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Old Navy is re-imagining the holiday season, making room for all the celebrations with its inclusive Happy ALL-idays campaign. The brand is inspiring customers to turn-around old holiday stereotypes and turn-up the cheer through storytelling and activations that honor all the traditions and festive ways people close out the year.
In honor of the ALL-idays, Old Navy is inviting ALL the Santas to participate, opening the tradition to anyone who is interested in spreading holiday joy. The brand’s inclusive training course encourages participation from a broad array of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural heritages to offer more representation in the role of Santa.
Diversity is a current challenge in the Santa industry. Less than 5% of all professional Santas in the U.S. identify as people of color1, while almost half of children under the age of 15 in the U.S. identify as non-white2. Last year, Old Navy introduced its skin-tone Santa prints, depicting Santa in three different skin tones across styles for the family. This year, the brand hopes to extend that concept from product to the real world.
Old Navy aims to make Santa more representative of modern-day culture through its Santa BOOTcamp, encouraging any person who wants to play the role of Santa this year - be it professionally, in their community, or for their family - to sign up for the inclusive training program.
In the 30-minute virtual course, trainees will learn the fundamentals of becoming Santa, including how to respond to kids’ frequently asked Santa questions, key phrases in both sign language and Spanish, and tactics for how to take the perfect photo. Old Navy partnered with veteran Santa Timothy Connaghan, founder of School4Santas and owner of one of the largest Santa booking agencies in the U.S.3, to develop the immersive course. Casted alongside Tim are fellow professional Santas and School4Santa graduates: Dion Sinclair, known as Santa Dee or “The Real Black Santa,” Bob Torres, a seasoned bilingual Santa who has been in the industry for 38 years, and Brian Butler, known as “Soulful Santa,” to help lead instruction.
“It’s not the red suit or white hair and beard that create holiday magic, it’s what you have in your heart,” said Timothy Connaghan. “A good Santa should spread joy and exude the holiday spirit, regardless of their appearance.”
Individuals can visit www.OldNavySantaBootcamp.com to register for the free, inclusive training program, which will take place online on Friday, November 19. Old Navy will also be casting a range of diverse Santas to appear in its flagship stores in New York City (Herald Square), San Francisco (Market Street) and Chicago (State Street) for socially-distant photo moments on Saturday, December 4.
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