Gap Turns Racist Graffiti Into Social Media Success


OK, companies, listen up. This is how you handle your corporate account. When Gap heard that one of its advertisements had been defaced in New York City the company took to Twitter to take care of the situation.

Step 1: Make It Private

Gap was alerted by Arsalan Iftikhar, or @TheMuslimGuy, that one of the company’s ads had been defaced. Some misguided tagger wrote “Make Bombs” and “Please stop driving taxis” on an ad featuring Sikh model Waris Ahluwahlia. To make the racist remarks even more enraging, they were placed on a billboard that was promoting diversity.

Gap responded to @The MuslimGuy and asked him to send a direct message so that they could talk privately about the situation. Gap asked for the location of the billboard so that they could take down the racist graffiti.

Step 2: Make It Public

Fixing the defaced ad in NYC was a good move but it wasn’t enough for Gap. In order to show their support for diversity and in order to condemn the racist remarks even more, Gap decided to use the ad as its profile pic.


Step 3: Do It Quick

The world of social media moves at a rapid face and if you don’t act fact people may get the idea that you just don’t care. According to The Muslim Guy, Gap responded within a day of his tweet and started working to correct the problem.

Arsalan Iftikhar writes at the Daily Beast: “In addition to Gap’s rocket-fast attempt to find out more details about the situation, I have to say that the best part about the company’s response to this social media campaign is that it currently has the Sikh model as their current Twitter background photo below.”

Gap’s Make Love campaign wasn’t really noteworthy until this week. Sure, it was nice to see a diverse range of models wearing Gap clothes but that didn’t really say anything about the company other than the fact that they want to peddle their merchandise to all shapes, sizes and colors. But maybe it’s not just a marketing campaign? Does Gap really care about diversity in America?

It’s nice to see a company do something good every once in a while but not let’s get ahead of ourselves and declare Gap the moral compass of the corporate world. Remember that hurricane Sandy tweet?

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a seasoned professional with a strong background in growth strategies and editorial responsibilities. Kokou has been instrumental in driving companies' expansion and fortifying their market presence. His academic credentials underscore his expertise; having studied Communication at the Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy), he later honed his skills in growth hacking at the Growth Tribe Academy (Amsterdam).


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