This post is part of the People’s Insights monthly briefs issue of January 2014.
In November 2013, Gap launched the #MakeLove holiday campaign featuring a diverse range of artists including filmmaker Quentin Jones and Sikh designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia. The ‘culturally inclusive’ campaign attracted a lot of praise from the Indian-American Sikh community and media watchers– but also a fair share of racist comments and hate graffiti.
When writer Arsalan Iftikhar (@TheMuslimGuy on Twitter) came across one of the defaced ads in a New York subway, he tweeted a photo of it to his 37,000 followers. Within 24 hours, Gap’s social media team noticed the tweet and took action.
Gap did three things: asked Iftikhar for the location of the ad, sent out a team to replace the defaced ad, and – the cherry on the top – changed its Twitter header image to the Waris Ahluwalia ad.
People noticed immediately, and praised Gap for its quick response and for standing up against racism. Gap witnessed a jump in its number of Twitter followers for a few days and an even stronger loyalty from the Sikh community. The community created a Facebook page called Thank You Gap (now “Portraits of Sikhs”) and curated photos of Sikhs wearing Gap clothing, modelling in the same pose as the Waris Ahluwalia ad, and standing next to the ad at Gap stores, as well as individual member’s thoughts on the #MakeLove campaign.
By acting proactively and staying true to its campaign message, Gap ensured conversation around its brand remained positive. As The Globe and Mail’s Susan Krashinsky points out, “being quick and offering up a genuine, human response can pay dividends.”
However, no brand campaign is an island. Gap’s 15 minutes of social media fame also attracted social media activists, eager to draw attention to the brand’s stand on the Accord on Factory and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Gap refused to sign the accord – which holds brands to maintain minimum safety conditions at factories that product their clothing – following the tragic factory collapse in Bangladesh earlier in 2013.
100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects – that are driving engagement with stakeholders – on the MSLGROUP Insights Network. Every month, we pick the best projects and analyse conversations around them, on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself and also on the broader social web, into an insights report. Every quarter, we compile original insights from the MSLGROUP global network into the People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine.
In our first year and half, we focused on inspiring consumer projects around social data, crowdsourcing, storytelling and citizenship. We synthesized the insights to provide foresights for business leaders and change-makers in the ten-part People’s Insights annual report titled Now & Next: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement, also available as a Kindle eBook and an iPad app.
In 2013, we launched “The Future of” series with a focus on Citizenship, Money and Employee (Re)Engagement. In 2014, we continue to track inspiring projects that are shaping the future of engagement, with a focus on reputation, employee engagement and citizenship.