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truth in advertising

Gap Made In the USA Campaign: Made In China

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 15, 2010 01:12 PM

Apparently unfulfilled with the abuse the brand has already received in 2010, Gap has again put its reputation on the discount rack.

It seems the promotional materials for Gap's holiday anti-hunger FEED campaign (the glitzy charity founded by presidential niece and future Ralph Lauren daughter-in-law, Lauren Bush) don't match up with the actual materials.

As can be seen in the photo above (snapped by Thomas Martin, via imgur), Gap invites shoppers to "buy these limited edition bags and we'll donate $5 to our nation's school lunch programs." Topping off the patriotic promotion is a "Made in USA" logo on the bags and in-store signage.

The only problem: the limited edition bags are made in China, as indicated on the tag, circled above. The timing couldn't be worse, coming as Gap launches Project Reindeer, a social media-driven five-day holiday marketing push. Check out Bush's Gap ad for FEED after the jump.

Bush, a model turned co-founder of FEED Projects, is one of a number of quasi-celebrities in the Gap Want holiday campaign this year, in which they don seasonal garb and promote a charity to receive a donation from Gap for each "like" on its Facebook app. Here's her pitch for FEED:

Update: thanks to Huffington Post for spotting and picking up this story — and interesting to see that 75% of respondents so far in its poll said this mislabeling would lead them not to buy the bag, which is a shame (as a commenter notes below) for FEED and Gap. What do you think?

Update2: Click here for Gap's response.


Laureen United States says:

A well-intentioned campaign, to be sure; but what's that old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? I actually stopped by a Gap store today to check the bags to see if this is the case - yes, sadly, this is true.

Surely the Gap's graphic design dept. would check that the bags were "Made in USA" before, you know, slapping that logo on the bags. Or check the tags! Especially after already being pilloried in the court of public opinion with the pushback on the logo...

Also a shame for Lauren Bush and Feed charity, which I'm sure does worthy work...

December 16, 2010 03:30 AM #

Name United States says:

I like charities and I appreciate that GAP is participating in one. However, there are a lot of charities out there to choose from. I don't mind skipping purchases from GAP due to their dishonesty in this case and giving to another charity instead.

December 16, 2010 10:03 AM #

Danny Brown Canada says:

Let me get this right - GAP are being criticized for feeding hungry kids, just because of where a bag's made? Come on, guys, get some perspective.

December 16, 2010 11:53 AM #

S. Brady (editor, brandchannel) United States says:

Not at all, Danny — just for mislabeling these bags as "made in USA" when they're made in China. Sounds like a disconnect between the design and marketing departments, but someone should have caught on such a high-profile (holiday) campaign!

December 16, 2010 12:20 PM #

Danny Brown Canada says:

Agreed. My bad, sorry - I came here from PR Week and they labeled it as another huge PR disaster for GAP, so made it sound a lot worse. Sorry! Smile

December 16, 2010 12:31 PM #

Justene United States says:

It's all in the advertising, spin it: the BAGS aren't made in the USA, the LUNCHES are

December 16, 2010 12:47 PM #

Kathryn Canada says:

This "PR Debacle" doesn't even compare to their real PR issue -- media around the world have been broadcasting that a fire at a Bangladeshi garment factory that killed dozens was actually a "Gap" factory that pays people only $25 a month and has terrible conditions.

A much bigger brand problem in my opinion!

December 16, 2010 01:10 PM #

M United States says:

I guess I am missing where the tag on the bag says "made in the USA." I only see a tag that says "Feed USA."  And, agreeing with Justene, the instore signage doesn't say "these bags are made in the USA" -- I took the implication of "Made in the USA" there to be that it was supporting lunch programs in the states. Again, a matter of how you want to interpret it. Quite honestly, to me it feels like making an issue out of something that is a non-issue. Don't buy the bag. Just give your $5 straightout to FEED.

December 16, 2010 01:59 PM #

S. Brady (editor, brandchannel) United States says:

On the signage & the bags, we're referring to the round mark (resembling a rubber stamp) that says "MADE IN USA" -- on the bag, you can see it under the words "FEED USA" -- http://gap.us/hXaj4N

And of course, people can give directly to FEED (and other charities near and dear to their hearts). In fact, Gap is capping the total amount it's giving to its non-profits partners participating in this holiday 2010 campaign to $100K.

December 16, 2010 02:09 PM #

truthisneeded United States says:

Thanks but Huffington Post sucks. They dont play by their own rules. They have paranoid censors on staff who think that everybody who criticizes Israel is anti-semitic, and everyone who criticizes Obama or any African-American is the devil or anyone who criticizes Obama disaster Harvard Economist team and his scam pro rich tax gift policy are bad. They are against freedom of speech when it is convenient to them.

December 17, 2010 02:12 AM #

Tihomir Petrov Bulgaria says:

It's very strange how so big company made such a mistake.

December 17, 2010 02:38 AM #

George Davis United States says:

Whoever was in charge of this should be fired. How Lames.

However whoever got Oakley sunglasses onto the Chilean miners should get a BIG $$$ Christmas Bonus! Know what I'm talking about?

Marcom can be so much BS, but good Marcom is a thing of beauty.


December 17, 2010 09:27 AM #

Paul Evans United States says:

First the logo debacle, then the Foursquare Free Jeans screw up, now this? C'mon GAP ... somebody in PR is asleep at the wheel. You do know The Devil is in The Details right?

December 17, 2010 11:59 AM #

A Sauer United States says:

I'm sure Forusquare would want it to be noted that it was "Facebook Places," not Foursquare, that was involved in the Gap jeans thing. But you couldn't be more right about Gap re: details.

December 19, 2010 05:53 PM #

Page One SEO Canada says:

For Gap the big issue is the PR damage, but for the US, the bigger issue is the continual shipping of jobs offshore. If the US hadn't let China keep its currency pegged at such an undervalued level, there wouldn't be such an issue with hungry children in the US.

The continual erosion of the middle class in the US (and in Canada) means less of a market for the GAP in the future. On the other hand, if you've read Jeff Rubin's book "Why your world is about to get a whole lot smaller" you might believe that we will start seeing manufacturing coming back to North America.

December 17, 2010 01:50 PM #

Comments are closed

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