Brand Offers Inclusive Santa Training to Bring More Diversity to the Tradition
Old Navy is re-imagining the holiday season, making room for all the celebrations with its inclusive Happy ALL-idays campaign. The brand is inspiring customers to turn-around old holiday stereotypes and turn-up the cheer through storytelling and activations that honor all the traditions and festive ways people close out the year.
Inclusive Santa Activation
In honor of the ALL-idays, Old Navy is inviting ALL the Santas to participate, opening the tradition to anyone who is interested in spreading holiday joy. The brand’s inclusive training course encourages participation from a broad array of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural heritages to offer more representation in the role of Santa.
Diversity is a current challenge in the Santa industry. Less than 5% of all professional Santas in the U.S. identify as people of color, while almost half of children under the age of 15 in the U.S. identify as non-white. Last year, Old Navy introduced its skin-tone Santa prints, depicting Santa in three different skin tones across styles for the family. This year, the brand hopes to extend that concept from product to the real world.
Old Navy aims to make Santa more representative of modern-day culture through its Santa BOOTcamp, encouraging any person who wants to play the role of Santa this year - be it professionally, in their community, or for their family - to sign up for the inclusive training program.
In the 30-minute virtual course, trainees will learn the fundamentals of becoming Santa, including how to respond to kids’ frequently asked Santa questions, key phrases in both sign language and Spanish, and tactics for how to take the perfect photo. Old Navy partnered with veteran Santa Timothy Connaghan, founder of School4Santas and owner of one of the largest Santa booking agencies in the U.S., to develop the immersive course. Casted alongside Tim are fellow professional Santas and School4Santa graduates: Dion Sinclair, known as Santa Dee or “The Real Black Santa,” Bob Torres, a seasoned bilingual Santa who has been in the industry for 38 years, and Brian Butler, known as “Soulful Santa,” to help lead instruction.
“It’s not the red suit or white hair and beard that create holiday magic, it’s what you have in your heart,” said Timothy Connaghan. “A good Santa should spread joy and exude the holiday spirit, regardless of their appearance.”
Individuals can visit www.OldNavySantaBootcamp.com to register for the free, inclusive training program, which will take place online on Friday, November 19. Old Navy will also be casting a range of diverse Santas to appear in its flagship stores in New York City (Herald Square), San Francisco (Market Street) and Chicago (State Street) for socially-distant photo moments on Saturday, December 4.
Old Navy is celebrating all different types of families and traditions in this year’s ALL-idays campaign through an explosion of color and inclusion.
- In two television spots and a series of digital extensions starring award-winning actress and singer Keke Palmer, the brand playfully demonstrates that there’s no one way to celebrate the holidays. Keke is featured alongside a diverse cast of families participating in an array of holiday traditions, from building festive snowpeople to breaking a piñata. In one digital short, Palmer takes a pass at the inclusive Santa training, trying to master her HOHOHO and chimney entry.
- In a series of social takeovers, Old Navy will pass the mic to a diverse group of influencers to share their unique holiday traditions - from Friendsgiving to challah recipes to Elf on the Shelf. The brand will showcase one influencer a week, while encouraging followers to share how they ALL-iday using the #happyALLidays hashtag, beginning November 16 through December 21 on its @oldnavy Instagram handle.
“We have reimagined the holidays this year to celebrate the diversity of our customers through our ALL-iday campaign,” says Jamie Gersch, SVP and CMO at Old Navy. “Inclusivity is core to our Old Navy values and is represented in the products we create, how they come to life, the people we work with and how we run our business. We can’t wait to see and share our customers' ALL-iday celebrations.”
Skin Tone Santa Jingle Jammies
Old Navy’s famous Jingle Jammies inspired the brand’s inclusive Santa training program. Last year Old Navy launched its hero Santa print pajamas in partnership with Gap Inc.'s Color Proud Council, an employee group that is part of the company’s Equality & Belonging team. The expanded offering of Santa Jingle Jammies, available in three different skin tones, were an immediate hit with customers and showed more diversity in the depiction of Santa Claus across styles for the entire family.
This year, Old Navy continues to deliver on its values of inclusivity and belonging by bringing back the beloved Santa Jingle Jammies, alongside additional inclusive patterns and color combinations like menorah prints and rainbow stripes, to serve all family needs and traditions during the fall and winter seasons.
Shoppers can view the Jingle Jammie collection for the entire family, priced between $10.00 - $39.99 now at www.oldnavy.com and in Old Navy stores.
This Way ONward
Old Navy is proud to celebrate the ALL-iday season with its annual tradition of investing in the next generation through the brand’s This Way ONward program. This season Old Navy is giving it a rocket boost with a $1 million donation through the Imagine Mission Fund.
The program provides young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, changing lives with first jobs. In addition to providing career development and mentorship opportunities, the program invests in youth by assisting with transportation, housing and clothing allowance to help narrow the opportunity gap.
Through This Way ONward, Old Navy has provided jobs and mentoring to over 10,000 diverse youth (90% of participants self-identify as a person of color), and is on track to hit its goal to provide 20,000 jobs by 2025. Learn more about This Way ONward and Old Navy’s cause platform, The Imagine Mission, at www.oldnavy.com/imagine.
About Old Navy
Old Navy is a global apparel and accessories brand that makes current American essentials accessible to every family. Originated in 1994, the brand celebrates the democracy of style through on-trend, playfully optimistic, affordable and high-quality products. A division of San Francisco-based Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Old Navy brings a fun, energizing shopping environment to its customers in more than 1,200 stores around the world. For more information, please visit www.oldnavy.com.
Alison Brod Marketing + Communications
 Imagine Mission Fund is an established fund at T.Rowe Price DAF, a 501c3.