Gap Wants You To Make Some Sweet Sweater Music For The Holidays

The brand’s new interactive site uses your webcam and sweater stripes to play and record your own music.

Halloween is over, people. And you know what that means–we will all now be violently subsumed into the holiday consumer vortex. Black Friday. Thanksgiving. Christmas, Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Festivus. Seasonal Secular Gift Exchange. Whatever you call it, it’s all around us, building to a frenzied crescendo until before you know it, it’s December 21st and you’re sitting in a mall food court, mumbling to yourself and slurping down an Orange Julius to ease the yuletide agoraphobia.


Thankfully, we’re now able to run the bulk of our holiday errands within the comfort of our own wifi signal. Gap knows this and has created a new online gift guide aimed at making the holidays not only more convenient, but more fun. You may have noticed a certain theme throughout the new Sofia Coppola-directed ads the retailer recently unleashed. Hell, Johnny Cash just comes right out and sings it. The new site, created with agency Wieden + Kennedy New York, features Play Your Stripes, that takes your sweater and turns it into a musical instrument. With some help from your webcam and artist Blood Orange, you can record your own tune and of course share it with friends across any and every social media site.

Gap chief marketing officer Seth Farbman says the brand realizes the holidays can be stressful, so in addition to making the online experience simple and easy, he wants consumers to have a little fun, too. “It’s not okay just to make a gift guide that’s just another catalog,” says Farbman. “You need to try harder to provide some brand value, some joy. That’s one of the big ones. In the past, our gift guides have been more like catalogs. But if you create exciting content, it’s another reason to come to the site. More people want to have fun than want to buy a sweater.”

The biggest challenge in making the interactive feature was narrowing down the possibilities.

“Making a striped sweater into a musical instrument can go in so many ways, it’s a challenge to find a way to focus the idea,” says Wieden + Kennedy NY director of digital accounts Daniel Shaw. “Do you use a strumming motion or a pushing a note? What kind of music will be featured? It was a difficult and a new experience, the trial and error, trying to figure out which way to go creatively. But the north star was always simplicity and fun.”

For those not so musically inclined, the brand also created a series of short art films around its new products, that Farbman says is a fun look at the secret life of products, what happens when the stores close down.

Between the quirky shorts and the musical stripes, Gap is hoping you’ll come for the content and then maybe stay for a sweater.


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.