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Old Navy reimagines the celebrity tie-in as mobile video consumption grows

Old Navy reimagines the tried-and-true celebrity tie-in for its latest back-to-school campaign by building the effort around stars from YouTube as opposed to TV or film, reflecting how much time teens spend consuming video content from their mobile devices. 

The apparel and accessories retailer's campaign focuses on an inspirational music video titled Unlimited and aims to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of America by selling the song on iTunes. Featuring appearances from YouTube stars from youth network AwesomenessTV, the partnership aims to offer multichannel access to the public by offering a glimpse of familiar faces and uses in-image advertising in the videos, which redirects viewers to additional videos that tell more about the campaign, behind the scenes footage and interviews with students. 

"We always design our content with viewer consumption patterns in mind and think with a mobile first mentality," said Jamie Gersch, vice president of marketing at Old Navy, San Francisco. 

Fearless initiatives?
The execution of the campaign is wide-ranging with further social connectivity using the hashtag #BeUnlimited.

The retailer is placing great emphasis on kids with the music video and hopes to resonate with this young audience through the use of song and music. In the past, Old Navy has displayed a bigger reliance on TV advertising and targeting moms. 

The song is memorable, and Old Navy created the song with the hope that students around the country will learn the words, download the song and spread the word. 

The video features a young girl who is excited for the first day of school and her opportunities, but a cloud character interrupts her occasionally during the song, filling her mind with doubts. She pushes on, remains positive and makes new friends.

The presence of familiar YouTube stars further connects to the audience as young smartphone users most commonly watch videos on their devices, and it is likely viewers have seen the stars before due to a prevalence of activity on YouTube.

?For today?s retailers, the Millennial represents a growing economic force,? said Vanessa Horwell, chief visibility officer at ThinkInk, Miami. ?This army of 79 million young college students, workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers, all between the ages of 18 and 33, a key demographic for Old Navy, make up America?s largest generation in history. 

?Collectively, they spend $600 billion annually, and by the year 2020, are expected to account for 30 percent of all retail transactions in the United States,? she said. ?Despite their age, they?re highly motivated, embracing the startup culture and developing some of the most cutting-edge technology, mobile applications and social platforms on the market today.?

Ms. Horwell is not affiliated with Old Navy but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Other clickable videos featured at the end including student interviews, behind the scenes footage and more information on the campaign continue the viewer?s engagement.

The campaign continues on social with the use of the hashtag #BeUnlimited on Twitter, where Old Navy has posted the YouTube video and inspirational tweets are flooding the feed.

Common back-to-school campaigns advertise for the brand, but Old Navy is likely to attract fans due to its reverse approach. In an effort to benefit others and provide a source of entertainment, Old Navy offers a one-of-a-kind experience in trendy ways to resonate with a young audience.

Mobile?s long road?
Old Navy, L?Oreal Paris, Kraft Foods and Mondelez led the way in taking a more targeted approach to mobile video as the launch partnered for a solution that delivered pre-roll ads to specific audiences.

Mobile video ads are often untargeted or targeted based on the type of video content. A new solution ? which comes out of a partnership between NinthDecimal, previously JiWire, and TubeMogul - brought together data from both the digital and physical worlds for audience targeting and integrates this with mobile video ads (see story).

In 2013, Old Navy relied on mobile rewards as a way to make shopping more interactive via a new advertising campaign that incorporated commerce and video.

Old Navy used mobile advertising to push its summer campaign, which is titled ?Camp Old Navy.? The Old Navy ads ran within Session M?s network of reward-based mobile applications that let consumers rack up points in exchange for interacting with apps and watching advertisements (see story).

Old Navy intends to reach their consumers while at home or abroad, giving crucial reason to be as active on mobile as possible.

"We want families to enjoy this content wherever they are and have optimized the viewing experience for smartphones and tablets," Ms. Gersch said.   

Final Take
?Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York