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'Project Reindeer' Ties a Bow on Gap's Big Social Media Year

  |  December 20, 2010   |  Comments

Clothing retailer has leveraged Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Foursquare, and Loopt since last summer.

The Gap's "Project Reindeer" holidays campaign caps a year in which the brand emerged as a leader among social media marketers. Since Dec. 15, the retail chain has enlisted eight GPS-collared reindeer that are monitored as they "race" to the North Pole.

In a five-day initiative ending today, the campaign's premise has been that the reindeer decide what daily Christmas deals Gap customers can get. Every day the Gap team decides on a parameter for which the eight reindeer compete. Every reindeer is attached to a specific deal. For instance, a win for reindeer "Chloe" will get consumers accessories in the store for $5 apiece, while "Emma" garners 40 percent off a total purchase. So depending on which reindeer has moved the furthest, fastest, closest, slowest, etc. to the North Pole, a deal is introduced for the store's holiday shoppers.

Gap, with the help of agency AKQA, has created Twitter hash-tags for all eight reindeer (#deerChloe, #deerEmma, #deerDuke, etc.). The retailer uses its Twitter account and Facebook page to announce that day's winning reindeer/holiday deal. In reality, the reindeer are in a fenced-in pasture near Lake Crystal, MN, and that's about as close to the North Pole as they'll get. (See video below.)

"Project Reindeer" underscores how busy Gap has been with social media in recent months. At varying junctures last summer, Gap offered 25 percent discounts to Foursquare and Loopt users who checked in at one of the retailer's locations. The same offer was extended to Twitter followers and Facebook "likes" via posted coupon codes.

During August, the retailer saw a 50 percent discount on Groupon go viral via social sites like Twitter and Facebook, grossing $11 million in one day.

In October, the brand changed its logo, and a social media backlash ensued. Gap listened to the throngs of critics and reverted back to its original logo.

And on Nov. 5, the "first 10,000 people" who checked in via Facebook Places on Gap's Facebook page were rewarded with either a free pair of jeans worth up to $59.50 or 40 percent off one item. This effort was the first major campaign to run on Facebook Places, and reviews were mixed.

The "first 10,000 people" claim was a bit misleading, as stores were allotted only a certain number of vouchers per location. Once each location went through its allotment, the promotion was over for that store. According to an AdAge article, one Gap in Chicago had zero vouchers left as early as 10 a.m. Central Daylight Time.


Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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