Gap Plans Tumblr Takeover as Part of Greater Omnichannel Retail Strategy

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Gap is launching the biggest marketing campaign in its history—dubbed “Back to Blue”—this fall with a global media push that includes the brand’s return to TV after a hiatus since 2009, as well as print and outdoor advertising, social media, in-store promotions and digital marketing. In fact, Gap will be the first brand to take over all mobile ads on Tumblr for one day, August 29.

“Pop culture doesn’t really start on TV anymore,” Rachel Tipograph, Gap’s global director of digital and social media, told Mashable. “Pop culture starts on the Internet. When you think about what community is creating pop culture on the Internet, it’s Tumblr.”

The Tumblr campaign includes a content creation contest, where the winning work will earn a spot on Gap’s Tumblr and be turned into Tumblr mobile ads. There are also nearly 10 “Back to Blue Moments” videos on its YouTube page. 

The impetus for “Back to Blue” is two-fold, according to Seth Farbman, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Gap.[more]

“Back to Blue means getting back to what matters most—our truest selves, when we are most comfortable in our own skin. It’s both a statement of how we feel as a brand, and how our customers want to live their lives and make their decisions. With style, people are seeking authentic denim and chambray—clothes you can wear almost anywhere but never forget who you really are.”

The campaign is also the leading edge for Gap Inc.’s effort to become an “omnichannel” business—a retail brand that wants to make sure customers can buy whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want—across all Gap Inc. brands, which include Athleta, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime.

Art Peck, president of the Gap’s Growth, Innovation and Digital division, detailed in a blog post one of the new efforts, Reserve In Store. The initiative, which is active for the Gap and Banana Republic brands, allows “customers to shop online, place their favorite styles on hold and pick them up in their local store.” The no-commitment service gives customers the utmost flexibility—a key factor in the company’s growing digital strategy. 

Gap is also building out its “Styld.by” user-curated platform with video and more content, which will be expanded to 30 countries by year’s end. The service, which partners with bloggers, stylists and other influencers to create looks, including guest series featuring Hollywood costume designers and pop culture personalities. A new element, “Styld.by You,” has been added to the program to enable consumers to tag photos of their looks on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Shoppers can even vote for who styled it better via a casual game.

With a modest rise in same-store sales in July, but a positive outlook for second-quarter profits, the global retailer is set on transforming its current portfolio into a global, digital powerhouse. CEO Glenn Murphy confirmed that “a diverse portfolio of brands is one of the keys for us to get growth at Gap, Inc.”

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