Where Brain Science and Marketing Meet
26 Comments
  1. Alexandre
    Twitter: alexbigaiski
    says

    This is a great article. Thanks for this furthering information about this case. I don’t like the new logo too, as the most of people.

  2. Emily Lopatofsky
    Twitter: emilylopatofsky
    says

    I’ve read a lot about the epic fail of Gap’s new logo.

    Okay so everyone makes mistakes but what if the mistake was planned? So much free hype about Gap AND they showed consumers that their input is important to the company by ditching the new logo. Gap is dumb for the new logo or are they smart for a planned media uproar?

    Thanks for the insight!!

  3. Naomi Niles
    Twitter: NaomiNiles
    says

    As a designer (although not a logo designer), I can agree with most of the assessment. I think the biggest flaw of all though is that it just looks cheap in general. The gradient is tacky (light source from the lower left? what?) and it just doesn’t look well thought out.

    That’s an interesting theory though that it might have been a planned mistake. Of course, then we can get into another discussion. Is negative publicity really good publicity in the end?

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      Naomi, I think one could argue that the publicity is GOOD if it makes the company look like it is listening to its customers (as Emily points out). People will forget the (apparent) boneheaded logo mistake and remember the warm & fuzzy, customer-oriented behavior.

      I agree the gradient is a weird choice, particularly since it won’t reproduce well in embroidery (likely important if you are in apparel). This logo reminds me so much of the cheesy, generic logos offered by cheap design firms – put the company name in a modern font & add a gradient sphere or perhaps ahttps://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=2366&approved=1#comments-form swoosh. (What logo isn’t twice as good if you add a swoosh?)

      Roger

  4. hettie says

    “Overlays Equal Overlooked: Neuroscience research reveals that when words overlay images, the brain tends to ignore or overlook the word in favor of focusing on the image. “In the new logo, the ‘p’ superimposed over the blue square is essentially bypassed by the brain; the brain tends to ignore the word in favor of the image. Not a good thing when that’s your brand name.”

    so what about the findings of the stroop test?

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      Hettie, the Stroop test looked at words printed in color, while Dr. Pradeep’s comment referred to superimposing text on a graphic element (in this case partially on top of a colored gradient box). In addition, the differences in processing observed by Stroop occurred when the text didn’t match the color of the text, e.g., “red” was written in blue ink.

      Thanks for stopping by and reminding me of that classic paper!

      Roger

  5. Dave says

    Great article. This logo is like a bad version of the Geberit logo http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/thumb/c/ca/Geberit-Logo.svg/800px-Geberit-Logo.svg.png

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      Dave, I agree there is some similarity. I think it reminds me of another logo from a pharma or industrial firm, but I can’t place it. Or, maybe the generic quality of the new logo just makes me think I’ve seen a similar one.

      Roger

  6. hettie says

    thanks for your reply, Roger. I have been following your blog for some time now, because I’m a recent Psychology graduate and also interested in marketing 🙂

    Yes, basically we can’t easily name the ink colour, because we first read the word. So it may be that when we see a printed word we almost certainly read it first regardless of its surroundings because reading seems to be a highly automatic activity.

  7. Carlos A says

    Is really interesting, but Gap really needs a new Logo or a neuro-marketing campaing?

    They did the worse marketing campaing!

  8. Verilliance
    Twitter: verilliance
    says

    It wouldn’t be the first time a company stirred the pot of controversy to get some attention. The move to a new logo did seem unnecessary. Hm.

  9. Rich and Co.
    Twitter: richandcom
    says

    Pradeep’s press release strikes us a crossing some professional boundaries. We assume Gap is not a client so publicly pillorying them for sales advantage is out of bounds.

    We have to ask the basic question: Is there peer-reviewed evidence to support “his” measures and claims? His comments are structured pretty much like a sales brochure.

    If not, these kinds of unsubstantiated, primarily marketing, claims will just give the whole neuromarketing and market research profession a black eye.

    Being an aggressive Type-A, self-focused sales person is one thing. Damaging the reputation of a new science and profession another.

  10. Franki Nguyen
    Twitter: frankinguyen
    says

    I’m starting to think that this whole fiasco may have been deliberate. The “new’ logo is so opposite to what a fashion brand should be. I find it hard to believe a company like Gap would go with that choice of logo in the first place.

    As they say, no publicity is bad publicity.

  11. Roger Dooley
    Twitter: rogerdooley
    says

    Rich & Co., the neuromarketing industry has a long history of analyzing other people’s stuff, often for publicity purposes. The best example of this has been the annual analysis of Super Bowl ads by various neuromarketing firms. Few or none of those advertisers are clients, of course, making any kind of backtesting impossible. Indeed, I found that one fMRI-based analysis missed the mark in Super Bowl Ads: GoDaddy Girl 1, Neuroscientists 0. So, by capitalizing on interest in the Gap logo mess, NeuroFocus isn’t breaking much new ground.

    The other question is whether a firm engaged in neuromarketing research can reach a set of general conclusions about what works and doesn’t work in marketing, e.g., the “best practices” described above. While one would expect that a firm could indeed develop such recommendations, in the absence of meaningful published research one has to use these recommendations in the same way one would treat advice from any other marketing advisor.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Roger

  12. Neil Reay says

    This is the first time I have seen the new logo, and I propose one other problem with the look. We live in a culture fascinated by the skinny model body style. GAP sells primarily to younger (and skinnier) customers. The old logo has a tall, skinny look that translates to a thin figure look. The new logo font is short and rounded, looking plump. The old logo is your teenager in jeans. The new logo is your mom in jeans. Which image does the GAP customer want? I’m thinking skinny.

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      Interesting insight, Neil!

      Roger

  13. Aran says

    I think the real problem is that Gap did a poor job selling the new logo. You can’t just plop a new logo onto a blank white backround and expect everyone to love it. You gotta put it next to a model wearing hot new fashionable clothing, so that people hardly even notice that the logo has changed. The idea that one can just send out a press release announcing a change like this is hopelessly naive … unless this really was just a publicity stunt on their part.

  14. D Garofoli says

    Dear Dr. Dooley,

    I found this post really interesting and I would like to have more information about the issue of sharp edges and “avoidance response”. It would be nice if you could suggest me some publications in regard, especially if focusing on the connected evolutionary argument…

    Thank You very much.

    DG

  15. Anna-Liisa Supp says

    Hey Roger,

    Great article indeed though it left me wondering who paid for conducting the study? Is it something that NeuroFocus does from their own resources? I mean in ‘normal’ case Gap should have been the one ordering EEG, right?

    All the best and keep up the good work!

    1. Roger Dooley
      Twitter: rogerdooley
      says

      It would appear that Neurofocus did this on its own. I’m sure if Gap commissioned a logo study, the results wouldn’t go out in a press release. There’s a long tradition in the emerging Neuromarketing business to study popular subjects and release the results. Super Bowl commercials are a perennial favorite since there is so much publicity surrounding them already. Politicians have also been analyzed using facial coding and other techniques. The major benefit of this kind of work is that the public gets to see some of the results, even if the conclusions are are sometimes speculative. For that, at least, we can be thankful.

      Roger

  16. Alevtyna says

    This is not GAP logo, I mean new logo. This is logo for… Microsoft PowerPoint or something similar.

  17. Daniel Evans says

    My version of the GAP logo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7YIKkdeL4s

  18. Carina Franz says

    I absolutely agree and would like to comment from a designer’s point of view. The new logo fails to differentiate the brand. It just reflects the style that is typical for web 2.0. There are hundreds of logos that look similar. For customers it will be difficult to remember what it stands for.

  19. Aurelius Tjin says

    I totally agree with this. The new logo seems not so attractive and dry, not like the old one its cool and classy. Thanks for sharing this article.

  20. koco toribio
    Twitter: Keylin
    says

    thank god they came back to his true identity

  21. Gridlock says

    QUOTE:
    “Sharp Edges Unsettle the Subconscious”
    “We are hard-wired to avoid sharp edges — in nature, they can present a threat.”

    How to deconstruct the new GAP logo. Mentally change the blue box on the new GAP logo into a small knife held at a 45 degree angle.

    “GAP is gonna cut you man. It’s going to gut you like a fish!”

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