What’s normal?

Gap campaign chose the wrong word

Dress normal.

That is the most recent campaign by Gap that started this fall. It is hard to wrap your head around, which doesn’t equal a successful campaign.

Grab a copy of the latest Rolling Stone magazine and open to the second page. A girl with rainbow hair dressed in a leather jacket standing in a pink and white room next to a bed she is much too tall for, assumedly her childhood bedroom. The text reads “her grandparents have to give her something.”

Initially, it’s confusing. She is dressed in a way that isn’t “normal.” She’s different and it’s obvious she wouldn’t shop at Gap. It sounds so condescending.

The point, as explained by Gap’s Global CMO Seth Farbman, is “positive anxiety.”

“When you’re dressing normal, you’re really your truest and most confident and authentic self.”

On paper, that is a great concept. And when you get down to it, it’s true but that’s not what comes to mind when you hear normal.

To explain the issue that arises from the word normal, think back to middle school.

You don’t know who you are. Every one around you seems to have it figured out, but in reality, no one does. It’s a struggle to fit in and be seen as normal.

It takes a while to figure out what you feel comfortable in. You want to stand out, be different and feel like yourself all at the same time.

So, something her grandparents can give her. Something that even those who aren’t normal can wear.

Is that ok?

Normal is a socially constructed concept. It’s great that Gap wants to promote being our truest, most confident self, but they chose the wrong the word. Dress comfy. Dress basic, or not. Dress imperfectly. Dress you.