If there's a pair of shoes I'd rather not be in, it would be those of Marka Hansen's, Gap's North American president. This lady, who has held six senior executive titles in Gap since 1995, is now defending the brand's latest venture- its new logo.
The American giant unveiled its new image this week on numerous sites, including its official webpage and Facebook, creating a revolution amongst its fans. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Hansen states Gap wants to be “more relevant to its customers”, with an evolution reflected on its products. “The natural step for us in this journey is to see how our logo – one that we’ve had for more than 20 years – should evolve. Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that. We chose this design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.”
Some of the feedback on the Huffington Post article has been:
“Your new ‘logo’ looks like it was designed in PowerPoint.”
“Looks like a logo for a paper company.”
“Dear Marka, please fire the Marketing firm!”
“It. Is. Awful. Helvetica is an iconic font, yes. But with that square over the 'p', it's so distracting and annoying; I want to move it with my hand. Reminds me that it should be called Gapº or Gap Squared or something...”
Hansen defended the initiative and took the opportunity to say: “Now, given the passionate outpouring from customers that followed, we’ve decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap.”
The company posted this message on Facebook:
“Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas.”
What did people reply to this?
“I only became a fan to make this comment. I am APPALLED that you are crowd sourcing designers for a new logo. It degrades the work that designers do and makes actually paying for good design work seem like a thing of the past. And to all designers that are trying to do a logo... shame on you! A "contest" to design a logo means you are being taken for granted. I will never shop at Gap again.”
“Your new logo does not go with the classic designs you sell. “
“Are you a multi-million dollar clothing chain or a used car lot?”
“The new design looks cold, uninviting, and takes the luxury out of the brand.”
“Fire your design agency. Seriously. Then take that money and put it into product design.”
“Microsoft would do well to leverage the fact that GAP's new logo was done in MS Paint.”
And my favorite:
“You execute something that uninspired and then ask for another one for free?”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
I’m amazed on how they practically “threw” away 20 years of brand equity and recognition. The box has been main icon and symbol, and this new logo has decreased and almost eliminated its protagonist presence almost entirely in the new image. I am surprised the change was not subtle, which leaves me to infer that the drastic and controversial change must have been solely performed with the purpose of creating controversy and subsequent interest, hence drawing attention to the brand. Perhaps a social media concoction in order to generate buzz around the brand before the holiday season.
However, in view of the comments and opinions I’ve read throughout the Internet, all I can say is that it's creating negative association and confusion. “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Yes, but caution. It attracts attention, without a doubt, but it is also a very risky decision affecting not only the perception, but also the identity and feelings toward the brand. If it is in fact a hoax, intended to generate attention with the purpose of later changing it back, how would customers feel? Tricked? Taken advantage of? Just how far can you take a PR stunt?
I suppose in time we’ll see how this plays out. What do you guys think?