- Old Navy is kicking off its holiday marketing campaign this week, with TV personality RuPaul starring in five new spots, according to details emailed to Marketing Dive. The commercials each include the drag queen's "Hey Sis" song and will premiere on TV starting this week and run through Christmas.
- A four-part content series, titled "RuPaul-iday," will premiere on Old Navy's YouTube channel on Black Friday, with new segments airing on Fridays through Dec. 18. Each video will showcase the reality TV star's twists on various holiday-inspired activities, such as wreath-making, cookie decorating, gift wrapping and crafting cocktails.
- The effort acknowledges the unusual nature of the upcoming holiday season with spots featuring its range of masks for sale and convenient shopping services.
As retailers warily approach the holiday season under the pall of the COVID-19 pandemic, Old Navy's campaign aims to remind people that seasonal festivities can still be fun, even as consumers remain cautious. It directly addresses what's set to be an unusual season while remaining cheery. One commercial touting the brand's fleece clothing features the line, "Gotta snuggle yourself when you're socially distanced." A second spot hyping the brand's holiday-themed pajamas suggests people can "normalize conference calls in their pjs."
The spots also include nods to holiday pop culture with elements such as the dance performed by Hugh Grant in the holiday film "Love Actually," and appareances by Instagram personality Lil Baddie and actress Monica Ruiz, who gained fame in last year's infamous holiday commercial for Peloton.
The retail sector has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, having lost billions in U.S. sales since store shutdowns began in March.
"This will go down as the most difficult holiday season to prepare for, whether you're a retailer, a vendor, or anything in between," Joel Bines, co-head of retail consulting at AlixPartners LLP, told BloombergQuint this month.
The pandemic, as well as its economic fallout, leaves retail marketers struggling to strike the right tone as the all-important holiday season approaches. Old Navy's sister company, Gap, is striking an optimistic tone with TV commercials that depict people meeting in the center of a white room and reacting to handwritten signs sporting words like "joy," "patience" and "connection." Banana Republic, meanwhile, is launching its first TV campaign in 15 years and also takes on an uplifting tone to inspire consumers. The brand is backing up its joyful message with a charitable effort to Feeding America and CARE, a nonprofit addressing poverty and advocating for women and girls.