Gap Hopes To Mesmerize Consumers With Instagram Micro-Series

Plus, more brands making an impression with hypnotizing loops.

Mobile & Apps

Gap has launched a micro-series on Instagram, a planned 12-part series of 15-second videos that make use of new features introduced to the platform last week – a change that enabled continuously looping ('Vine-esque') videos as users browse the site. The micro-series seeks to maximize the storytelling and engagement potential of audiences on Instagram, and serves as an early example of a brand seizing the opportunity to reach consumers via the oddly mesmerizing new format.

At the end of last year, the number of monthly users on Instagram reached 300 million, surpassing the reported 284 million on Twitter, and affirming the platform’s place as a crucial platform for brands to be present, visible, and persuasive to consumers.

The platform has quickly become a priority for several consumer-facing brands. Marketers are finding new and innovative ways to reach and engage users using the network. Last week’s rollout of auto-loop ads is already been seized by brands, most notably by Gap, which has created a micro-series that hopes to maximize the marketing potential of the medium.

The ads, featuring Jenny Slate and Paul Dano, detail a budding romance encapsulated into blink-and-you’ll-miss-it snapshots that formulate clever self-enclosed loops. The videos are a brave endeavor by a brand to produce truly digital content – everyone knows how popular and hypnotizing Vines and GIFs can be, and the videos represent a format that encapsulates the speed, inventiveness, and ingenuity of the Internet.

Get ready for a strange spring with @jennyslate and Paul Dano, in the weirdest love story ever Instagrammed. #SpringIsWeird Follow the 12-episode film series and shop the spring looks you see at the link in our profile.

A video posted by GAP (@gap) on

Gap produced its content with digital distribution explicitly in mind, as Gap explained:

“The films build on Gap’s recent history of partnering with acclaimed directors to tell stories that will relate to customers’ lives. After creating more traditional, broadcast commercials with David Fincher and Sofia Coppola last year, the brand has partnered this season with ‘maverick’ directors The Daniels to create a purpose-built story for Instagram. …the Micro-Series tracks the burgeoning romance between the love struck duo of Slate and Dano, as they navigate chance encounters, first dates and moody Spring weather in the hope of finding their perfect fit. As they grapple with what is real and what is digital ‘content,’ they begin to suspect that their lives may not be theirs alone. Viewers will need to stay tuned as each short film is released over the season to see the story unfold.”

Gap is hoping that the affinity users have with the micro-video format will appeal to consumer demands for quick and entertaining content. 

“The nature of the videos is that you get something different every time you play them,” said Tricia Nichols, Gap’s global leader of consumer engagement, media strategy, and brand partnerships. “The story twists and turns, and there are little Easter eggs. So it’s the perfect opportunity for video loops.”

In addition to Instagram, #springisweird will also be distributed on dating websites and apps. A companion social media promotion called #APerfectFit will offer viewers rewards and incentives for trying on the new form-fitting Resolution Denim jeans featured in the Micro-Series.

Other Brands Loving The Loops

Gap isn’t the only brand that has moved quickly to grasp video opportunities on Instagram. GoPro released this stunning video of skis hitting snow in slow motion:

Unlock new camera possibilities like 720p at 240 FPS with the latest GoPro software update. Head to gopro. Video featuring @AbeKislevitz and @codycir. Music by @insightful.

A video posted by gopro (@gopro) on

Meanwhile, the NBA has found a fantastic way to show key highlights of sweet plays:

@hassanwhiteside, making @miamiheat history nightly!

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

Finding Value On Instagram

Connecting with engaged consumers where and when they are, using cutting-edge formats, is a positive move for brands such as Gap and GoPro. Retail brand Nordstrom has already learned to integrate Instagram with its overall strategy to provide consumers with what it calls a “seamless shopping experience.”

It was last year that Instagram announced they would roll out video advertisements. Early adopters included Disney, Activision, Lancome, and Banana Republic.

Considering some popular apps began demanding huge advertising revenues, such as Snapchat’s $750,000 asking price for just one day of digital advertising space, Instagram’s auto-loop ads provide brands with a great opportunity to serve content to consumers on the platform organically, in a popular, modern format.

What do you think of Gap's micro-series of Instagram auto-loop ads?