Gap goes viral for color coordinated campaign


Gap is launching an online advertising campaign featuring music by the Raveonettes, Dntel, Swizz Beatz, the Blakes and Marie Digby in the hopes of stirring up some viral music video mojo among its younger customers, Billboard has learned.

For the "Sound of Color" campaign, each act was asked to write a song inspired by an assigned hue. These songs were then turned into music videos by up-and-coming commercial and music video directors, including Chris Do, Mary Fagot and James Frost, Tom Gatsoulis, Russ Lamourex and Mike Maguire.

The songs and videos will be available for streaming and download at starting Feb. 15. The campaign, developed jointly by Gap and multimedia producer Rehab, will run for one month and also be placed as ads on several music Web sites. After 30 days, the artists will retain the rights to their songs for their own use, including possible inclusion on future albums.

"We were looking for new ways to connect with people, and so much of today's music scene is digital," Gap director of advertising Jamie Gersch says. "This spring and summer, our campaigns are very much about color. And since that means so many emotions, we thought it was a great place to start with musicians."

Digby came to the attention of the campaign's producers after they fell in love with her acoustic renditions of songs like Rihanna's "Umbrella" on YouTube. Being assigned the color yellow was a bit of fortuitous timing for Digby, whose first album, "Unfold," drops April 8. "I was a little puzzled, but I thought it was a really fun challenge," she says. "I closed my eyes and thought about what it would be like to be surrounded by the color yellow. I was laying back on some exotic beach, in the sand, with a pina colada, and I was warm. I wanted to capture those sensations in a simple way."

Swizz Beatz, who has already appeared on billboards for Gap, says that he feels his song "Green" is ready for other uses as soon as its gig with the Gap is done. "I didn't want to do a song I wasn't comfortable giving to the DJs," he says. "I took the approach of, 'How would I use green in a painting without making green the main ingredient, and use it in the slickest way?'"

The Raveonettes were selected to create an interpretation of black and white. "I don't think we've ever tried to make a song with a particular purpose before," vocalist/guitarist Sune Rose Wagner says. Director Do ran with the idea of opposites, filling the video with "attraction and repulsion, love and hate, daydreams and nightmares."

Ann Donahue is senior editor at Billboard. (L.A.)