Many people must have experienced the similar situation that you did something for good, but your friends could misunderstand you and felt hurt, and you will never figure out why your friends would think that way.
This situation can happen within friends. As for social media, every word we say and every picture we post, they can be seen by millions of people . We can never figure out what will people think about the things we post. Sometimes the result can be very harmful.
This unfortunate situation happened to Gap in 2016.
For Gap’s advertising campaign “Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything” on April 2, Gap tweeted a photo. In the ads, four girls are posting differently. A taller white girl is resting her arm on the head of a shorter black girl, which triggered the controversy.
Many people found this ad very racist because they thought the write girl was using the black girl as “armrest”. And they tweeted their angry words.
There were some people who didn’t think the picture as racist, but most responses were negative. People’s responses on social media did a great harm to Gap’s brand reputation.
On Monday, Gap apologized to critics and decided to replace the image in the ad campaign. “As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended,” a Gap spokeswoman said in a statement. “This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/gap-pulls-ad-called-racist-apologizes-critics/story?id=38190519)
Gap made a clear announcement about what message they wanted to deliver through the ad. And Le Petit Cirque, the youth performance group stood out to say that the four girls were a very close family and the black girl was the little sister who was kind of a shy girl. Filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry even tweeted a picture from an old Gap ad campaign that showed a tall black girl resting her arm on the head of a shorter white girl. But at that time, no one said something about racist.
So, was the ad really racist? For me, definitely no. I only see four beautiful girls doing different poses which can demonstrate their personalities. And for Gap, their intention for this ad campaign was great, I believe that they though nothing about racist. They just couldn’t figure out what would people think on social media.
Gap’s response to the criticism showed that Gap was a brand that helped everyone to demonstrate their beauty and unique with a good attitude. But unfortunately, just after four months, Gap’s another ad made them under the fire of sexist(http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/08/03/gap-comes-under-fire-for-sexist-back-to-school-advertisement/).
These social media crisis could really harm Gap’s brand reputation. So what should they do to avoid making the same mistakes again?
First, think before putting things on social media. They must think carefully about how people can react about the things they post. If they can figure out the possible negative responses in advance, try to avoid those points.
Second, test before putting things on social media. It is true that there are always some people whose thoughts we can never figure out. Do some test to see clearly how will people respond. So they can make some change before it is too late.
Third, have a good PR team. Once they make the mistake again, make sure to have a good PR team that can response timely through different media channels. Make apologize, explain the situation and quell people’s anger.
You can never figure out what will people think on social media. So, be careful!