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Gap Tries to Use Hurricane Sandy For Advertising

In case of a crisis, you focus on giving instead of taking. And no, giving people a discount is not 'giving', because you are still making money.

Written by on October 31, 2012

We hear about it all the time. Something bad happens in the world, and brands try to capitalize on the heightened awareness of everyone to sell more products. It never works, and it always ends in tears.

Note: Also read the follow-up article where we look at how to do it right.

This time it is American Apparel and GAP, who is no stranger to social media backlashes. Just look at the ad below:

Keep in mind that this is a perfect time for American Apparel to have a sale. It's just before the holiday season, which means that a sale today will help clear the shop of the old collection and make more room for the new.

Gap also tweeted: "All Impacted by #sandy, stay safe. We will be doing a lot of Gap.com shopping today." With a link that encouraged people to check in at their New York store. Essentially saying, either come to our store, or, if you can't, go to our web shop and do a lot of shopping.

They still haven't learned from their logo disaster back in 2010.

Not surprisingly, the Twitterverse didn't take this kindly, and they are currently experiencing yet another social backlash.

So, when you shoot yourself in the foot like this what do you do? Well, Gap deleted the original tweet and instead posted this:

Yeah, right... As I wrote in my previous article about Gap, "Bang!! ...there goes another foot."

Here is what you do:

In case of a crisis, you focus on giving instead of taking. And no, giving people a discount is not 'giving', because you are still making money.

One example. If you own a coffee shop and you see people busily working to clean up after Sandy, you make a bunch of coffee, put it all on a cart, and go out to where people are working, offering it to them for free. Because that's what you do in a crisis. You help people the best you can, and as a coffee shop, your best is to make coffee.

And afterwards, people might remember that you gave and helped where you could. And just maybe that will result in a positive brand effect that will increase your revenue in the long term ... maybe!

But it is much better than focusing on a small increase in sale at the cost of a long term brand relationship... like Gap and American Apparel just did.

In a crisis: You give!

Also read the follow-up article where we look at how to do it right. And head over to G+ to comment and discuss this article.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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