Gap has issued a response to the "Made in USA" vs "Really Made in China" labeling on its holiday collection, a story that brandchannel broke yesterday:
"We regret any misunderstanding caused about Gap’s line of FEED USA bags. There are several bags in the FEED USA collection. The FEED USA Canvas Tote bag and the limited edition one-of-a-kind Bandana Bag are both made in the USA. However, the FEED USA Denim Bucket bags are made in China, and should not have been connected to the Made in the USA signs. The tags in the bags are labeled correctly. The signage in the store is incorrect. We are removing the store signage and our website is being updated. We apologize for any inaccurate messaging. We are proud of our FEED USA partnership. Gap donates $5 toward FEED USA’s school lunch program for each bag sold."
Indeed, the denim bucket bag in question is no longer for sale on Gap.com's FEED USA holiday store.
As Abe Sauer's story pointed out (based on a tip from brandchannel reader Tom Martin, who spotted the disconnect and uploaded his pix online), the point isn't the worthiness of FEED USA or the holiday campaign.
It's about misleading labeling, and the disconnect between Gap's messaging and merchandising, particularly in a high-profile holiday and corporate social responsibility initiative.
As its year-end corporate citizenship effort, this confusion represents just one (high-profile, given Lauren Bush's connection) element, and a patriotic one at that, within Gap's broader holiday campaign.
By literally stamping a "Made in USA" mark on bags and signage, when the merchandise labels clearly show at least part of the collection is not, shows the need to make sure messaging and design are aligned. Customers will notice, or at least be confused, and share.
We certainly hope Gap's not-for-profit partners in its holiday campaign, including the Feed Project (which runs FEED USA), max out their donations through customer purchases this season — reaching the $100,000 total that Gap has committed for the charitable giving connected to this campaign. And kudos to Gap for being big enough to respond and own up.