Ask: Take a struggling retail brand and
reinvigorate it's in-store experience.
THE QUICK PITCH
Our group chose to tackle Baby Gap because of the Gap's rich history as well as the chance to think about a brand and target that none of us we're intuitively familiar with.
The Baby Gap brand has been lost in a wave of more niche infant clothing retailers both in malls and online. In a world where you can find hundreds of different retailers at a click of a mouse-pad, Baby Gap fails to stand out.
Most purchases at Baby Gap are gifts. Since the price-point of the merchandise is too high for most parents to buy their child’s everyday wear there, many purchases are coming from grandparents or older relatives with more disposable income.
Because of generational wealth disparity, spoiling your grandchildren is more popular than ever.
Baby Gap offers items that are more special and unique than most other baby retail stores. This means gifting Baby Gap to a grandchild is more than just fulfilling an obligation, its shows a deep love and creates connection across generations.
Gap started to cater to the Baby Boomer generation in the 60’s and has, until recently, always kept them as the core consumer. But now that the members of this generation are grandparents we can continue to explore our relationship with Boomers by helping them live up to their role as caretakers and baby spoilers.
Gifting Gap creates opportunity for cross-generational connection.
THE DEEP DIVE
The Power of the Boomers
USA Today recently reported that 50% of the U.S. population is aged 50+ and in 2016 Pew Research estimated the total number of baby boomers be over 74 million individuals. Those 74 million also control a huge portion of our countries discretionary income and they use it to make up for almost half of the countries consumer spending.
But whats even more interesting is that they’re spending that money not only on themselves, but also their grandchildren. On average millennial parents say they receive over 11 thousand dollars a year in financial support from their parents. Almost 50% said they received support in the form of buying clothes for their children and on average boomers reported buying over $400 a year in clothes for their grandchildren.
If we do some quick back-of-the-napkin math and assume that just 30% of boomers are grandparents and spending the average $400 on their grandchildren's clothes each year, that yields a conservative estimate of an 8 billion dollar industry. Our goal was to find a way for Baby Gap to capture more of that $8B.
Boomers & The GAP
The GAP originally was started in ’69 to sell records and Levis to the boomers and continued to follow their style well into the ’80s when they opened GAP kids to sell to boomers as they started to become parents. Unfortunately in the new millennium GAP has lost that unique boomer perspective, instead trying desperately to appeal to millennials with a minimalist and forgettable visual style. While boomers still trust this brand, they’re missing that clear connection they once had.
So if gap started to target coming-of-age boomers and then opened kids gap when those boomers became parents… why cant we leverage baby gap to speak to boomers now that they’re grandparents?
When we visited baby GAP the employees enlightened us to the fact that most baby gap purchases are made as gifts. Many of such coming from grandparents! While parents may see GAP prices as a little high for everyday wear, grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren with these nicer items.
BOOMERS & SPOILING CULTURE
It's easy to find evidence of a huge cultural phenomenon around spoiling grandchildren. A quick google search will populate a list of hundreds of thousands of images like those above. They’re shared on Facebook, embroidered on pillows, printed on tee shirts, and made into bumper stickers. There's no doubt that grandparents enjoy and are expected to spoil their grandchildren. We even found quotes that grandparents look at spoiling as a reward for putting up with raising their own kids.
Naturally, there's also a big industry around grandparents gifting to their grandchildren, but thats only a symptom of a much bigger cultural change. Grandparents relationship with their grandchildren is extremely different than its been for generations in the past. In Lori Bitter’s book The Grandparent Economy she explains that whereas back in the day grandparents might only chip in financial support for big purchases like cars or college tuition and only really interact with their grandchildren on holidays or family events, today's grandparents are very different. Many are contributing free childcare, they’re expected to be there for all the important milestones, and many are contributing financial support on a day-to-day basis. And whether or not you can or cant be there for every step of your grandchild’s life, there's a new found need for connection with them. Meaning they need more things to do together, more things to share, and more to bond over.
Which leads us to our brand strategy, which is to make GAP the destination for finding something special for the little one in your life.
This was crafted specifically with boomer grandparents in mind who needing a go to place to find things to spoil their grandchildren with. But it doesn’t have to just be grandparents, it could also be great aunts, uncles, family friends, and extended family… within and beyond this generational target.
We want to show boomers and any family member looking to spoil, that gifting GAP can create an opportunity to satisfy that hunger for intergenerational connection.
The goal for our creative concepts was to bridge the generation gap by creating an experience that passes the best of one generation on to the next. This meant take the visual styles and sounds from the 60's, 70's, and 80's and making them fun and relatable for young children while also excitingly nostalgic for grandparents.
We put together this quick video to capture the essence of what this concept could mean for the grandparent/grandchild relationship...
To match our new vision for the brand we created a completely new look for our retail locations. We noticed during our in-store visits that the current in-store look is lacking personality. We wanted to replace the boring white shelves and stock-photography looking visuals to something thats relatable and nostalgic for the boomers while colorful and exciting for the grandchildren.
We also wanted to take this new vibe out of store and online by making a subscription box that family members could gift to their little loved ones. This baby bundle would include retro-inspired outfits as well as a mix of vintage or vintage-inspired music.
We also created some OOH and online ads to drive more traffic to the website and the in-store locations.
My favorite part of this project was...
getting to do a mood board and get my hands dirty translating the strategy into a visual style.