Friday, October 15, 2010

TOUCHDOWN- A GAP GAFFE? NOPE!

This week's perspective by Bob Reid:


Consumers by and large don’t like surprises, even if it involves a brand they’re not consuming like they used to. So it was not unexpected that The Gap stores would take a mall-full of heat for unexpectedly changing the long-established “blue box” logo that has become a contemporary retail icon, swapping it on The Gap’s corporate website for a new, rounder font (Helvetica, actually) with a small blue box grafted on the end of the ‘p.’ Gap fans went nuts on the company’s Facebook page, denouncing the move and crying out for the blue box to be brought back. Initially, Gap North America President Marka Hansen defended the move, hanging tough in an op-ed published on the Huffington Post website which read remarkably like a sales pitch. She wrote of the “evolution” of the Gap brand, in “products such as the 1969 premium denim and and the new black pants, and more modern stores in many locations.” She acknowledged the “passionate outpouring” from customers, and pledged to engage them in the dialogue – with details to follow. However, shortly after, Hansen said in a statement that “we did not go about this the right way. We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. This wasn’t the right project at the right time for crowd sourcing.” A PR blunder? An embarrassing reversal? I think not. Sure they riled some geeks, but suddenly a company that has seen sales slipping since 2005 was big news, with passions aflame about its logo for crying out loud – and without making a single change to a store or garment. Shades of New Coke, which prompted a global outcry to save “Classic Coke” and unleashed a torrent of media play and pop culture (pardon the pun) passion for another moribund brand.

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