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December 11, 2009

Our Long National Nightmare is Over: The AFA's Gap/Old Navy Boycott Ends

I'm sure you'll all sleep better tonight knowing that the American Family Association has saved the whole Christmas season by helping Old Navy and Gap to see the light and let the true spirit of Christmas into their cold little hearts. Or, um, something like that.

If you missed our previous posts on this subject (or just blocked the idiocy out after you read it), the AFA has been busy making lists of pro-Christmas and anti-Christmas retailers, and last month they singled out Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic for a two month boycott due to "the company’s censorship of the word 'Christmas.'" The boycott ran into a tiny problem about five minutes after it started when it was pointed out that Gap was running a holiday commercial that mentions Christmas. But with a little bit of clever spin and a totally unscientific poll, the AFA was able to keep the protest going by proclaiming that the commercial wasn't pro-Christmas enough because it made the horrible error of mentioning other holidays along with Christmas, including "the pagan holiday called 'Solstice'...celebrated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!", which of course is unacceptable.

But it's all over now, thanks to a new holiday CHRISTMAS commercial from Old Navy:
Gap has heard you loud and clear. After thousands of phone calls, emails, and petitions, Gap has just released a very "Merry Christmas" television commercial.

On November 28, Gap's Old Navy division broadcast a television commercial featuring its "Supermodelquins" proudly cheering "Merry Christmas," along with Christmas trees, lights and ornaments. View the commercial here.

As a result of Gap's efforts, AFA is ending the Christmas boycott of the company. Thank you for getting involved!

Here's the ad:

First of all, it's hilarious that the AFA is trying to act as if this commercial is in any way a response to their protest, like Old Navy just whipped this up in a couple days and didn't have their holiday ad campaign planned out months in advance. And their outrage over the "Solstice" commercial sure dried up quickly, didn't it? I'm sure that's partly because they're happy that Christmas got its own special ad not tainted by any other holiday associations, but I think it's also because it's better for them to just spin this into a big win for the AFA and move on. Declare victory by pretending that the protest had an impact on an ad campaign that was clearly decided on long before the boycott began, rather than admit that they were just wrong about Gap/Old Navy's plans for their holiday advertising. Then it's on to the next protest, and everybody's happy! Especially Jesus.

Now, I should point out that the AFA hasn't let Gap and Old Navy off the hook entirely. They've just been moved from the red section to the yellow section of the big Naughty or Nice retailers list. So they've been upgraded from a company that "does not recognize" Christmas to one that "refers to Christmas infrequently". My personal theory on this is that they couldn't move them entirely to the green pro-Christmas part of this list because the other sections need some padding out - if you look at the list, the green section is longer than the yellow and red sections put together, which might just cause some people to question whether all of this protesting and boycotting is really necessary, and the AFA can't have that.

Of course, the AFA never acknowledges the ultimate 'is this necessary?' issue, which is that if we could ask Jesus how he would want them (and Christians in general) to spend their time during the Christmas season, he would undoubtedly list about 80,000 things of the feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, perform random acts of kindness, give to charity, volunteer your time, and love one another varieties before he got around to 'email the Gap about how they don't mention my birthday enough in their commercials...oh, and those talking mannequins are kinda creepy too'. Seems to me like AFA should stop hanging Keep Christ in Christmas banners on their glass houses.


hybridhopes said...

aw, christ in a handbasket. i was hoping that gap/old navy had foresworn sweatshop labor. i forgot about the AFA. meh.

Professor Chaos said...

Why should they let the facts get in the way of a good fundraising tool?

Jezebel said...

hybridhopes - Now that might actually be a legitimate reason to boycott the Gap, so of course the AFA isn't interested.