Something wonderful happened in the aftermath of writing that story, "What The Gap Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love." The next day -- after my article had gone viral, having first submitted it to the Huffington Post, it was was then picked up by Jezebel, Blackbook and others -- the Gap Global External Affairs office reached out to say thank you for being so honest and that my suggestions were being discussed internally. Since then, we have continued a friendly dialogue about some of my ideas. Most importantly, they invited me, along with a handful of key media outlets and influencers, to preview their fall ad campaign last week. On Thursday, Women's Wear Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Bloomberg News and yours truly met with Seth Farbman, the new Chief Marketing Officer to discuss what's in store -- literally and figuratively -- for the Gap. Since I Mean What was the only media outlet to roll cameras, please watch this short interview that highlights my chat with Seth peppered with some of the images from the new campaign. Look, I wish we all had the attention span of anything besides a gnat, but the fact remains, you have to keep these videos short and sweet. Overall, my take away from our conversation makes me think that there is hope for the Gap.
Being told to meet Seth at the Gap Global Creative Center had me wondering what exactly is at the center of a gap? The abyss? That riddle baffled us as we arrived in Tribeca for the shoot. Through my interview with Seth -- who definitely has his finger on the pulse -- one can see why he is a good choice to speak on behalf of the Gap as they begin their long road to recovery. The fact remains, cool ad spots and viral marketing are a given. But there are several ways to skin a cat, and hopefully they will be firing on all cylinders. Rome was not built in a day, and no brand -- besides maybe the Kardashian one -- can turn on a dime. Having worked with international conglomerates for years, I liken them to submarines. You can not turn them around quickly, especially when they are full steam ahead, going the wrong way.
Here are some outtakes not included in the video, due to the whole gnat thing.
Seth: We want to de-corporatize the Gap.
Abe: Good move. Does that also mean streamlining the non-performing stores a la Starbucks? Might I suggest closing the 23rd Street & 8th Avenue location since the dust bunnies rule the roost and the window displays seem to always feature Final Sale, Closing Out or Everything Must Go visuals, which is not a good look, nor "on trend".
Seth: We are talking to millennials, (which for you non-corporate-speak types means 20-somethings).
Abe: The problem with the old Gap was that you were trying to engage the full range of 18-45 year old fashionistas. You can not be all things to all people. Stick with this 20-something group. There is hope for them since they did help shepherd Barack Obama into the White House. Granted, they are the epitome of gnat-brains, but if you mollycoddle them, they are yours for life.
Seth: We are engaged in sustainability but down playing the communication that we are doing this, so not to seem disingenuous.
Abe: I get it, no one likes when a company gets on a high horse to spew how wonderful they are BUT since our government is not doing enough in this area, I say promote the hell out of it. This generation is quite conscientious about sustainability. When the Gap first opened its doors, the youth movement was fighting for and winning the argument against the government to end the War in Vietnam. "The (Generation) Gap", the namesake of this brand needs to take its place at the table again. It should be one of the Gap's greatest initiatives, if you ask me, but what do I know? (The Gap's publicist seemed uncomfortable with my railing against the machine, so I changed the subject.)
Seth: We want to tell stories about real people in a real way.
Abe: Seth, you will never go to hell for being real. You may not get invited to Kim Kardashian's wedding, but then again, who cares?
We ended our interview with a hearty handshake and Seth's saying, "Don't be a stranger". Well, I may not be able to extricate the word strange from who I am, but I do hope to continue the dialogue.
Watch this video overview of the new fall Gap 1969 Ad Campaign.
Follow Abe Gurko on Twitter: www.twitter.com/imeanwhat