Yesterday I wrote about what Oreo was doing in the social media and marketing space with their massive marketing budget. Today I want to talk about the Gap. The Gap has usually been pretty active in creating television campaigns but is turning largely to social media and traditional marketing vehicles such as outdoor ads and print to help promote its new line of denim clothing.
According to an article written by ClickZ:
“The new ad campaign from The Gap, titled “Born to Fit,” includes no TV commercials, instead placing a greater emphasis on web advertising and social media — Facebook, specifically — than any effort in the retailer’s history. Offline, there are print, cinema and outdoor ads, but all will drive consumers to the initiative’s Facebook page. The effort launched on Thursday, August 13.”
An iPhone app was also developed that lets users mix and match styles and interact with friends via the Gap’s Facebook page. It definitely sounds like the Gap is out there doing some interesting things in the space and I’m glad to see that they are not holding themselves back. However here is my issue. Julie Channing, the Sr. account director for AKQA, the agency handling The Gap’s campaign says:
“The Gap had set no numerical benchmarks to determine success in the campaign, but rather would look at how much consumers interact with the brand to gauge ROI.”
Does anybody else see a problem with this?
The very first step in this entire process should have been to set up these numerical benchmarks and forward looking metrics to measure ANY type of success, let alone ROI. We’re talking about a large and prestigious interactive marketing agency that is representing a client that is not going to be able to tell whether or not their efforts are paying off. If the Gap is not sure what metrics they should be looking at then it is up to the agency (AKQA) to advise their client on what they can measure in order to track success in at least some way shape or form. What else is interesting to me is that the Gap chose to use “how much consumers interact with the brand” as a way to measure ROI which clearly doesn’t make sense. There is a breakdown in understanding here that deals with one of the most important aspects of social media and marketing in general: measurement (of any kind). ROI needs to be looked at as a financial number and not as a interaction metric. Again, the equation breaks down, the Gap invests X dollars in order to get X interaction? This isn’t ROI.
I don’t know how much this campaign is costing the Gap but at the end of the day when it comes time to prove the value or “return” on this campaign, what are they going to say? “Ummmm….well we had interaction.” Give me a break guys. How can a campaign which is seeing a “medium increase in ad budget for this year” be justified without numerical benchmarks. Furthermore how is AKQA going to justify the work they did for the Gap? Is anyone accountable for this campaign or is this money that is just going to float around? Why doesn’t the Gap just come to me for social media work? I’ll charge them 20% less than AKQA and provide them with the same “results.”
I wish I could have been in on the conversation between the Gap and AKQA when they agreed not to set up these benchmarks.