Gap is hoping to energize and educate shoppers by publicizing through videos targeting smartphone users an employee's tip to clean jeans by putting them in the freezer.

The jeans-cleaning tip is from veteran denim washer Rob Crews. He appears in one of several videos Gap will promote through Web links in its stores in the effort to engage with store shoppers who carry smartphones with them while shopping in stores and malls.

Increasingly, shoppers are using smartphones to compare data including pricing and chains like Gap want to reach them.

Gap, which also owns Banana Republic, is stepping up its branding efforts -- and the company hired a new team of creative executives this year that is trying to connect Gap to its heritage, including the company's Los Angeles design studio where the jeans-freezing tip emerged.

Putting jeans in the freezer kills germs, thus the process has less wear and tear on the product that traditional washing. But freezing does not remove stains -- so if jeans owners want to get stains out they'll have to resort to washing the product by hand or in a machine.

But Gap's tipster says to place jeans inside an airtight bag so they do not come into contact with water or become iced. Leave the jeans in the freezer overnight, then pull them out and they are ready to wear -- germ free.

"It's good for the environment, good for your wallet," said Seth Farbman, Gap's chief marketing officer, in the Financial Times. "Not so good for your ice cream."