February 09, 2009 // Franchising.com // San Francisco -– Cameras captured their smiles, judges selected the finalists and America cast their votes. Today, Gap revealed the four adorable, personality-filled winners of its third annual Casting Call contest. Congratulations to the next bright faces of babyGap and GapKids: Jaci Rae, 3, from New Jersey; Caleb, 3, from Illinois;Jovana, 10, from Illinois; and Kellen, 8, from Florida – who can be spotted in store windows from coast to coast in February as a part of babyGap and GapKids latest campaign.
"This year's contest was bigger than ever before - we had more entries, more participation with in-store photo events, more buzz and tougher choices to make when it came time to select the finalists out of so many adorable kids," said Pam Wallack, president of babyGap, GapKids and GapMaternity. "We love to give our customers unique opportunities to engage with the brand, and this annual contest is always one of our favorite events of the year. We're proud to call thse four delightful darlings the next faces of babyGap and GapKids."
Beginning on Sept. 15, parents across the country were encouraged to submit their child's photo to Gap's Casting Call Contest, resulting in nearly 900,000 eligible cuties' photos uploaded to gap.com/castingcall. To give busy parents a hand with the contest, Gap hosted 40 photo-taking events at babyGap and GapKids stores across the nation, offering parents an opportunity to have a free professional photo taken of their child.
Next, judges had the impossible task of narrowing down the pool to the top 20 finalists – 10 babies (ages four and under) and 10 kids (ages five to 10). The top 10 boys and top 10 girls were flown to San Francisco for a sneak-peek of life as a bonafide model to participate in a real Gap photo shoot. Voting opened on Dec. 8, and Americans were encouraged to log onto gap.com/castingcall and vote for their favorite future Gap kids and babies, one boy and one girl from each category. Voting closed just before the holidays and the votes have been totaled. Not only are the winners featured in store windows nationwide, but they also receive a year's supply of clothing from babyGap or GapKids and $450 worth of photo gifts from Snapfish by HP, Gap's photo partner for the contest.
Meet the Winners:
Jaci Rae, age 3, from Bedminster, NJ – Jaci loves going to the playground, listening to Disney Kids music and playing with her full-service restaurant toy where she cooks, serves and takes food orders. Jaci was spotted at an in-store photo event near her hometown in New Jersey. Her gorgeous hair caught the attention of not only Gap, but the thousands of Americans that voted for her.
Caleb, age 3, from Gurnee, IL – Caleb is a budding athlete who loves Tiger Woods, Lebron James and playing catch with his Brett Favre football. When he isn't playing sports, Caleb can be found with his Spiderman collection and his WALL-E robot. This was the second year that Caleb's mother, Donna, entered her little star into Gap's Casting Call and had difficulty containing her excitement when she heard the good news that Caleb was a finalist.
Jovana, age 10, from Rochelle, IL – Jovana loves to snack on red apples, giving her the energy she needs for fast pitching in softball and playing basketball. When she isn't perfecting her pitch and throwing three-pointers, Jovana loves to sleep in and hang out with her friends. Her favorite subject is science, and she would love to be a teacher or veterinarian when she grows up. Jovana became instant friends with one of the other 20 finalists at the photo shoot in San Francisco, and they keep in touch to this day.
Kellen, age 8, from Wellington Florida – Kellen is a talented gamer who loves to play videos games. When he isn't playing with his Wii or Game Boy, Kellen can be found doing flips and handstands of his own with Judo, break dancing and gymnastics. He is building his resume for when he becomes a model or actor. When he was on the San Francisco photo shoot, he was showing off his moves doing upside down head-spins, jumps and twists, keeping the entire crew entertained.
"Each year we receive so many fantastic entries, and this year was no exception," adds Wallack. "I wish we could feature them all, but the winning four children reflect the look of the brand exceptionally. Congratulations to Jaci Rae, Caleb, Jovana and Kellen!"
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta brand names. Fiscal 2008 sales were $14.5 billion. Gap Inc. operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan and Ireland. In addition, Gap Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.