Brand Returns to TV for the First Time in Four Years
Gap’s fall global marketing campaign – Back to Blue – continues today with the launch of two videos that reinforce the idea of getting back to what matters most—our truest selves. Grounded in the idea of expressing one’s authentic self, each spot features a contemporary musician, who for the first time is recording a song made famous years ago by their parent and making it their own. These raw, intimate renditions are modern takes on classic pieces and provide a rare glimpse into the soul and journey of each artist.
“The entire Back to Blue campaign embodies what it means to be comfortable in your own skin. As a brand that is known for expressing itself through sight, sound and motion, we wanted to bring this idea to life through the voices of two individuals who are recognized for staying true to who they want to be,” said Seth Farbman, Gap’s Global Chief Marketing Officer. “To me, honest, open and heart-felt films like these are the future of video content. Anyone can relate to them because they’re real.”
Back to Blue is the broadest-reaching campaign in the company’s modern history, reflecting the dramatically changing media landscape. The Back to Blue spots will air in North America and globally in select markets in TV, cinema, digital, social, in-store, and taxi TV. In addition to TV, it celebrates the brand’s heritage through print, outdoor, direct, social, in-store and digital.
Illustrating her skills as a pianist, American singer and songwriter, Alexa Ray Joel, sings her version of father Billy Joel’s classic, “Just the Way You Are.” In 1979, the iconic melody won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Expressing his love for the blues, English musician, Dhani Harrison, performs “For You Blue,” a song written by his father, the late George Harrison. “For You Blue” was first recorded in 1969 and then released on The Beatles’ “Let it Be” album a year later.
Directed by Danny Clinch, who is well-known for bringing out the best in musicians, both films are shot in a single, unedited take. Both Dhani Harrison and Alexa Ray Joel selected the songs themselves and worked extensively on their renditions ahead of time, recording them live on a simple studio set. Personal touches like Alexa wearing her father’s ring and playing on the exact same type of piano used to record the original version of “Just the Way You Are,” add to the authenticity of the films and showcase how going back to your roots helps define who you are.
The entire “Just the Way You Are” and “For You Blue” tracks are available for download now on iTunes. All proceeds of the “For You Blue” track by Dhani Harrison will go to George Harrison’s Material World Foundation, which is currently focused on helping create awareness for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and its mission to cure spinal cord injury.
Three Screens Help Extend “Back to Blue” Excitement
Recognizing that people carry smart phones and tablets with them nearly all the time, Gap has developed its film content to extend well beyond the TV set to all three screens, including TV, desktops and smart phones/tablets. A series of in-depth films, interviews, quotes, images and facts about Dhani and Alexa will be offered through digital, mobile and social platforms. Gap is complementing its traditional TV schedule through its own social channels, partner sites and mobile advertising, and through a unique partnership with Twitter.
As an exclusive first for Gap, the brand is revealing the two spots on Twitter first and is also leveraging the platform as an extension of a traditional TV network.
On September 13, Gap began revealing a series of audio content from both spots through a retweet call-to-action. Once 500 people retweeted a special link from @gap, the audio content and musicians’ names were unlocked. Then, once 1,000 people retweet a follow-up tweet from @gap, the full spots were revealed on Twitter September 16 at 11:30 a.m. EST and began airing on U.S. primetime that same evening.
Additionally, through Promoted Tweets using Twitter’s TV ad targeting technology, Gap is broadening the reach of the spots by connecting with consumers who are tweeting about relevant TV shows where Gap already advertises and connecting with consumers outside of its organic follower base. Twitter is also acting like a phantom “TV network,” enabling the videos to appear in countries like the UK where they’re not airing on traditional TV.
“The way people get their information and entertainment has materially and permanently changed. It’s everywhere every minute of the day. While TV still reaches many people at the same time, it’s the power of social conversations that turn amazing video content from a commercial into an event. By leveraging a platform like Twitter, we’re able to broaden and deepen the emotional power of Back to Blue, long after the spots have stopped airing on the networks,” added Farbman.