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Gap Reaffirms Inclusivity Theme in Back-to-School Campaign

Retail Dive | July 28, 2022

Gap further chisels out a years-long efforts to promote inclusivity and diversity with its latest GapKids back-to-school campaign that seeks to be a source of inspiration while nodding to the brand’s “modern American optimism” through line. “Everyone Belongs,” celebrates the aspects that make people different from one another. In the national 30-second spot, children are see playing and enjoying hobbies while speaking out about what it means to be different with messages like, “You can be you, and I can be me.”

While inclusivity has been a focus of numerous brand marketers over the past few years, as inflationary concerns have grown, value has been an overarching theme of some recent back-to-school campaigns. Gap hopes to cut through the noise by associating value with the longevity of its products and items that kids feel most themselves in.

The campaign, produced in-house, will appear on national television, digital channels and GapKids channels and will promote styled looks that include loose denim, varsity jackets and pocket tees meant to evoke modern prep. The concept for “Everyone Belongs” stems from a book with the same name written by New York Times bestselling author Heather Avis, who is also the founder of The Lucky Few Foundation, a Down Syndrome advocacy organization. Gap’s back-to-school campaign is not the first time the brand has sought inspiration from the author, according to Alderete. The retail behemoth previously collaborated with Avis for her book “Different,” and she and her children have been featured in several campaigns for GapKids.

The brand has also coined a hashtag, #GapKidsBelong, in an effort to ramp up its digital presence and encourage parents to upload videos of their kids doing what they enjoy on social media for the opportunity to be featured in future marketing materials.

Gap’s campaigns have embraced inclusion, diversity and positive social change as it attempts to form an emotional connection amid political unrest, pandemic shut downs, global crises and economic woes. In the brand’s spring push earlier this year, it focused on self expression and included a partnership with Dapper Dan to create the Dap Gap hoodie, a nod to the classic sweatshirt from the ’90s as the brand continues to bring back some of its vintage styles. For last year’s fall release, “Individuals,” an array of creators shared how they’re making a social impact. In fall 2020, Gap created a campaign centered on voter awareness and education, Alderete’s first major campaign in the CMO role.

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