You never really know what will get social-media marketing chatter going. Film directors getting kicked off planes, for one, or that Old Spice Man sensation. This week, it was when retailer The Gap--which has lately been getting loads of positive digital press for its use of Groupon and Foursquare--unveiled a complete revamp of its iconic logo, and everybody freaked out. More specifically, they seemed to think it was the worst idea since New Coke.
"Gap" became a trending topic on Twitter, as design- and branding-savvy Twitterers (as well as those who just like to voice an opinion on everything) proclaimed their distaste for the new logo. A set of individuals referring to themselves as "The Randian Preservation Society" went so far as to launch a site called Crap Logo Yourself, in which you could put any text into the style of the new Gap logo, playfully asking, "Why hire an expensive firm to rebrand?"
Someone else created a fake Twitter account, @GapLogo, with the tagline "I have feelings too, jerks" and tweets like "American Apparel had some spare letters on clearance" and "FINE. I wanted to sit on this for a while but I can't keep it a secret any longer. The blue square is a scratch-n-sniff. Go ahead, try it."
The new insignia is certainly different. In the old, well-established logo, the company name is spelled out in a white serif font against a navy blue square background. The new logo relegates that iconic blue square to the upper-right corner, with the company name in the Helvetica font that's been all over Gap ads lately--and also, many have pointed out, those of trendier (and by some accounts, already-passe) retailer American Apparel. "New @gap logo is just American Apparel's logo with a dumb gradient box like someone was playing around with Photoshop for the first time," Twitter user @jordandroid griped.
Considering Gap's proclivities toward social media use in recent months, the company sort of had to acknowledge the uproar. "Thanks for the logo buzz!" the company posted to Twitter. "After 20+ years, it's time for a change. We like the new one, but want to see your ideas."
Indeed, on its Facebook page it's soliciting suggestions, which of course requires stomaching comments like "the only thing that could make the new logo worse is if you had used Comic Sans...or Papyrus," and leading one AdWeek columnist to wonder whether the entire thing was a stunt in which Gap drummed up publicity by designing an intentionally bad logo in order to kick off the hunt for a "crowdsourced" replacement. A Gap executive has publicly denied this conspiracy theory.
Still, there's a silver lining either way: "Actually, Gap should be thrilled that so many people care about their logo," read a tweet from Webby Awards chief David-Michel Davies.