Old Navy Adds Humor Without Changing Their Model

Old Navy just hit a home run. They stepped up their humor game for their newest campaign, but stayed true to themselves. Old Navy brought in former MADtv cast member Debra Wilson, yet kept their message clear and stayed relatable.

Most Old Navy commercials have very clear messages: SUMMER SHORTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! or SWEATERS FOR MOM! or $12 CREW NECKS! The model will smile, often spin around while wearing the item, and brightly colored numbers and letters will repeat the current deal on screen. It’s always easy to know what’s going on at Old Navy, but it’s not really easy to pay attention to the commercials. They look the same every time.

Old Navy commercials have been humorous before, whether it was the mannequin voiceovers or the classic name mix up, but the humor isn’t memorable. They’ve also had celebrity appearances before. This time, however, Debra Wilson comes in to play an airport security worker who’s excited about a passenger’s jeans.

We can immediatelyrelate to the commercial, as anyone who has ever been through an airport security line has dealt with the annoyances of that system and the sassy security agents you might encounter.  Quickly, Wilson’s antics and faces get you laughing. The passenger is then able to act as a foil to Wilson and talk about Old Navy’s promotion, while Wilson can carry the humor herself (with the help of her sassy sidekick, Larry).

The chaos breaks out when the passenger announces that you can get $5 off this weekend just for trying them on. Cue the cartoon music, the flying suitcases, and a tiny yelping dog. The logo flashes on screen and just like that, the spot is over and we all go back to our day.

Why is this memorable? Why does this commercial work? Old Navy took a very smart approach to this. Many companies will try to “go funny” and try to rebrand themselves as funny in the process. Instead of going for something completely new, Old Navy stuck to their guns and incorporated humor into their tried and true model. Old Navy has always been proud of its everyday style and easy attitude. By staying relatable, they were able to make a big step for themselves without sacrificing anything.


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