BREAKDOWN! Why David Fincher's New GAP Ads Are Fucking Terrible.
BREAKDOWN! is a new semi-regular bullshit clickbait copyranter feature where I "break down" why popular new ads that most people like are in fact "Fucking Terrible".
GAP hired Fincher, Hollywood hero to both faux-tough misogynistic MRM douchebags (Fight Club) and passive-aggressive noodle-armed misogynistic tech douchebags (The Social Network), to shoot its new Fall denim commercials.
And man, are they bad.
What's usually not clear when a brand/ad agency brings in a big shot film director is how much of the resulting work was the agency's idea and how much was the director's. But I'm guessing since it's motherfucking Fincher, GAP/Wieden & Kennedy NYC gave him the freedom to shoot whatever the Hell he wanted as long it was good-looking Gen Y's/Gen Z's wearing denim.
Fincher's goal with these "films" was to create "positive anxiety", according to GAP's poetic press release. Huh. The feeling they evoke in me is more "negative nothingness". Watch and see what you feel.
"The uniform of rebellion and conformity".
Uniform. Rebellion. Conformity. Ying-Yang-ish soaked beautiful girl removes her wet GAP jeans in car and carelessly, rebelliously throws them in the front seat between a beautiful GAP-wearing couple (Not her parents, I guess. Woman is too young.) Not-as-beautiful-as-the-other-three backseat friend is not amused. Bearded man is resigned. Woman is very concerned. What acting! Note that woman is driving some kind of vintage car. The vintage music is "L'amour la Mort" (love death) by French jazz pianist Martial Solal from the 1960 Jean-Luc Godard film "Breathless". The car and music are meant to invoke "timelessness".
What mystery! What positive anxiety! What pointlessness! But, that's the point, you see. Life is pointless. And dark. And normal. So, Dress Normal. Or something. Fuck narrative, and fuck you, consumer.
Do you now, finally, want to wear GAP clothes?
I didn't think so.
"Let your actions speak louder than your clothes".
So, don't dress like this, I guess.
Presumably this is a couple: smoking (Or is it a toothpick? Such dark mystery.) skinny jeans-wearing anti-golfer golfer; bored, Capri jeans-wearing dancer. Oh my GOD, it's like a scene from a David not-Fincher but Lynch film! Is the hipster golfer going to kill and dismember his annoying girlfriend? I know this much: I wouldn't leave his vintage BMW sitting there with the keys in it, stupid dancing soon-to-be-murdered girlie.
Music: "Wait A Minute Girl" by The Newday, for those of you who care about such things.
"Dress like no one's watching".
Eh, what the fuck does that mean?
Anyway. Three men. Two of them, bearded (hipster golfer may have stubble, hard to tell). Though, this man's beard is actually a spray-on beard, because his real beard was destroying the actress's face from having to do so many takes for asshole Fincher (true story).
Wonder if the 4th spot will feature a bearded man?
This is about the only thing dramatic or "anxious" about this campaign.
"Simple clothes for you to complicate".
He's a swarthy, fast-moving man, so it's a bit hard to discern, but yes—he has a beard. He is running up the steps to presumably snog/shag the hot-assed white girl, which we can also presume he starts doing right there on the stairs since his white shirt comes floating down. Well, at least "something" happened here. But again, the sign off line is meaningless fucking drivel posing as Important.
GAP's marketing guru Seth Farbman had this to say about his campaign:
"We want these films to get people talking. Each one features a confident woman at the center and tells a story of how liberating it is when you are being your most authentic self. We believe everyone who watches them will identify with one or more of the characters. We were thrilled to work with David Fincher, one of the greats of modern American cinema and a superb storyteller. His highly detailed and authentic style resonates with the Gap brand and these films truly bring to life what our 'Dress Normal' message means."
But please, continue:
"In the fashion world, there's a trend and a conversation around this idea that's called normcore,' I'm sort of edified in a way to see that there's a fashion trend that is more extreme but recognizes this same truth. We're not normcore, but we're seeing this same truth."
"The films (sigh) were inspired by the bold and honest spirit of the millennial generation. (note: do you want this man smooching your hot young asses, Gen Yers?). Their authenticity is what makes them stand apart in today’s complex world. Gap has always stood for individuality and being your most authentic self. By challenging the idea of what it means to dress normal, we hope to inspire confidence in everyone’s own personal style."SUMMARY: So: the campaign is Positive Anxiety. Happy Noir. Safe Danger. Rebellious Conformity. Synthetic Authenticity. Thoughtless Ideation. Uncreative Creativity.
ADDENDUM: I know, from ten years of doing this crap, that some of you out there will be silently asking me: "OK, douchebag, then why don't you show us what you think is a good denim commercial?"
Fine. Here you go, from 2006:
Well look at that. Narrative, and old boring product as hero.
Ad agency: BBH London. Directed by: Frank Budgen.