Gap Scraps New Logo After Backlash, Revives Blue Box

Gap Inc. abandoned 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 a thousand people left comments on Gap’s Facebook page, a majority of them disparaging.

“We’ve learned a lot in this process,” Marka Hansen, the Gap brand president in North America, said yesterday in an e- mailed statement. “We are clear that we did not go about this in the right way. We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. This wasn’t the right project at the right time for crowd sourcing.”

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.

‘Different Way’

“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 yesterday in an interview. The change will take place starting today, she 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.

“There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way,” Hansen said.

Gap rose 44 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $18.71 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have dropped 11 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at rflinn@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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