8 Responses to “Finally, a smart move by the Gap”

  1. Michela October 12, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    Definitely agree with your statement about telling the truth. It’s always hard to admit you’ve done something wrong.

    However, it almost seems that the whole logo debacle was a publicity stunt. How many people blogged, tweeted and conversed about Gap, it’s brand and their new/old logos in the last week? Not the best way to raise awareness and get into the public’s eye, but at the same time, it definitely did get people talking about the company…

  2. dougbrowncreative October 12, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Some say any PR is good PR, but I personally don’t subscribe to that Michela. Publicity is just buzz out there and who wants bad buzz about them. It’s a stink you can’t get rid of. Ask BP.

  3. Jack October 12, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Love that last line :]

  4. dougbrowncreative October 12, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Thanks Jack! I couldn’t find a client who wanted that line in their ad copy, so I used it here. 😉

  5. Design by committee is seldom a good idea. Design by committee in PUBLIC? Well, you do the math…

    Bonus points for this post’s creative use of Photoshop 😉


    – Don

  6. Reg October 12, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Points for Marka Hansen for listening, and responding to, the masses, and in a relatively short time frame — at least it’s not (quite) the “new Coke” debacle that Doug has blogged about before, and we all (?) witnessed 25 years ago: as most recall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke), Coke waited too long to respond to the very negative reaction by eventually reverting to the ‘old’ formula but keeping their new product (note of course the distinction between product and logo in these 2 cases, but the connection to brand is fundamental in both). Not the outcome the Gap desired, but indeed, sounds like there are lessons learned, and their contrition is sincere.

    A couple questions:
    1) What does this mean for branding in general (and yes, I know, a logo does not a brand make…) with respect to the democratization of consumer culture on the internet? Is the Gap logo fiasco an example of ‘going too far’ with opening up one’s brand to consumers, and thus a cautionary tale? Or is it an example of a poorly-managed use of the voice of customer, i.e. could they have gotten it right with this exercise, and if so, how? I honestly don’t know, but I’m curious if anyone has any thoughts on that.

    2) How many, if any, marketing jobs were lost at The Gap because of this? Since we may not know, I’m curious if anyone thinks there should be a job(s) lost over this, given its seriousness, or if it should be a valuable lesson to all in Marketing at the Gap, and that’s enough. [Note that, despite the more protracted firestorm that new Coke engendered, no marketing jobs, at any level, were lost as a result of the launch — see the wikipedia article above for some of the specifics around that].

    Finally, although I agree with you, Doug, that bad buzz is not good PR, I think Michela’s point is relevant to ponder, i.e. whether Gap intended the furor to happen or not — if you read the Wikipedia article on Coke, you’ll note that there was/is some degree of debate as to whether the New Coke launch was an intentional stunt or not, and whether or not it was, if it actually contributed, however unwittingly, to the rebound in sales, including the relaunch of “Coke Classic”.

    Interesting stuff.

  7. dougbrowncreative October 12, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    > Don, while I advocate collaborative ideation, I agree that design by committee will only end in tears. As you can see by the often hilarious results of Gap’s crowd-sourcing exercise, not everyone was born to be a designer or think like one. Thanks for your comment.

    > Well Reg, here’s my guess at your two questions.
    1) The crowd-sourcing solution was reactionary, not premeditated. It seemed like a good idea at the time with the mob baying for blood. If engaging the online community had been used as part of an overall strategy from the beginning, the Gap would never have ended up turning to it as a desperate measure.
    2) Nobody should lose their job in my opinion. We are all trying to figure stuff out in this nascent environment. Failure is the price we pay for trying new things. “Fail often” might be the new mantra of the times. It’s no time for the faint-hearted: the price of failure can be high.

  8. Reg October 12, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Cogent, and succinct, arguments, as always, Doug. Thanks.

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