Now that Gap has gone back to its old logo, can we all agree that this was a publicity stunt? After seeing how everything unfolded, there is no doubt that this was a well-strategized and executed plan. Gap is one of the most recognizable and reliable brands in retail. As consistent as their company is, it is difficult for a brand to come up with a story or change that creates a new buzz surrounding their brand. In came the change to their classic Gap logo.
While everyone was bashing Gap for the change and creating false Twitter accounts, I can’t help but picture Gap and the PR team who put this into play sitting back, laughing, and watching their plan take form. Regardless of the opinions being expressed, all publicity was great publicity for Gap Inc. Their brand exploded virally over night.
After analyzing this situation, there are a couple aspects that stood out to me that tell me that this was a publicity stunt. First, look at the timing of the “logo change.” We are in the middle of fall (the high season of fashion) and rapidly approaching the holiday season. Gap is always consistent during this time, but now when people start to hit the mall as the weather changes and presents need to be bought, the Gap name is more than fresh in their minds.
Second, the new Gap logo is hardly new. As I realized today while putting on a Gap button down shirt of mine, Gap clothing has had the new Helvetica font on their tags for longer than I thought. The only difference was that the tags stayed true to the navy background. People were up in arms over a big change when it had technically been there all along. (Thanks to Jason Mollica for also pointing the logo out)
Now that Gap has officially stated that they will be sticking with the old logo, I must say job well done. They created as much as buzz as the company has ever seen in one week without having to change their product, store, or brand. Other than being seen online, I am fairly certain that the new logo was never printed anywhere.
Gap Inc. and the PR team behind this understood the power of social media and the Internet. They created the conversation around their brand. As PR people and communicators, we must understand the power of conversation and what it can do for a brand. Creating the conversation may take sacrifice and controversy, but once the conversation has been started, there’s no telling how far it may go in social media.
I love Gap’s consistency, but now they have added a whole new aspect by making themselves a tech savvy and socially conscious brand. They are either geniuses for the publicity stunt or they are smart for listening to their customer’s demands for the old logo. Either way, Gap is sure to benefit from this, and will be an even larger player in the holiday market. Christmas come early for Gap’s PR.