GapKids’ New B-t-s Campaign Is Themed ‘Everyone Belongs’

·4 min read

Despite its troubles, Gap is celebrating the back-to-school season with a new advertising campaign called “Everyone Belongs,” focusing on real kids with unique abilities and differences who inspire and embody inclusion.

The campaign’s creative was inspired by the children’s book of the same name, “Everyone Belongs,” written by Heather Avis.

More from WWD

The new campaign was created in-house by Len Peltier, Gap’s creative director, shot by Jack O’Connor and directed by Lauren Sick. The cast of kids is styled in organic loose denim, khakis, pocket T-shirts, and varsity jackets, among other looks.

“Celebrating individuality has always been iconic to Gap brand,” said Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing. “Back-to-school is the right time to bring this message of belonging to the forefront and reinforce that there is no greater joy than being your true self. ‘Everyone Belongs’ shares an important message for kids and adults alike, and we are excited to continue to encourage individuality, acceptance, and the joy we feel when we embrace our unique selves.”

Alderete added that they have been building some community with Avis over the last two to three years. She adopted three kids and two of them have Down syndrome. “She’s just been such a great champion, for inclusivity and acceptance and representation so we wanted to work with her again,” said Alderete.

As part of the campaign, they are doing social activation initiatives and encouraging kids to upload videos of their different talents at #Gapkidsbelong. “Every kid can be part of the Gap expression and they will choose some of the kids to be featured in the marketing,” said Alderete.

The campaign’s cast includes six-year-old Brody Schaffer, who gained a big following on social media for his many talents, such as singing, dancing and playing the piano; 13-year-old Adriana Castro, who can be found playing basketball, making silly videos with her sister and practicing jiu-jitsu all from her wheelchair, and four-year-old Beauden Baumkirchner, who with two prosthetic legs, enjoys biking, running, swimming and flying kites.

According to Alderete, they worked with their casting director to find the kids and looked on TikTok. Avis’ three children Truly, Macy and August are also featured in GapKids ads for the third time. In the video, the kids talk about what belonging means, what does it mean to be your true self and be accepted for who you are, she said.

The campaign was photographed in Los Angeles in various locations, such as a bowling alley and outside.

According to Alderete, some of the fun of the campaign was that parents are going to be able to put their kids in these ’90s icons that they wore, such as the ’90s loose denim, flare denim, the rugby polos and the icon jacket. There are also dresses, khakis and woven shirts.

Asked what she anticipates will be the b-t-s bestsellers, she said denim, (loose and flare), pocket Ts in 100 percent cotton, dresses, backpacks and a Varsity jacket.

A GapKids image for back-to-school.
A GapKids image for back-to-school.

The campaign breaks Wednesday across GapKids channels, TV and digital. The TV buy, which will run for three weeks, includes top-rated prime and cable shows across all the major networks.

As for how GapKids is doing, Alderete said, “We feel optimistic. I feel people want to feel good. I feel the idea of optimism and finding the joy and the emotional connection is what we’re always about with kids at this time of the year. I think it’s going to be competitive. I think we feel very differentiated with our offering and also the great styling, and the importance of engaging both segments, kids and parents.”

Gap’s new campaign comes on the heels of the departure of chief executive officer Sonia Syngal earlier this month. Gap’s three biggest brands, Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, have faltered for some time. As reported, the Gap brand has wrestled to reclaim the popularity it had decades ago and has been faced with inflationary pressures that have particularly hit the lower-income consumer, as well as inventory lateness.

Gap hopes to be part of the good news happening for b-t-s. As reported, back-to-school shopping in the U.S. is set to reach an all-time high, according to new research from Deloitte LLP. For kindergarten to 12th grade, spending should reach $34.4 billion, or $661 a student, which is up 8 percent from a year ago.

Sign up for WWD's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.