Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gap's logo flap: "New Coke" reprised?

The Christian Scientist Monitor began its story on the "The Gap" logo matter:

In a remarkable testament to the power of social networks, Gap withdrew its proposed redesign after Gap customers and online fans slammed the new Gap logo — as clearly and rapidly as only the Internet makes possible. More than a thousand negative comments had been posted to Gap's Facebook site, and @Gaplogo had its own Twitter stream to lambaste the fashion giant for daring to change the iconic "blue box" logo.

The online outpouring worked. Just one week after Gap introduced its Helvetica-round logo, it rescinded it with an online mea culpa.

[from New Gap logo withdrawn: The 'blue box' lives on ]

A blog at The Telegraph saw even deeper significance in a post Take that, Malcolm Gladwell. Twitter just got the Gap logo back :

Here’s one in the eye for Malcolm Gladwell. The New Yorker’s big-haired, big-brained and big-mouthed columnist argued in a recent article that ‘the revolution will not be Tweeted’.

Well now, Gap has gone back on plans to revamp its logo, thanks to pressure from Twitter and Facebook. Oh yeah – social media brought the Wispa back, it got Rage Against the Machine to number one in the music charts and now it’s taken on the High Street. And Malcolm thinks social media can’t bring social change. Tsk tsk.

Was this the power of Twitter and Facebook, or just a great plan for publicity from The Gap? "New Coke" revisited?

In other news, on the WalMart front:

Walmart has rolled back its rollbacks. Earlier this year, the retailer tried to spark sluggish U.S. sales by lowering its prices - already bargains - even further. One analyst called it "an initiative that screams: Price! Price! Price!" These rollbacks, as they are known in Walmartspeak and in the company's advertising, were intended to overwhelm the shopper. In May, according to one shopping website, the price of a 40-oz. bottle of Heinz ketchup, which had been $2.42, was chopped to $1. Kraft mac and cheese, which had been going for $3.58, was reduced to $2.50. The rollback of a 50-oz. bottle of Tide laundry detergent, which was priced in the $7.48-$8.12 range, gave shoppers a $2.50 discount. Walmart expected a flood of customers to its stores, which would help lift the company's stock out of its rut and get Walmart rolling again.

Instead, cutting prices depressed sales, as shoppers took the bargains and ran. For the quarter ending July 31, Walmart's U.S. same-store sales fell 1.8%. The company's same-store sales have now fallen for five straight quarters. Of the rollback strategy, Bill Simon, the president and CEO of Walmart U.S., told investors at a September conference, "It did not do what we had hoped it would do. It did, however, drive price perception. It did not drive sales or traffic." As a result, Walmart rolled back the deeper discounts, and prices started inching upward this summer.

WalMart was surprised. Was The Gap surprised? What benefit was anticipated from displacing the old mark?

The WalMart text is from Walmart Rolls Back Rollbacks: Food Prices at Two-Year High

**See also
Wal-Mart Sees Small Stores in Big Cities :

The retailer first will test their urban appeal with 30 to 40 stores over the next few years before a full-scale launch.

The move is an about-face for Wal-Mart. At the start of the recession, it focused on attracting more middle-class customers who were "trading down" to discount stores by remodeling to feature neater aisles, fashionable clothing, and eye-grabbing discounts on fewer items.

But Wal-Mart now admits the gambit alienated many of the blue-collar customers who had made it a retail behemoth in the first place. So after shuffling executives, the company is hurriedly restoring the ungainly pallets of merchandise to its center-store aisles and reworking its marketing strategy to emphasize the "every day low prices" formula that the company's late founder Sam Walton made famous.

"Sometimes we will try things, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't," Chief Executive Mike Duke said. "Getting back to every day low price across a wide assortment of products is really the right approach."


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