As the United States grappled with the uncertainty over the still-unresolved presidential election on Wednesday, the Gap tweeted an image of a half-red, half-blue hoodie bearing the brand’s logo, along with the caption, “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward.” Clicking the image showed the sweatshirt being zipped up.
The post, which was subsequently deleted, quickly went viral and was met with widespread mockery and criticism. “Read the room,” several users wrote. “Really? A red & blue hoodie is the healing ointment America needs?” one user posted. The model and food blogger Chrissy Teigen wrote, “yay, we can just walk sideways depending on the city we’re in.”
A representative for Gap, which has been working to increase the relevance of its brand, said the sweatshirt was not actually for sale and that the image had been created for social media.
“From the start we have been a brand that bridges the gap between individuals, cultures and generations,” the company said in a statement. “The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity. It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all.”
The incident is likely to serve as a warning for other brands that may be considering offering commentary on the election.