Old Navy Is Addressing Holiday Diversity With a Free Inclusive Santa Claus Training Course

This year, Santa Clause is coming to Old Navy. And he might look a but different than what most people are used to.

As part of the brand’s inclusive “ALL-idays” campaign, which is meant to encourage holiday participation across all backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural heritages, Old Navy will offer an inclusive Santa Claus training course to encourage a more diverse representation of the father of Christmas. The company is also casting a variety of diverse Santas to appear in Old Navy flagship stores in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago for socially-distant photo moments on Saturday, December 4.

Old Navy is looking to diversify the Santa Claus most often displayed during the holiday season, which usually looks like an older, round-figured, white bearded caucasian male. According to a 2017 analysis from the Tampa Bay Times, less than 5% of all professional Santas identify as people of color.

The new program lives under Old Navy’s Imagine Mission, which oversees brand initiatives related to inclusivity, opportunity, and sustainability.

“A key pillar in Old Navy’s Imagine Mission is inclusivity; we believe representation and diversity matter in everything we do,” said SVP and CMO at Old Navy Jamie Gersch. “That’s why we’re so excited to reimagine the holidays this year by showcasing the ALL-idays, to inspire and celebrate the diverse lifestyles of our customers.”

Old Navy designed the free 30-minute course in partnership with Timothy Connaghan, a veteran Santa and the founder of a Santa booking agency and training school. Other. instructors in the program include Dion Sinclair, or “The Real Black Santa,” Bob Torres, a 38-year veteran and bilingual Santa, and Brian Butler, known as “Soulful Santa.”

Any person can sign up to play the role of Santa via Old Navy’sSanta BOOTcamp, which will occur on Nov. 19. In addition to Santa fundamentals, the course teaches key phrases in sign language and Spanish. Those interested can sign up for the course at http://www.OldNavySantaBootcamp.com.

“It’s not the red suit or white hair and beard that create holiday magic. It’s what you have in your heart,” said Connaghan. “A good Santa should spread joy and exude the holiday spirit, regardless of their appearance.”

Old Navy will also donate $1 million to the company’s mentorship and development ONward program via the Imagine Mission Fund.

The training program campaign was inspired by the success of Old Navy’s Santa print pajamas that launched last year and were available in three different skin tones. The pajamas, which offered diverse representations of Santa Claus, were launched in partnership with Gap Inc.’s Color Proud Council, an inclusivity initiative.

Old Navy has made recent strides in the realm of inclusivity. In August, the value retailer launched its “Bodequality” program, which made all women’s styles will available in sizes 0-30 and XS-4X with no price differentiation.


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