'Gift the Thought' Holiday Campaign by Johannes Leonardo

Gap develops their first digital holiday campaign that won’t air on TV.

Gap has launched a minute-long holiday tale from agency Johannes Leonardo that spans years in the lives of a single mom and her son. This holiday season Gap is making the bold move to move away from airing its ads on television, opting for a move to the purely digital world.

Directed by A.G. Rojas and tagged “Gift the Thought,” the spot is low-key, moody and sentimental—but no less effective for that. In the spot, a young mother gives her son a red Gap hoodie, which acquires potent emotional associations as time rushes by. We watch as the gift goes from a holiday present to a memory marker for key moments in the boy’s life as he grows from a child, to a teenager, and moves away. Near the end of the spot, when he’s all grown up and comes home for a yuletide visit, the hoodie reappears to tug at our heartstrings.

“We’ve been there all along, we have this range of products that center around the thought,” says Alegra O’Hare Gap’s new CMO, who came from Adidas where she worked previously with the creative agency Johannes Leonardo. “It’s a fresh way of approaching it that’s more meaningful to the people that need to choose gifts.”

Gap is entering a new era, branching off from its longtime partner Old Navy. The spots will air on streaming platforms such as Hulu, and other digital networks such as Vevo and Facebook watch. The move is seen as an attempt by the brand to move towards the new age of entertainment in the hopes of reaching a wider audience of those at home on their computers and phones. In this new digital world of online shopping, social media, and entertainment, we are surrounded by stimulation; a fast-paced lifestyle. With this nostalgic look on gift-giving, Gap is right to be pushing towards the digital age of online users, bookmarked between television episodes and music videos.

This holiday campaign is going back to the roots of why we love Gap and the new campaign gives pause to remind us of key memories in our own lives. The nostalgic music, Where is My Mind, by Gay Farley, combines with flashes of a young boy growing up and reminds us of how many memories we develop with the clothing that we wear. The concept feels highly relatable, since most folks have beloved possessions—often wardrobe articles—that hold “a treasure trove of memories,” notes agency creative director Omid Amidi.

This is the first-holiday campaign Johannes Leonardo has done for the brand, having just started on the account in the Fall. “We wanted to create something special and unique that tugs at the heartstrings,” says O’Hare, noting the brand’s complacency in recent years. “We’re such a creative brand with 50 years of history.” Emotional advertising that works. Gap is reminding us of why we keep the sentiment in our closet, and what it can mean to us as time moves on. That it is not about the moment of the giftgiving, but how the gift becomes a part of our history.

Written by Julia Cooper

GAP CMO | Alegra O’Hare
Agency | Johannes Leonardo
Creative Director | Omid Amidi
Director | A.G. Rojas
Music | Where is My Mind by Guy Farley

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