Amazon, Old Navy, Petco Rock New Holiday Jams


Both Old Navy and Petco are looking for new ways to break through the holiday hullabaloo. Petco is hoping you and your pet will wear matching outfits, based on insights that many of us like our furry friends more than our actual family.

Old Navy wants to make the face of the holidays more inclusive, enlisting people of all colors into its Santa Boot Camp.

And Amazon is rolling out a sweet and tender spot focusing on the kindness of strangers, set to “Hold On,” a new song from Adele.

Petco says its effort hinges not just on the 11 million new pets acquired during the pandemic but on the millions that Americans already had. Its research finds that 75% of pet owners intend to buy their animal a gift, and about half of those people plan to spend more on the pet gift than on presents for humans in their family.



This year, its holiday gifts include plenty of people-to-pet matching apparel, seasonal pet gear and family holiday photos with their pets. (Costumes aren’t required, but the retailer's even stocking a Santa suit for bearded dragons.)

Ads themed “It’s what we would want if we were pets” imagine dogs as humans, clarifying their discernment in face-licking and squeaky toys.

Old Navy, already famous for its annual holiday Jingle Jammies ads, uses merry-and-bright energy to bring home powerful diversity efforts.

Last year, it began offering a skin-tone option on its Santa jammies, which proved so successful it enlarged the effort this year. That includes a free Santa Boot Camp, a virtual program encouraging people from all backgrounds to step up as Santa.

“Through its inclusive Santa training course, Old Navy aims to make Santa more representative of modern-day culture and its customers and inspire people everywhere to celebrate the magic of the holidays,” a spokesperson tells Marketing Daily.

Currently, less than 5% of professionals are Santas-of-Color. Yet almost half of U.S. children under 15 identify as non-white. Old Navy tapped veteran Santa Timothy Connaghan, founder of School4Santas, to develop the immersive, 30-minute course.

The spokesperson says Santa Boot Camp isn’t just for pros. “Participants may have a genuine interest in learning the fundamentals of becoming Santa, even if only for their family or in their community.”

Old Navy says it’s got a roster of diverse Santas lined up for appearances at flagship stores in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, along with socially distanced photo moments.

It explores that multicolor theme in this year’s holiday ads, themed “Happy ALL-idays” starring actress Keke Palmer.

And besides continuing the skin-tone Santa offers, it’s also added menorah prints and rainbow stripes to the collection. “However you jingle, we got your jammies,” she says in one spot. “You do you, boo.”

In another, Palmer reminds viewers that “this season is too big for just red and green. It’s the all-idays, and we’re bringing all of the color.”

Amazon’s two-minute spot follows a lonely young woman painfully navigating the challenges of coming back to the world post-pandemic. A neighbor senses her struggles and sends her a special gift.

The spot, created by Lucky Generals, begins airing Nov. 14 in the U.S., and also running in the U.K., Canada, Australia and other global markets.

“This holiday season will be shaped by what we've experienced during the pandemic,” says Ed Smith, general manager of integrated marketing at Amazon in the European Union, in the brand’s announcement. “The past 18 months have been challenging for people across the globe, including many young adults. Our time together cannot be taken for granted. So, this year, whilst the world will not be totally back to normal, opportunities for kindness and connection will take on a newfound importance."

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