Gap will launch a virtual, purchase-free experience in Club Roblox, a role-playing, user-generated world build on the Roblox gaming platform, per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
A collaboration with SuperAwesome, the Club Roblox Boutique is designed to resemble a Gap Teen store and includes a fashion show mini-game called Style Stage, a juice bar, and a photo booth.
The Style Stage game takes inspiration from the retailer’s summer campaign, and the Club Roblox Boutique looks to offer teens a way to express their individuality in the metaverse, aligning it with the priorities of young consumers around the growing space.
With the Club Roblox Boutique, Gap takes its latest step into the metaverse, a nascent concept that revolves around the convergence of real and online worlds which is becoming a growing priority for marketers of all types.
The Club Roblox Boutique, which is designed with the brand’s Times Square flagship store in mind, is a teen-focused activation that includes a fashion-themed mini-game and other digital experiences. The activation is also tied to the retailer’s traditional marketing, taking inspiration from its summer ad campaign and featuring digital replicas of items in the current Gap Teen collection.
For its latest metaverse effort, Gap has selected Roblox, a free-to-play gaming platform that has seen explosive growth during the pandemic, especially among kids and teens. Competitors American Eagle and Forever 21 have both taken to the platform in recent months to showcase apparel and gamify fashion, respectively; Gap’s experience is designed to do both.
Gap is keeping the metaverse preferences of young consumers in mind by focusing its activation on inclusion and self-expression, which are also themes of its marketing campaigns. A majority of Gen Z consumers feel freer to express themselves in games than they do in real life, while nearly half (45%) say their in-game identity is a truer expression of who they are, per research conducted by Vice Media Group and Publicis Groupe’s Razorfish agency.
By making the Club Roblox Boutique purchase-free, Gap is also mindful of Gen Z preferences for how brands should operate in the metaverse. While one-third of Gen Zers want to see brands develop virtual stores in the metaverse, nearly half (46%) want products and experiences to be free, per the research.
“We want Gap Teens to feel represented and connected in an inclusive Gap world with an immersive and unique fashion experience that gives them the freedom to experiment with their style and be their true selves, both IRL and in this rapidly growing digital universe,” Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing, said in a statement. “Engaging teens where they live and play in Club Roblox gives them another way to further socialize and express themselves in a new way.”
The Club Roblox Boutique is a collaboration with SuperAwesome, a self-described kid tech company that creates safe, compliant digital experiences for kids and young teens. SuperAwesome was acquired by Epic Games — the developer of Fortnite and a company focused on the development of the metaverse — in 2020, and is working with WPP to help the agency group better understand online safety and privacy as part of a larger partnership around the metaverse.