Gap Has the Music In It

Discussion
Sep 06, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Perhaps Gap should have chosen the Leo Sayer hit, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, for the theme song of its most recent promotion with Apple’s iTunes.


The promotion was simple. Shoppers walk into a Gap and try on a pair of jeans. Whether they buy the jeans or not they walk out with a card that can be redeemed for a free music download on the Apple Music Store.


Gap spokesperson Erica Archambault said the goal of the promotion was “to get people in there and into our jeans.”


The promotion (cue the Sayer tune), said Ms. Archambault, has been “phenomenal” with Gap’s customers “responding really well.”


Adam Hanft, chief executive of Hanft Unlimited, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution there is a reason why many who try on the jeans are converted to buyers even if that was not their intention going in. “There’s a sort of phenomenon of, once the consumer takes a step halfway toward the purchase, they’re likely to go all the way,” he said.


Mr. Hanft liked the Gap/iTunes promotion because: “A lot of times incentives (price off discounts) just reduce the value of the brand, cheapening it. This adds value.”


Consumer behaviorist and author Roger Blackwell told the Journal-Constitution he thinks others are likely to follow Gap’s lead with similar promotions.


“I’m sure people will watch this closely, and if the results are as impressive as I expect them to be it may send [retailers] back to this strategy,” he said.


Moderator’s Comment: What is your analysis of the Gap/iTunes promotion? What does it take for this type of promotion to be effective? Do you expect others
to follow with similar so-called “freebie” deals?

George Anderson – Moderator

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10 Comments on "Gap Has the Music In It"


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Karen Kingsley
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Karen Kingsley
15 years 5 months ago

Well done. This promotion was well targeted, added value and promoted trial. Most importantly, it demonstrated that Gap had faith in its product. They truly believe, apparently correctly, that if people tried the product they would buy it. That’s salesmanship.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
15 years 5 months ago

I believe this was an extremely well thought through cross promotion. My hunch is that the primary demographic of a frequent iTunes subscriber is precisely who The Gap wants buying more of its product. Further, while the value of an iTune ($.99) doesn’t really stack up there, the symbolic value is much higher.

For iTunes, it’s a very inexpensive way to try to acquire new customers. And, while the young-people demo may be the driving force, I’m sure that iTunes needs to expand into the 30 – 40 something markets for long term viability (not to mention probably better profitability on less trendy and popular artists and tunes).

One of the challenges, of course, is to actually track and measure the effectiveness of promotions. Having worked on the supplier side of this, seldom do large companies actually put in place reliable means for determining promotional effectiveness. I hope The Gap and iTunes have done so here.

Peter Fader
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

The instant poll for this discussion item gets it wrong. The key question should be “how many people will buy jeans during this promotion who wouldn’t have bought them otherwise?” I can’t give a precise answer to this question, but for sure the promotion’s impact will be far lower than the top-line numbers (and associated PR) will indicate. As is the case with virtually all promotions, a great number of these sales will be non-incremental and the promotion will offer little or no long-run benefit for either company.

nat chiaffarano
Guest
nat chiaffarano
15 years 5 months ago

Gap stores should develop a feel for the type of music enjoyed by local patrons, play that music in the store, and set-up a booth to actually sell those tunes at discounted prices in the store. This is called building upon a community of shared interests, and enriching the customer’s shopping experience.

Karin Shenkar
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Karin Shenkar
15 years 5 months ago

If Gap got its product right, then it wouldn’t have to resort to gimmicks and could have maintained a much healthier margin.

The time and energy Gap spent redesigning its all-important denim line, in my opinion, did not pay off – they are off in trend, cut, and wash, and therefore have to charge half of what they could be charging.

Having to rely on marketing gimmicks is not a sound long-term strategy!

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

This one feels pretty good to me. Wearing jeans and listening to music both increase the old self esteem and mood; what better incentive to go and try them on?

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

If the product is less than compelling, the tunes might cost less than the markdowns. If the product is terrific and priced right, then the tunes might get some new customers into the stores. This isn’t the first music premium promotion (they’ve been done by various soft drinks, for example) and it won’t be the last. Gap sales have not been as robust as some of the competition, so it makes sense to try promotions not yet tried. Right now, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale don’t need this type of promotion because their fashion/value combinations are hot as can be.

Santiago Vega
Guest
Santiago Vega
15 years 5 months ago

This is an OK move by The Gap, at least to increase traffic into their stores for the short term and hope their new merchandise resonates with customers (something they need desperately).

If other retailers start using similar “freebie” promotions, which I doubt since it doesn’t really contribute to the bottom line or to a long-term strategic vision, it will be for a very short time until it becomes ordinary and harmful to their brand’s equity.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 5 months ago

The general comments about the quality of the product are beside the point. A promotion’s job is to generate a specific consumer action. In this case, the promotion was designed to bring people into the store to try on jeans. If it was done properly, it targeted a fairly broad demographic likely to find the product desirable but that hadn’t been to the Gap in a while or used to be Gap customers before “the fall.” As Peter Fader noted, incremental sales are the goal; with this type of promotion you can never guarantee that, but if the promo is done right, you can increase the odds considerably.

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
15 years 5 months ago

We’ll see about the incremental sales. That is the bottom line. Incremental interest and engagement, it seems to have. So on that side, I think it’s worthwhile. And associations with Apple continue to have a coolness factor that makes sense for brand image. In my mind, it’s a whole lot better than the Sarah Jessica Parker work that recently ran…but then again, as they say, I’m not really the target.

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