Gap Smart To Apologise For ‘Racist’ Kids’ Ad

By on April 5, 2016

Gap’s recent apology over their controversial kids’ ad — which was accused of racism by the Twitter community — is a smart move.

While we don’t believe the clothing giant is guilty of racism, they made the right public relations decision to discretely apologize after they tweeted the below ad on April 2. This particular image is one of several in a campaign featuring celebrity Ellen DeGeneres and the pre-teen dance group Le Petit Cirque.

gap kids racist controversey

Several people in the Twitter community lambasted the Gap for what they deemed was a derogatory position of the lone black girl in the ad.

Gap Kids proving girls can do anything… unless she’s Black. Then all she can do is bear the weight of White girls. #EpicFail” writes one user. 

Another user writes: “Thanks for perfectly illustrating what ‘passive racism’ looks like in mainstream media. #DiversiryFail She is NOT your arm rest.”

The conversation about this ad went on and on, yet what makes this claim of racism unfounded is the fact that the ad isn’t being viewed within the context of the entire Gap Kids campaign.

See below for a similar image used in the campaign that shows a taller black girl using a white girl as an arm rest. If the first ad implies that the taller white girl is more powerful than the smaller black girl, then surely this ad implies the reverse? No?

gap kids

But we are not writing about this story to discuss the actual ethics of this ad. We are telling you about this news because it has an important business lesson for brands when they piss off members of the public:

Check your ego at the door, say sorry with a smile on your face, and make a change.

Being in business isn’t about being “right”, it’s about getting along with others.

Gap proved that they understand this when they apologized just a few days after posting their controversial ad and said they would replace the image.

“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,” says Gap representative Debbie Felix. “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.”

Wise move Gap, now only if other brands would follow your lead.

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Shereen Dindar
Shereen Dindar was a Content Manager at QuickTapSurvey in 2015 and 2016. Have a story idea? Email us at marketing@quicktapsurvey.com
  • Brian

    I’m just glad that everyone found their safe space.

  • Gary Frisch

    I’m a PR pro and while I understand the wisdom of an apology, even for a perceived offense, I think GAP’s apology was wrong in this instance. One of the symptoms — and I do mean “symptoms” — of social media is it gives voice to everyone with a grievance, in the most passive way possible. A tweet called this an “#epicfail” so…what? It must be so? Look at the comment boards on other articles about this — where people had to actually, you know, seek out the article then log-in to comment — and you’ll see that the vast majority think it’s much ado about nothing. But alas, this is the bed we’ve made for ourselves,

  • Play Righter

    I believe your optimism is exaggerated.

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