Gymboree “Made You Smile”

US childrenswear brand Gymboree has developed “Made You Smile”, an app that activates an interactive layer of augmented reality and brings to life its graphic t-shirts.

Once parents have unlocked the app’s AR feature on their smartphones, children can interact with the functionality by playing with different brushes and colours atop the graphics.

The app also features a ‘smile generator’ which allows customers to create emoji faces that adapt to facial expressions as well as decorate photos with digital stickers.

The final feature is triggered when parents enter select newly-refurbished Gymboree stores across the country, where they are notified that they can enter a draw to win a range of prizes.

“We have spent the past year building the team and laying the foundation to meet the expectations of the modern parent and to begin providing a relevant experience in today’s retail environment,” says Daniel Griesemer, president and CEO of Gymboree. “We have taken the time to learn exactly what parents want and kids are looking for and have used these learnings to create the products and experiences that will resonate.”

The app is part of a larger campaign that aims to communicate the complete overhaul of the San Francisco-based brand as it fights to bounce back after filing for bankruptcy in 2017. In order to stay relevant, it is aiming to reposition itself and better reflect the values of Millennial parents and their tech-savvy children. This includes launching a range of digital initiatives and partnerships, as well as several new in-store features.

The mindset of reflecting customers’ values is further emphasized by a video campaign in which children lip sync to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, targeting parents who most likely grew up listening to the song – thus adding an element of nostalgia.