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By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

September 10, 2015 | 3 min read

Gant has launched its first ever global advertising campaign with French agency BETC creating the strategy for the American lifestyle brand.

The new campaign aims to reflect the brand's origins from Ivy League university campuses and the great minds which emerged from them.

BETC has chosen to strip the brand back to its 1949 origins and with a minimalist style focus on the products which it has perfected over time, namely the button-down shirt.

The global campaign consists of a poignant 60-second film covering the dramatic and significant events which were occurring on university campuses in 1950s such as civil rights demonstrations. It tells the story of a living Ivy League-campus drycleaner owner, who, during his years on campus has seen everything from future presidents letting loose on the dance floor to future Nobel Prize winners losing bets. The tagline for the film, which modestly attempts to align the brand with the exciting time in history, reads “They changed the world. Not the shirt."

A number of famous great minds are portrayed in the film each of whom went on to change the world in their own way. Gant is looking to celebrate five particular students who went on to have remarkable careers in their fields. The five are Tracy K. Smith, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Jennifer Staple-Clark. founder of Unite for Sight, painter Natvar Bhavsar; Mark Plotkin, ethnobotanist and president of The Amazon Conservation Team, and founder and CEO of Whole Whale, George Weiner.

Global marketing director of Gant, Caroline Roth, spoke exclusively to The Drum about the launch of the global campaign and the decision to shift the advertising approach away from its traditional image of playful Boston beaches and boating. Explaining the change in approach, Roth said that the brand has a “background that is rooted on University campuses, with all that intellectual, amazing values that are linked to those locations – it’s a genuine part of our DNA that we are now portraying.”

Stripping the brand back to its roots was a decision which Roth says will help create a “solid platform from where we can develop campaigns years to come". It also lays a path for future campaigns which “will be in the same vein of believing in achievement, not only portraying fashion models with no connection to the brand".

The film reflects on a somewhat revolutionary period of American history with scenes of civil rights demonstrations and breakthroughs in computer technology. Those milestones still echo today, which makes the ad all the more poignant but as Roth points out “we are not a political brand however we believe in changing the world for the better, and support people that share our believes".

Roth says the campaign’s focus on Ivy League universities was aimed at reflecting a “part of our heritage that we are proud of” and that the people portrayed in the ad were chosen for what they achieved with their knowledge. She says that they “could have chosen different paths with their impressive resumes, but they have actively chosen to do good for the world, in their capacity. They help tell our story, and we help tell theirs, it’s a win-win".

The ad can be viewed in full above.


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