sent celebri­ties do­ing ev­ery day “nor­mal” things, such as drink­ing cof­fee, star­ing at their fridge, get­ting dressed, or wait­ing by some­one’s car, along with the ‘Dress Nor­mal” slo­gan. These vi­su­als bring us to iden­tify our­selves to the pub­li­cised char­ac­ters with re­gard to the tasks they’re do­ing. Although fa­mil­iar faces do­ing ev­ery­day tasks might help es­tab­lish­ing com­mon ground and lead cus­tomers to iden­tify to the brand, as soon as the “Dress Nor­mal” slo­gan is seen, we start won­der­ing what they mean by it. Do they want us to blend into the mass and all be dressed the same way? Do they mean that other brands en­tail ec­cen­tric and strange styles? In fact, many in­ter­pre­ta­tions were de­vel­oped from this slo­gan, and cre­ated con­fu­sion. In a so­ci­ety where fash­ion is used to ex­press one’s style, GAP is telling us to dress “nor­mal”. At least, this is what most au­di­ences have un­der­stood from the new cam­paign. The word “nor­mal” it­self is a source of mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion. It rarely com­mu­ni­cates the con­no­ta­tion the brands ex­pects. In­stead of be­ing un­der­stood as sim­ple and usual, many of us can in­ter­pret it as or­di­nary and lame - and no­body wants to be per­ceived or as­so­ci­ated to it.

In Le­banon, GAP is con­sid­ered as an es­teemed brand that many Le­banese con­sumers have been buy­ing from abroad. Even though the brand is now avail­able in Beirut, it is still well ap­pre­ci­ated and per­ceived as the trendy Amer­i­can-style, with slightly aboveav­er­age priced of­fer­ings. In ad­di­tion, the Le­banese so­ci­ety is known for its ten­dency to show off, and flaunt the trendy new items they pur­chased abroad. There­fore im­ple­ment­ing this im­age of “or­di­nary” does not seem con­sis­tent with the Le­banese au­di­ence, so they might not re­late to this value that is be­ing com­mu­ni­cated, and might even cre­ate con­fu­sion.

As for the se­ries of four short videos that are also avail­able on dig­i­tal plat­forms, each one of them had a dif­fer­ent plot and set­ting, but all con­sisted of a group of young peo­ple do­ing cer­tain ac­tions like kiss­ing, danc­ing or play­ing golf. To­wards the end of the videos, quotes such as “the uni­form of re­bel­lion and con­form­ity” or those men­tioned ear­lier, as well as the cam­paign’s “Dress Nor­mal” slo­gan were ap­peared. At first glance, con­sumers do not quite re­late the con­tent of the

video to the quote and slo­gan. It is af­ter watch­ing all four videos con­sec­u­tively that one can come up with the com­mon theme of ex­press­ing one’s per­son­al­ity and most au­then­tic self through acts rather than clothes. The sup­ports used in the cam­paign were seen as frus­trat­ing, since around 90 per­cent of the global con­sumers did not un­der­stand the mes­sage cor­rectly or, did not in­ter­pret in the right way.

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