The week Gap became crap

Blog posted on October 14, 2010 Marketing

This week we have witnessed the true power of Social Media! Last week Gap revealed a new logo, which was meant to be a “more contemporary, modern expression” for this well established clothing brand. But consumers and Gap’s 739’523 fans on Facebook disagreed, they thought the new logo was just pants! As a result of the incredible response via Social Media channels Gap has renounced all action and logo changes, reverting to their original logo. Hurray for good design and mob rule!

When they first launched the new logo, Gap initially posted this comment on their Facebook Fan Page;

“Gap: Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.

This received 1’097 comments from fans, ranging from “The new logo sucks” to “Crowdsourcing, sounds like…..outsourcing…looks like THEFT!!!”. This comment from Gap shows that even huge brands still don’t have a clue about Social Media. The whole crowd sourcing idea was a terrible knee jerk reaction, Gap obviously felt the weight of their design being trashed in the public arena so responded in a “well if you don’t like it suggest something else” tone. Social Media is not about getting your fans to do your job for you… and designers around the World felt exactly the same way, well, if you read some of their comments on Facebook they weren’t quite as polite as me! Needless to say, people still weren’t happy so Gap had a rethink and then retorted;

“Gap: After all yesterday’s conversation, we wanted to shed some more light on the background behind our new logo – and we wanted you to hear it straight from our president, Marka Hansen. Check out her blog on Huffington Post and let us know what you think.

Well, people told them what they thought in a further 777 comments! And shedding light on the awful insights behind this awful design still didn’t help their cause. The phrase “flogging a dead horse” comes to mind.

The buzz around the new logo was intense and people got creative with their backlash; a fake Twitter account was created and has gained over 5000 followers, and Gap logo generators have gone viral (this is our personal favourite!). In their final response, Gap has declared they will bring back their old logo;

“Gap: Ok. We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what’s best for the brand and our customers. So instead of crowd sourcing, we’re bringing back the Blue Box tonight.

Here is Gap’s official Press Release on the issue.

Phew, sense finally prevailed! Social Media may not have been the only reason behind Gap’s 360 about turn, but it certainly mobilised people in to voicing their opinions and speeded up the spread of the “Anti-Gap Logo” movement. To be fair to Gap though, when you are facing such criticism, the only sensible option is to listen to your consumers and fans, as they are the ones buying your product. This will not be the last brand to fall prey to a public lashing via Social Media channels, but hopefully in future brands will learn from the Gap incident. Brands put effort in to building brand love and earning fans, so they shouldn’t be surprised when these fans react when huge changes are made to the brand they love.