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Old Navy hops on mobile donation bandwagon via charitable social campaign

Gap Inc.’s Old Navy is unzipping consumers’ holiday shopping excitement via its annual Overnight Millionaire sweepstakes and a social media-enabled donation campaign to celebrate good deeds during one of the most charitable seasons.

Old Navy is rolling out a campaign on Giving Tuesday, asking consumers to take selfies or photos of friends and family completing good deeds from December 1 to 7. As the retailer ramps up to offer consumers an interactive experience via mobile during the Black Friday shopping frenzy, the subsequent charitable campaign will likely sit well with individuals trying to tap into the giving spirit of the holidays.

“Entertaining customers waiting in Black Friday lines with mobile games is a great way to further engage customers with your brand,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “It is much better than having customers shop competitors’ Web sites while standing in line.

“Gamification is hot for retailers, as 87 percent of retailers say they will be using gamification techniques within five years, according to the BRP 2015 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey.”

Extending holiday campaigns
While Old Navy’s annual Overnight Millionaire campaign is set to entice consumers conducting early morning Black Friday shopping, the brand is extending its holiday festivities to the following week as well.

Old Navy has created two ways for customers to give back, kicking off on Giving Tuesday, which falls on December 1 this year. The week after Thanksgiving, consumers are encouraged to snap a selfie or take a photo of their loved ones completing acts of kindness, which then must be uploaded and shared on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Photos should be tagged with the Old Navy handle, @oldnavy, as well as the #UNSelfie hashtag. For each image shared, Old Navy will donate $1 to the Boys and Girls Club of America, up to a maximum donation of $25,000.

Furthermore, any individual who shops with their Gap, Inc. branded credit card on Tuesday will see the retailer donate one percent of their total spend to the same organization, up to a donation of $75,000.

Social media is a best-fit channel for this type of campaign, as so many consumers enjoy sharing selfies of themselves on their accounts, in addition to holiday-themed photos. The guaranteed $1 donation for each photo posted will likely entice many users to participate and spread awareness about the campaign.

“Social media is an effective medium to promote charitable campaigns, as it has the potential to massively increase the awareness of the campaign as followers like, comment or share the message with their network of friends,” Mr. Morris said. “Additionally, when people post a good deed, it creates peer pressure among their network of friends which may encourage more good deeds.

“It is essentially a crowdsource approach to ‘pay it forward’ giving.”

Old Navy may also reach more consumers thanks to the optimal timing of the charitable effort. Many retailers’ holiday efforts are centered on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, therefore paving the way for Old Navy to grab the spotlight on Giving Tuesday.

Continuing fan-favorite promotions
The Gap Inc. subsidiary is ramping up to fulfill the dreams of another unsuspecting Black Friday shopper this year with the return of its Overnight Millionaire sweepstakes. The first 50 consumers lined up at each Old Navy bricks-and-mortar store on Black Friday will be given a game card with instructions on how to play.

Shoppers will be able to text in to receive a link to the promotion microsite, which will open in their mobile Web browser.

One winner will receive a grand prize of one million dollars. He or she will be randomly chosen on November 27 at 7 PM Eastern time.

“Many consumers enjoy the theater of shopping and Black Friday has become an annual family ritual,” Mr. Morris said. “Social media adds to the epic shopping frenzy and creates opportunities for retailers to play a role in the social conversations around Black Friday.

“The benefit of these social campaigns is extended, as many Cyber Monday purchases are influenced by Black Friday shopping.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York