great matters


Gap's brand launch turned fiasco

// October 25, 2010 // Advertising // 1 Comment

Unless you’ve been sequestered in a location void of media access, you’re probably aware of the recent Gap logo flip flop branding fiasco. But, the launch, relaunch or however you want to view this has many layers.

Let’s rewind a few weeks.

Gap unveils a “new” logo to aid their goal of positioning themselves as a more “contemporary and current” brand. However, the new logo features Helvetica, which is often thought of by design professionals as a “bland, over-used font.” Numerous websites stated the logo was reflective of something a child might create.

The kindergarten comparison was just the beginning of “logo-gate.” Critics not only hated the design but they questioned the rationale behind the brand switch. Why all the fuss? Very rarely does a company abandon their established, identifiable logo in the hopes customers will like the “new one.” Why confuse shoppers and ask them to identify with a new icon? Bad brand etiquette.

As if the new logo and switch wasn’t awkward enough, the roll out of the icon added yet another piece to the launch fiasco puzzle. The new icon appeared on Gap’s website with no information or preceding announcement (giving critics room to question it’s validity and realness). And, if you’re still keeping score the unusual branding tactics continued.

Amid post launch criticism, the brand’s Facebook page asked customers to submit their best Gap logo design in an attempt to induce “crowd sourcing.” The Facebook post read, “we love our version but we’d like to see other ideas.” Could the social media outreach really be just a way to cover up a failed launch? Of course critics jumped on Gap’s crowd sourcing technique as design traditionalists lamented Gap would dilute their brand if they allowed thoughtless, researchless work to represent them.

And, if you’re still following (and keeping score at home) the controversy took another interesting turn when Gap suddenly reverted back to their original logo and abandoned the new brand launch. The whole fiasco left critics and fashionistas asking, “Was this all a branding hoax?” Or, was it just big misuse of funds and efforts?

While we all wait to see how the “logo fiasco” impacts sales, you can create your own “logo” via the crap logo generator in case you really ARE a fan of Helvetica.

    author bio

    Trackbacks for this post

    1. GAP’s Midlife Crisis : PRSSA San Diego State University