Last Monday Gap unveiled an updated version of its company logo. Exactly one week later, Marka Hansen, President of Gap Brand North America announced the abandonment of the new logo and the triumphant return of the original iconic blue box design. Barely out of the gate and the new logo was squashed. So what happened in the last seven days that compelled Gap to abruptly change its mind? In large part, an extraordinary level of social media backlash.
On October 4th Gap revealed its new logo on Gap.com. According to company spokesperson Louise Callagy, the logo was intended to signify the Gap’s transition from “classic, American design to modern, sexy, cool.” However, customers, fans, and designers interpreted the logo as none of the above. Rather, the general response was one of harsh criticism and disapproval. For instance, fashion boutique, Refinery 29, compared the logo to “that awkward cap-sleeved tee with the rhinestone letters you find while thrift shopping that’s neither vintage nor new, but definitely not cool.” But the fashion experts would be the least of Gap’s worries. Waves of upset fans expressed their disdain on Twitter and one especially disgruntled fan gave birth to the satirical Gap Logo Twitter account. As you can imagine, the results were not pretty.
On October 6th, in an attempt to stem the flow of negative feedback, Gap encouraged Facebook users to submit their own logo design ideas as potential replacements. However, this crowdsourcing initiative was quickly terminated after Facebook users posted over 1000 comments in response to the project, the majority of them negative. Yesterday, Gap’s Facebook page read “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.”
Score: Gap supporters 1, Gap zero. Although Gap’s final decision cannot be completely attributed to fans’ social media activism, it undeniably played an integral role. Gap customers spoke and Gap listened. Gap had no choice, but to listen. By developing a Twitter and Facebook presence and delving in to the world of social media marketing, Gap made a conscious decision to partake in the two-way-street known as social engagement. Engagement is what they wanted and engagement is what they got (in this case, more than they bargained for). But this is the beauty of social media. The average consumer can voice their opinion and be heard.
Although Gap’s plans for the new logo have ultimately been thwarted, in the end, Gap will be better for it. In Monday’s press release President Hansen asserted that “At Gap brand, our customers have always come first” and it’s clear that she meant it.