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Fashion Police

More Than a Vested Interest in the Gap Ads

September 24, 1999|JEANNINE STEIN

From the Fashion Police Blotter: A few weeks ago, we asked for your help interpreting the current crop of Gap commercials for vests and corduroy pants featuring singing models who appear so dazed they can only offer up a lyric or two. While we're no fan of the ads, we were curious about the response to Gap's "everybody in . . . " TV campaign. Naturally, we asked your opinion. And here's what you said:

"You do not know how relieved I was to find someone who shares my opinion regarding the new Gap ads. It seems that everyone I talk to has no idea what they mean but loves them. I have gotten my fair share of weird looks from friends when I try to explain that this new 'everybody in vests' campaign is lame.

"I enjoyed the khaki commercials as much as the next person and did not mind the urge to buy a pair of Gap khaki pants because the commercials were just so darn creative. However, I am not going to buy a vest or a pair of cords from the Gap just because they tell me everyone should be in them. I feel like I would be contributing to the cloning of America. The Gap definitely needs to stick to the subtler approach. It was a lot more creative and effective.

"I may have had too much time on my hands this summer and have thought about this way too much, but thank you for listening anyway."

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"The purpose of the commercials is to keep people from channel surfing. If people don't watch, Gap doesn't get in plugs for their clothes. Guess vests and cords are the big push for back to school.

"Think of them as a type of brainwashing. Personally, I find the Gap commercials to be strangely addictive. I always watch when they come on just because they're so odd. Just yesterday, my son asked me if I'd noticed the Gap ads. I'll bet Gap is happy with this campaign. How many other clothing store ads ever get mentioned in the L.A. Times? The models are no stranger than the zombies which appear in many high-fashion magazines. At least these can sing. They remind me of Robert Palmer's music videos. My vote is yes for the Gap commercials."

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"I and many of my family members and friends enjoy watching the commercials because they're simple and different from all other commercials. I love the singing and short, catchy songs, and they really catch your attention. The almost-identical clothing they're wearing is just advertising for people to go and buy Gap vests or cords--which is what ads are all about, right? Another reason to look forward to the ads is that the lead singer (Alex Greenwald) from Phantom Planet is in them, and my friends and I always look for him. I hope you've been enlightened, and don't be afraid to turn on the TV any longer."

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"Those kids aren't zombies. They are the coolest kids in school. They are doing what they do best--hanging out together, being cool. We uncool people are watching them, awe-struck in the presence of such coolness. We know that if we tried to emulate their cool poses, we would be accused of being copycats or zombies or worse. What we can do to achieve some of that cool is to go to the Gap and buy that cool vest or those cool brown cords."

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"I actually like the new Gap ads. I find them hauntingly hypnotic. But I can't for the life of me figure out why they, along with Old Navy with their vest ad, would advertise a cold-weather product when some of the country is suffering through a heat wave. Talk about poor timing."

Write to Fashion Police, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, fax to (213) 237-4888, or send e-mail to socalliving@latimes.com.

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