- GapKids partnered with film studio Lionsgate to celebrate the back-to-school season with a series of short films as part of its "Forward with" campaign, according to a joint press release. The final short in the series features actor Jacob Tremblay and ties into Lionsgate's upcoming adaptation of the book "Wonder," which he stars in.
- The campaign includes four video shorts, each highlighting people who champion kids through positive reinforcement. GapKids is also taking part in Lionsgate's #ChooseKind effort around the release of "Wonder" in November, which focuses on fostering inclusion and kindness in the classroom for young students.
- Part of GapKids involvement is a #ChooseKind t-shirt design contest where students create visualizations of what kindness and inclusion mean to them. The eight winning designs will be sold in select GapKids stores and on Gap.com beginning Nov. 13, coinciding with World Kindness Day. Profits will benefit myFace and Children's Craniofacial Association. In addition, 400 participating classrooms will be eligible for a GapKids sponsored private "Wonder" screening along with a Facebook Q&A with the film's cast members.
GapKids is tapping into a number of popular trends in marketing at the moment, leveraging short-form video content and socially-conscious messaging for outreach during the key back-to-school shopping season. As brick-and-mortar retailers face some especially rough waters in 2017, marketing innovation might be becoming a vital way to spur more foot traffic and sales. The overall effort includes an element of user-generated content (UGC) — or crowdsourced product — with the t-shirt design contest and a strong social media tie-in that should be able to ride some of the popularity around Lionsgate's adaptation of bestseller "Wonder."
The campaign also prominently features Tremblay, a rising star who earned widespread praise for his performance in 2015's "Room." Shoemaker and apparel brand Converse is taking a similar tack for its back-to-school push this year with a GIF-centric campaign starring Millie Bobby Brown, who's quickly rose to prominence for her role on the Netflix series "Stranger Things."
Encouraging UGC is increasingly popular with brands across the board, but stoking kids' imaginations to come up with their own designs and then selling those designs to benefit charity is a wholesome and winning use of the tactic. In April, Crayola and Nestle's Pure Life water brand teamed for a similar effort that showcased packaging illustrated by children, which was then sold in stores.