Gap's Logo Change - Marketing Campaign Fails #4
Why Didn't It Work?
Following a significant decline in sales due to the 2009 Global Financial Crisis, Gap sought to bring freshness and excitement to the brand by collaborating with New York based creative agency, Laird and Partners to launch a new logo, on October 6, 2010.
Gap’s iconic original logo, which featured a dark blue box featuring ‘Gap’ in a white Serif font, was replaced with the word ‘Gap’ in a black Helvetica font with a small blue box that overlapped the ‘p’. Bill Chandler, Gap’s Vice President at the time described the new logo as a forward-looking, “contemporary, modern expression”, where the inclusion of a small blue box represented a “nod to the past”.
Gap’s new logo was immediately met with backlash from consumers who took to social media to criticise the new design. There were more than 2,000 comments made on Facebook to protest against the new logo, over 5,000 followers were gained on a Twitter account opposing the brand, and a “Make your own Gap logo” site was launched to mock the new design. In response to the harsh backlash, Gap discontinued the new logo and reverted to the original logo within a week of the rebranding launch.
The key takeaway here is the importance of brand recognition. For an iconic clothing brand like Gap, an unanticipated change in logo creates confusion and loss of emotional connection from consumers due to unfamiliarity. Additionally, Gap’s rebrand strategy was particularly unsuccessful as its logo change was made in isolation - it was not made to accompany changes in product offering nor complement changes in company vision, which effectively caused confusion amongst long-time loyal consumers. For these reasons, it is evident that changes in brand logos have enormous impacts on consumer perceptions and brand reputation, and should be considered carefully alongside broader rebranding strategies.
Written by Sena Yanaka and Simone Wei.
Geoghegan, Tom. “Lessons to Be Learnt from the Gap Logo Debacle.” BBC News, 12 Oct. 2010, www.bbc.com/news/magazine-11517129.
The Guardian. “Gap Scraps Logo Redesign after Protests on Facebook and Twitter.” The Guardian, 12 Oct. 2010, www.theguardian.com/media/2010/oct/12/gap-logo-redesign.
Williams, Abigail. “Learning from the Gap Logo Redesign Fail.” The Branding Journal, 22 Apr. 2021, www.thebrandingjournal.com/2021/04/learnings-gap-logo-redesign-fail/.