I warned you at the start; this isn’t all knitting (but I’m not, either, so it’s okay).
Normally I’m kind of counter-Gap, except when I was in high school and when they have ridiculously awesome sales and I can get handbags/shirts/jeans/etc for less than $20 an item. However, they do have their periods during which they get really creative and do something ground-breaking. I’m not sure if this qualifies, but I’m a fan. They’ve just launched a new campaign, called the Sound of Color, that showcases up-and-coming indie artists by putting them into a color category. I’m kind of meh about a couple of them, since they’re not really my kind of thing, but the Ravonettes song, Black-and-White, is excellent. Overall, I’m excited about the campaign, because regardless of the reason the company does it, the grassroots thing is a great way to show that you’re human. And as a designer, it’s nice to see the arts being the focus of the grassroots (over that bungled Aid in Africa thing that Africa asked Bono to stop). I mean, I’m all for all kinds of programs that help people, but it’s especially nice for arts to be the focus.
Anyway, go watch the videos. It’s a good way to spend 20 minutes.
That’s all fine and good, but my livelihood depends on marketing ideas such as this; that is, I’m in the fringe of advertising we like to call design (and if we ever call it advertising, it is rarely and bitterly), and the success of my business depends on being able to come up with the next Big Idea before somebody else does, or the next Exciting Variant on the Next Big Idea before somebody else does.
Like it or not, this sort of technique has been used since the industry began, and most of the people I know who are good at their jobs are part of that underground, and often at the forefront of the movement. It’s the disreputable members of the profession who give it a dirty name. And it’s only going to become more prevalent with increased focus on Social Responsibility efforts.
I think I merely meant that the Gap has done something interesting; that is, a company largely regarded as a dealer of white and khaki has pushed into the realm of color in an engaging way. Groundbreaking for the Gap, at least, if not for marketing at large.
It’s not groundbreaking, I’m afraid — this has become a fairly standard marketing play in recent years. Of course, I only just started noticing the phenomenon myself, since this sort of thing is designed to fly under your perceptual radar. Then I went out and read Unmarketable, and my eyes were opened.