Earlier this week, Gap unveiled a new logo on its website. Gone were the white letters on a blue background. In their place was an oddly amateurish effort that looks like a placeholder for a B2B e-commerce startup in stealth mode, or as a designer put it, "like somebody took Microsoft's PowerPoint and kind of did it in five minutes flat."
Long-time brand adherents were appalled. And emerging from the PR wreckage came two new Twitter accounts, both created within hours of the logo's unveiling: @GapLogo and @OldGapLogo. Both Tweet as the voices of the respective logos. No, really.
The new logo says things like, "Lego, the office pitbull, has been staring at the logo since yesterday afternoon. I think he's finally seeing unicorns. Someone alert R&D." The old logo says things like, "Laying low. Weekend in NYC with other tasteful classic logos" and tweets links to the Harvard Business Review. The accounts even seemed to have spawned a third one, @JennatheIntern, who (the joke goes) just cries a lot.
@GapLogo already has thousands of followers, and Gap's PR people were forced to tell Ad Age that they were "tracking" the parody accounts. It's a little reminiscent of @BPGlobalPR's brilliant and profane skewering of BP's efforts in the Gulf, though less savage and serious.
We live in odd times. It used to be that creating whole constellations of imaginary characters with distinctive voices was reserved for schizophrenics, novelists and difficult Portugese poets like Fernando Pessoa. When I see these Twitter personae, Pessoa's "heteronyms," his dozens of interrelated characters, spring to mind (although I'm sure he'd be horrified at that).
But that was a whole different kind of project. What's the offline corollary for the Twitter parody plays? Is there one?
Or as @OldGapLogo unintentionally posed the deeper question in goading Gap corporate: "@gap I'm a twitter account for a logo and people are writing me to tell me they love me. What's that tell you?"