Last fall, The Gap had a front row seat at witnessing the power of bad press on the internet when they released a uniformly-hated brand redesign, then stumbled into even worse territory when they tried to pass it off as the launch of a spec-based “we need a new logo competition,” and ultimately just killed the whole thing and probably wish people like us wouldn’t bring it up again. However, they give us no choice but to rehash old history because it appears that the company might soon have the internet against them once more. San Francisco hobbyist photographer Chris Devers posted on his Flickr page the remarkable similarities between a photo he’d taken nearly two years ago of an old Jaguar parked on the street and a “Thermal Body Double” outfit for currently being sold as part of The Gap’s Baby line. It’s been less than 24 hours now since Devers posted images of his original photo next to the sales listing on the company’s website, but already the story is gaining some major traction. What’s more, a second party managed to posterize the image being used on the shirt and placed it over the original, thereby offering more proof that something seems fairly amiss here. Here’s from Dever’s original post:
I have various thoughts about what’s going on here — for example, the mind-boggling idea that some unknown factory in southeast Asia somewhere is cranking out thousands of $16.95 tshirts with my photo on them on behalf of the Gap, and yet they never attempted to contact me about their use of my work — but I’m trying to keep most of my thoughts to myself until Gap has a chance to respond.
This certainly isn’t the first time a photo posted to Flickr has been at the center of this kind of repurposing/theft issue, with stories we’d reported on about Virgin and Sears getting in trouble for doing similar things coming to mind off the bat. Those seemed to fade away fairly quickly, but we’re sure to see how well a company as high profile as The Gap fares in due course.