Did Gap just learn that no good tweet goes unpunished?
The recent and still undecided presidential election was one of the most contentious races in modern U.S. history. Even before the voting was done, there were some politicos and pundits talking about the need for whomever won the election to try and heal the deep divisions within American society.
The marketers at the Gap apparently agreed with that olive branch sentiment and sought to get a head start with a Twitter post of a hoodie, half blue and half red, with the caption: “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward.”
Reaction to the tweet, much of it negative, was swift. The retailer deleted the tweet within a couple of hours of its posting. The photo of the hoodie, as it turns out, was not of an actual item for sale, but just imagery to support an aspirational message.
“From the start we have been a brand that bridges the gap between individuals, cultures and generations,” said a Gap company statement published by The New York Times. “The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity. It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all.”
In a speech given yesterday by Joe Biden, the Democratic Party presidential nominee offered a similar message to the retailers.
“I know how deep and hard the opposing views are in our country on so many things,” said Mr. Biden. “But I also know this as well. To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies. What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart.”
Mr. Biden’s belief that the rifts within American society can be healed will be tested in the days ahead as misinformation is spread about the election’s integrity and as the Trump campaign seeks to stop vote counting in the remaining states that are trending in favor of his opponent. Mr. Trump sought to declare victory after the polls closed but was widely rebuffed for trying to rhetorically circumvent the electoral process.
Gap’s social misstep follows an announcement last month that it plans to significantly cut its store count, primarily in malls, and focus even more on its digital business going forward.
- Gap widely mocked for tweet depicting half-blue, half-red sweatshirt. – The New York Times
- Gap sparks outrage over posting half-blue, half-red hoodie amid heated election – CNBC
- Twitter fail: Gap deletes political hoodie tweet after backlash – PRWeek
- Biden: We believe when the count is finished we’ll be the winner (video) – CNN
- Joe Biden Speech as Presidential Vote Count Continues (transcript) – Rev
- Can Gap prosper without mall stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that Gap made a social media mistake with its unity hoodie tweet? Should Gap do something now, beyond its removal of the tweet and the company statement, to address this apparent misstep?