By Emily Fredrix, Associated Press Marketing Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Gap is back to blue.
The casualwear chain will keep its decades-old white-on-navy blue logo after all. The move comes just one week after the company swapped it online for a new logo without saying a word. The new logo irritated fans, spurring them to complain about it online.
Gap North America president Marka Hansen said in a statement late Monday that the San Francisco-based company realized how much people liked the old logo after they put up the new one, a white background with black letters and a little blue box. She also says Gap didn't handle the change correctly and missed a chance to have shoppers offer input until it was too late.
"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, adding that the project was not the right one to offer up to "crowd sourcing."
Crowd sourcing the new logo, or allowing fans to help design a new one, was the company's original solution to the issue of quelling consumer confusion. Marketers are increasingly letting fans help or fully make decisions, including PepsiCo Inc.'s Doritos brand having fans create and vote on Super Bowl commercials. But a logo change left up to the crowd is much more rare.
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The new logo was still live on the website Monday, one week after the company swapped it in on gap.com. Confused fans took to Twitter, Facebook and tech blogs to complain. The company stood by the new logo, saying it would roll it out in stores and advertising next month.
The company plans to return the original logo to the website on Tuesday and is moving as quickly as it can, spokeswoman Louise Callagy said.
Gap announced the change on its Facebook page, where it has more than 700,000 fans. The old blue logo was never removed from the page.
"We've heard loud and clear that you don't like the new logo. We've learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what's best for the brand and our customers," the company said.
Fans reacted quickly and seemed relieved. One responded: "Thanks for listening. The blue box logo is truly classic. We love it as it is." Others wondered why it was even swapped out in the first place.
Originally the company had wanted the new logo to coincide with what it says was its updated image, including having more modern designs of jeans, pants and other clothing.
The company got itself into a jam by putting out the new logo without explaining the change, said Tony Spaeth, president of Identityworks, a consulting firm in Rye, N.Y. It had a reason for the change, but missed a key chance to share it with fans until it was too late.
Spaeth said he was surprised the company decided so quickly to return to the blue logo, but said it was right to admit it made a mistake both in putting up the logo and then reacting by suggesting fans help with the decision.
Logos are key to brands because they convey meaning and are something fans feel connected to. Spaeth said fans might be appeased now, but investors, competitors, and even potential employees may still be scratching their head that the company made such a mistake with something so important.
There probably will not be much long-term damage to the brand.
"They really were in big trouble," he said. "And now they have some breathing space."
Although fans be warned: The blue box will turn red for the holidays, as it has done for years.