This blog is a dedicated forum for the transmission of
marketing strategies, insights, and opinions that matter.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Gap 'Watch Me Change' Promotion

Source: A Wall Street Journal article (Aug.10, 2005) detailing the new Gap online viral marketing

The new 'Watch Me Change' Gap ad is an interesting attempt at viral marketing - an attempt at being bold, empowering visitors, and generating awareness; However, it falls short in both strategic and tactical areas.

On the plus side, the Gap philosophically pursued what more brands should begin doing….relinquishing control of the brand/relationship to consumers by enabling interaction. They ultimately determine a brand’s success and need to be engaged on that premise.

At a more tactical level, the ad manages to successfully combine interactive technology that engages both site visitors' audio and visual senses. Perhaps most the most enticing and strategically sound component in this online vehicle is the use of the dressing room. It immediately conjures up images even before any interaction occurs, holding the promise of what will come next; However, it seems to me that they missed a real opportunity to (a) make this truly interactive and not just sit-and-watch, (b) make this a more memorable AND MEANINGUL interaction through a greater emphasis on the relationship between the clothes and the consumer, and (c) being a bit more daring, and I don’t mean by an actual full strip tease.

The lost opportunity begins at the phase after the individual comes out of the dressing room. What happens next made the 'Watch Me Change' branded promotion give way to the 'Watch Me Change My URL' reaction for me.

Without going into too much detail, the major strategic reasons are that it didn’t seem to me that there was an actual objective (or if there was one, it wasn’t fundamentally sound on a business/branding level), the tactical execution wasn’t well executed to any mass audience segments that they were/should’ve been targeting (more youthful, Asian American, etc.), and the creative strategy which in my opinion was too middle of the road – not moving any audience in the way they feel about themselves, their peers, clothes in general, the shopping experience, or the brand.

All in all, there wasn't a lot that I found redeeming for this promotion and or of any particular value add (branding, loyalty, or otherwise) to targeted audiences of prospects, customers, and media members. It fails to move the brand or even the general dialogue forward. For this reason, it is probably best that this was a stand alone promotion and not part of a larger, more integrated campaign.

If done differently then it actually would be quite interesting to have morphed this from a guerilla/viral marketing-only campaign and to actually make it part of a larger integrated online/POP campaign. One serious requirement to make this more successful, would be the requirement to be more bold and more clear on strategic objectives. I'm not sure what the objective was for this campaign and I'm 99% certain that it isn't because the promotion was so well done that it flew beneath my marketing radar.

In summary, it is my honest opinion that the time, effort, and money put into this viral promotion could have been more strategically planned and also better aligned with the greater brand strategy.

In re-reading my blog posting I realize it is a tough, cyncial first blog stab. I can appreciate a well done campaign as well, so I'll save my cents for the future blog postings.