The Gap 'For Every Generation' campaign

01:00 Thu 12th Sep 2002 |

boognish76 asks "Are all the people in the new Gap posters supposed to be famous " In particular, this Answerbank regular wants to know who the young man in the tracksuit top is, and the young woman in the hipster jeans and hoodie

Can't help without seeing those pictures in particular (if you know, please post the answer here) but yes, they are, in the USA at least, celebrities. And they're all part of 'For Every Generation' - a global marketing campaign that is hard to avoid these days. It's on TV, on the web, in magazines and posters worldwide. "Whether you are six, sixteen or sixty, nothing is more universal than a pair of Gap jeans," opines Millard Drexler. But then he would say that, he's President and CEO of Gap.

So who's in the pictures

The photos, taken by Mikael Jansson, show more than 50 established and up-and-coming people from the worlds of film, fashion, sport, music and dance. Peter Lindbergh directed the TV commercials.

From the top:
Ryan Adams
Whoopi Goldberg
Sissy Spacek
Falling into the "established" category (read: wrinklies) are the likes of granite-faced Willie Nelson, Marianne Faithfull, Sissy Spacek, Lauren Hutton, Kris Kristofferson and Canadian ice-hockey legend Wayne Gretzsky.

"Current stars" (none of whom have any wrinkles, of course) include Salma Hayek, Christian Slater, Natalie Imbruglia and Djimon Hounsou. Bill Paxton probably counts as both 'current' and 'established'.

"Breakout performers" (wouldn't know a wrinkle if it bit them on the nose) who've made it to the campaign include dancer Will Kemp, actor Aaron Stanford, singers Tweet and Ryan Adams and actor/ singer Taryn Manning.

Anyone who wants to get the whole set should look out for the August edition of Vanity Fair magazine (in or from the US). It came with a 48-page supplement crammed with Gap images. Well, someone's got to be interested enough...

If that proves hard to track down fear not, the campaign will be anywhere and everywhere for quite some time.

What's the music in the...

And for Answerbank readers keen to know the music on the TV ads - you know who you are -

  • models Shalom Harlow and Alek Wek are moving in time to Bend Me, Shape Me by The American Breed (rather than the UK hit version by Amen Corner).
  • Marianne Faithfull, Taryn Manning and Tweet are moved by the classic I'll Take You There,first and famously recorded by the Staples Singers.
  • Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams are together, singing Move It On Over, a Hank Williams song.
  • Will Kemp can hear Stuff Like That, performed by QJ's Jook Joint with Brothers Johnson.
  • Djimon Hounsou and Baba Oje get down to Boom Boom, performed by the late, venerable John Lee Hooker with a little help from Oje himself.
  • Finally, Jakob ('yes, son of --') Dylan sings an acoustic version of Nick Lowe's What's So Funny ('Bout Peace, Love And Understanding).

And what exactly are they advertising

Willie talks denim
The new jeans available from this autumn, mixed with classics from the Gap collection, all styled and worn by Real Life Celebs Just Like You And Me.

There are several new fits or styles of jeans for both men and women. The 'Low Rise Boot Cut' is handily described as a "lower-rise version of the Boot Cut".

A major campaign, then. Why

They've always been big on advertising, but sales at the Gap have been declining for the last couple of years. This campaign hopes to reverse that.

I heard that Gap are being targeted by protesters

Gap stores were targeted by the WTO protesters in Seattle.

There's a 'Boycott the Gap Campaign' which has nothing to do with the frankly appalling idea of old people wearing denim in public. This is an action brought by a variety of groups in protest at alleged overlogging of redwood forests owned by the founders of Gap.

Singer and activist Bonnie Raitt wears 'Crap' shirts as part of the protest. Wonder if she'll ever sing a duet with Willie Nelson now Strangely they're both involved with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.

The company will also be hoping that no-one, neither customers nor advertising stars, will be swayed by a multimillion dollar class-action lawsuit being fought between Gap, a number of other retailers and 13,000 factory workers. The workers, who are based on a small island in the western Pacific, claim they've been subject to sweatshop conditions and a system of "indentured labour". Gap actively maintain their innocence.

What do the stars of the ads think of all this
They're not saying.

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