By Ali Khimji
Following a change of logo, Gap was faced with a mass online protest over its decision. More than 2,000 comments appeared on the company’s Facebook page, and 5,000 people became followers of an anti-Gap logo Twitter account. But those pale in comparison to the 14,000 parody logos that appeared on another website.
However, there is an air of ‘publicity stunt’ around this, as Gap didn’t bother updating any of its merchandise to reflect the change.
This isn’t the first time that a company has attempted to develop a new brand, and some were more successful than others. Apple dropped the multi-coloured apple for a silver one back in 1998, and Google even had an exclamation mark attached to its logo for a few months around the same time. More recently, Tropicana put a picture of a glass of orange juice on its cartons in the US which was quickly changed back.
There is one lesson to be learnt here; the people truly do have power. The fact that a multi-million dollar company had to back down to the outcry of several thousand people, can speak volumes to the hidden activist within.
There are further examples of the strength of consumer power. In 2007, Masterfoods announced that it would start using rennet in its products. But a campaign by the Vegetarian Society urged people to complain to the company, local media and MPs. More than 6,000 e-mails and calls were received by Masterfoods, and 40 MPs signed a petition.
Let’s also not forget the Anti-Apartheid Movement that started in 1959 with a consumer boycott of South African goods. This led to the exclusion of South Africa from the Olympics and further economic sanctions. Today, there are boycotts of Israeli goods known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.