I just wrote last week about the Frito-Lay Sun Chips packaging debacle here. I was aghast then, and I’m even more agog today about the Gap logo debacle that has made these two Fortune companies laughing stock.
What is happening to corporate America that permits their caving to public social media outcry about a green potato chip bag or a new corporate identity?
After four days of online whipping about its brand identity developed by an agency, Gap has pulled its brand new logo in favor of the old, archaic logo we’ve seen for decades. Blog posts, Facebook and Twitter accounts have been in an uproar about Gap’s newly designed logo. I just saw a post saying proudly, “Twitter responsible for Gap logo demise!”
I’m not doing my research to provide you with all the wonderful statistics on how long the Gap logo has been around, how much money people are wasting, what the comments have been and how many in social media circles, etc. because I don’t care, and I didn’t read the four days worth of posts on this topic. It wasn’t my business to tell Gap its new logo was ugly and stood for nothing.
Where I will spend some time making it my business is these two corporations on the heels of one another making jokes out of themselves while taking social networks for a free ride. The publicity each has garnered, while not positive, could not have been bought by advertisers. Our valuable time thinking about these mistakes was wasted, too.
What’s more shocking, is that it appears RESEARCH IS DEAD. It’s not public relations that’s dead; it’s not customer service that’s dead; it is truly research that’s dead.
Had Gap and Frito-Lay done its research in more than just the typical traditional way (focus groups?) and launched social media contests to vote on the bag or logo Facebookers liked best, then they would be assured of no backlash.
You know the People’s Choice Awards? You know American Idol and how they select the winner? Consumers VOTE – that’s the American way. We vote to garner popular consensus (although the winner doesn’t always win in politics).
So, don’t cry, corporate America, over your lost dollars to develop stupid packaging and branding campaigns if you’re not going to take your stupid packaging and branding campaigns to social media prior to going to market. It’s clear you don’t understand social media; otherwise, you would not be in this predicament, Frito-Lay and Gap, with egg on your faces.
This is an astonishing fail and does not reflect well on any of us in the world of marketing, public relations, advertising, or social media. The dynamic has shifted? Indeed.