Gap withdraws redesigned logo

SAN FRANCISCO — Gap Inc. has aborted a new logo after consumer criticism and will revert to the blue-square emblem that has been featured in its marketing for more than 20 years.

The clothing retailer released a redesigned logo on its website Oct. 4 and had planned to roll it out in marketing campaigns starting next month. More than 1,000 people left comments on Gap's Facebook page, a majority of them disparaging.

"We are clear that we did not go about this in the right way," Marka Hansen, the Gap brand president in North America, said in an e-mailed statement. "We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community."

The new logo set the Gap name against a white backdrop, with a blue square in the upper-right corner. Gap, which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta, has been updating its clothing lines and stores to appeal to so-called Millennials — consumers in their 20s and early 30s. The logo change was part of that evolution of the brand from "classic, American design to modern, sexy, cool," Louise Callagy, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Gap, said last week.

Two days after the logo release, Gap responded to the outcry on its Facebook page, welcoming design suggestions and calling it a crowd-sourcing project.

"We've learned just how much energy there is around our brand, and after much thought, we've decided to go back to our iconic blue box logo," Callagy said.

Chief executive officer Glenn Murphy has focused on the Gap brand since he joined the company three years ago, part of a bid to revive growth. Sales at Gap stores in North America open at least a year have declined six straight months, including a 1 percent drop in September, while Old Navy and Banana Republic have made gains this year. The parent company hasn't increased annual sales since fiscal 2005.

Other packaging controversies

. tropicana: In a $35 million redesign of its Tropicana orange juice carton in January 2009, PepsiCo removed the familiar straw protruding from an orange in favor of juice in a clear glass against a white background. Consumers complained, and Tropicana buckled and brought back the old logo.

. SUNCHIPS : Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo, introduced early this year a 100 percent compostable package for its multigrain snack. Consumers ridiculed the noisy packaging on YouTube and social-networking sites. Sales tumbled, and Frito-Lay said it will remove most of the biodegradable packages.

Gap withdraws redesigned logo 10/12/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:01pm]

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