Abercrombie & Fitch is losing its grip on image control as every Tom, Dick, Harry and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, parade around in their over-priced duds on TV, in Italy and other places not sanctioned by Abercrombie & Fitch. Abercrombie is “concerned” enough about its image that it has offered a “substantial sum” of money to “The Situation” and the rest of the Jersey Shore cast to cease wearing their clothes. While it is an obvious publicity ploy, Abercrombie is no stranger to bad publicity and lawsuits stemming from its insistence that employees project a certain image and look. I call it the Stepford look, they call it preppy-sexy-beachy-wholesome-college-frat-sorority look.
While I don’t watch the reality show Jersey Shore, millions do and I have seen an episode or two as the cast tans, goes to the gym, does laundry and of course parties and fights. Not necessarily a wholesome image any product or retail outlet would want to project but Abercrombie had already jumped on the Jersey Shore bandwagon when they came out with their “Fituation” and “GTL” (gym, tan, laundry) tee shirts a while back. Who are they kidding? According to an Abercrombie press release; “We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.” This is pretty funny since their image is one of elitist discrimination.
Abercrombie has long been the bastion of the preppy-sexy look, often approaching their own customers they think have the “look” and asking them if they would like a job while applications pile up from other Abercrombie job seekers that are not considered part of the super-elite-gene-pool-brand that the company covets (they got sued and lost also for telling applicants they weren’t hiring and were caught hiring only people with the “look.”) I suppose using the pick-of-the-litter method of hiring is okay if we are talking skill set, knowledge, experience, retail personality etc. but choosing someone because they look like a surfer dude or dud and wear flip-flops for a living seems like the bottom of the shallow barrel.
But, Abercrombie will be taking all this free publicity to the bank. People are talking about this PR stunt and advertising geniuses are scratching their heads and wishing they would have thought of the idea first. Plus, otherwise sane people, instead of boycotting a company that has an ugly policy of hiring only the “attractive” will go buy an A&F something -or-other because they don’t fit their image either, because nobody is going to tell them what they can’t wear–ka-ching!
(I would sure say this picture I used of the “Situation” looks pretty similar to the Abercrombie ads of half naked bodies on their website and in their catalogs so what do they mean he is bad for their image?) P.S. I’m open to not wearing anyone’s clothing–I really have no image so I could readily offend anyone equally. for the right price–of course.