The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: H&M vs. Gap
H&M and Gap are two long-entrenched retailers with decidedly different approaches to modestly-priced apparel. H&M, owned by the Swedish multinational fast-fashion company, Hennes & Maritz AB, is popular with fashion-minded consumers aspiring to the latest runways looks. The storied U.S. clothier, Gap, operates at the same basic economic tier but has a much more basic, dressed-down appeal.
Both chains, of course, could use a good 2017 holiday season. Indications are that H&M and Gap both experienced robust early action online, both reportedly experiencing brief website outages on Black Friday, presumably due to heavy demand.
In their respective ads, the chains take approaches as different as their clothing lines, but they share a common denominator: both tap hot R&B talent.
“She wants a story,” is the first line of the H&M ad, “A Magical Holiday,” delivered by pop superstar Nikki Minaj, and a story we get — a rambling bedtime tale spun by actor Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy). By the time the 3-1/2 minute saga fades out, we’ve traveled down a black hole to an alternate universe, met the “evil brother of Father Christmas” (John Turturro driving a Grinch-colored pickup truck) and witnessed the magic of “caring about others.”
Gap’s spot — the syntactically challenging “To Making Music and Magic. To Perfect Harmony” — brings together “musical families, choirs from all over the country, and singer Janelle Monae” in a compact and lively song and dance number. The lyrics, “Oh baby, you — you’ve got what I need. You’re like medicine to me,” seem to be directed at loved ones or possibly at the Gap brand. The double meaning, if intentional, is clever. The minimally designed spot relies entirely on bright performances and boldly striped sweaters for appeal. There’s nothing in the way of Christmas imagery. The final tag line simply asks viewers to “meet me in the Gap” (double meaning undoubtedly unintentional).
- H&M Christmas Advert With Nicki Minaj And Jesse Williams | A Magical Holiday – H&M
- To Making Music and Magic. To Perfect Harmony. – Gap
DISCUSSION QUESTION: How do you compare the appeal of H&M’s “A Magical Holiday” and Gap’s “To Making Music and Magic”? Which do you think does a better job of connecting with each company’s core customers while reaching out to new shoppers?