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Problem Solved #17: Gap CMO on rebuilding its brand through individuality

Former Gap employee Kanye West announced a 10-year partnership with the brand, Yeezy Gap

To mark the launch of our new manifesto – setting out The Drum’s editorial mission to help readers solve their problems – we’re christening today Solutions Day on And to set the tone, over the course of 24 hours our team of worldwide journalists will be spotlighting 24 recent examples of times when our industry demonstrated its remarkable talent for solving problems.

Problem: For years, Gap has struggled to stem the steady drip of falling sales as it comes to terms with an identity crisis.

Solution: A fresh chief marketing officer armed with a plan to refocus Gap as a personal style brand with a sense of individualism.

Amid plummeting sales, Gap’s new chief marketing officer aimed to revive it as emblematic cultural brand. Here’s how it instigated the pivot:

  • Gap announced a 10-year partnership with creative entrepreneur and rapper Kanye West and his distinctive fashion line, Yeezy, with the intention of creating a line of products appropriately named ‘Yeezy Gap’.

  • It also leaned into its activist roots with its campaign ‘Stand United’ – a call for unity at a decisive moment in US history: the presidential elections. Beyond a limited-edition collection of voting merchandise, the campaign aims to amplify civic engagement through voter registration and includes a program of live talks with ‘When We All Vote Ambassadors’.

  • In the development of its ‘Stand United’ campaign, Gap opted not to use an external creative agency, meaning that every aspect of its creation came from the marketing team.

Gap’s new chief marketing officer, Mary Aldrete, says of the move: “We don’t need to rely on an outside ad agency. We create the concept, direct and produce all the assets ourselves, which is quite invigorating for the team because everyone is a maker.”

Read more Problem Solved articles in our Solutions Day hub.

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