The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Hijacking Becomes Criminal …

I’ve written a lot about the ‘hijack’ strategy.

Where a brand pushes itself into a cultural event or topic to either attempt to change the narrative or leverage the narrative.

Some brands do it brilliantly … Nike or Chrysler for example.

However some are a bloody car crash.

At its heart, the difference is simply whether your hijack ‘adds to culture’ or just ‘takes from it’ … however given this approach is now so common among brands, I have to ask whether it can even be considered ‘hijacking’ anymore when most of society expect someone to do it.

That said, it is still a powerful strategy when done right … the problem is, most brands aren’t doing that.

Case in point … social media GAP during the US election.

What the hell?

I know why they did it.

I know what they hoped would happen from it.

But all I can think about is when your own brand of clothes don’t know who they are for, you’re pretty fucked.

And that kind-of sums up GAP’s problem.

Who are they for?

It’s no surprise they are facing incredible pressure in the market these days, to the point there’s talk of them pulling out the UK altogether.

They’re not distinctive enough for people to want to pay a premium for. They’re not cheap enough for people to use them as a foundation for whatever fashion they want to express that day.

In fact, the only thing they have going for them is a collab with Kanye.

It could be amazing.

Reimagining the future of what e-commerce is and how it works.

Combining it with art, not just functionality.

Though whether it will end up making GAP’s clothing range look even older and blander is anyone’s guess.

If they want to learn how to really hijack a moment, they should look at the Four Seasons Landscaping company in Philadelphia.

This is the place where President Trump’s team recently held a press conference, mistakingly booking it thinking it was the Four Seasons hotel.

With all this global attention, they’re leveraging it by selling merch that mimics Trump’s messages.

This is real cultural hijacking.

This is done by adding to the experience rather than just taking it.

Making a landscape company a brand of culture. Albeit for a short period of time.

But let me say this, it’s still more fashionable than the stuff GAP are making right now.

You can buy it here.

18 Comments so far
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When you say gap clothes are crap, you know they’re really crap.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Rob

I agree with your hijacking point. What was once an interesting way to connect to culture, is now a quick way to see how brands have nothing interesting to say.

Comment by Bazza

Some still do it well. The ones that actually have a point of view in relation to the moment being hijacked. Most are just lazy.

Comment by Rob

Four Seasons Landscaping showed that marketing is a mistake.

Comment by George

That was funnier in my head than in print.

Comment by George

like everyfuckingthing you say.

Comment by andy@cynic

Gap have never really been in the fashion industry. They are about comfort more than edge. The Kanye tie in shows how confused they are. The idea may be powerful but they will fail to live up to what they offer. If it ever happens, Kanye will come out of this much more strongly than Gap.

Comment by George

Smacks of the post I wrote a few weeks back.

Comment by Rob

It’s as if gap did this to prove your point.

Comment by George

I bet he paid Kanye to do it for him.

Comment by Bazza

campbell never pays. he just manipulates.

Comment by andy@cynic

He makes the family in succession look like saints.

Comment by DH

Everyone has said what I would say about gap and hijack communication strategy. What I really like about four seasons landscaping is they embraced the opportunity but didn’t really exploit it. They could have used a similar font or create the same product lines as the Trump campaign merchandise but they just stuck to a few things executed in the most simplistic way. It’s smart, wearing something that could be mistaken as official Trump products could cause more harm than good.

Comment by Pete

Hahaha. Hadn’t thought of it like that. You’re right. It feels they found it a novelty rather than a major marketing opportunity.

Comment by Rob

Planner speak for cashing-in.

Comment by John

The photos of Otis are so beautiful.
Can’t believe he will be six.

Comment by Jemma King

Robert. Why did you stop the comments? The stories about Otis are delightful.

Comment by George

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