Abercrombie & Fitch Wants No Part of Jersey Shore Crowd

Discussion
Aug 18, 2011

The Jersey Shore cast is not feeling the love these days.

Earlier in the year, New Jersey Govenor Chris Christie said, "Remember, Snooki is from Poughkeepsie (NY) and the Situation is from Staten Island (NY). That’s not New Jersey. … Take them back. We don’t want them."

This week, Abercrombie & Fitch, a chain that just last year was selling "The Fitchuation" t-shirts, has offered Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino and other cast members unspecified amounts of money to stop wearing its clothing.

In a press release, the company offered the following statement: "We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.  We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans."

Abercrombie & Fitch is no stranger to controversy. The chain has temporarily ended the publication of its A&F Quarterly in 2003 following a story on "group sex" brought protests. Earlier this year, it backtracked after it was accused of marketing push-up bikini tops to girls between the ages of seven and 14 years.

As for the latest dust-up, most seem to think it’s a publicity stunt — that has worked, since Abercrombie & Fitch’s announcement has been widely covered.

"Abercrombie & Fitch saw an opportunity to get some advantageous publicity during the all-important back-to-school season," John D. Morris, senior retail analyst for BMO Capital Markets, told CNNMoney. "It’s definitely a good water-cooler conversation."

Paul Lejuez, a retail analyst with Nomura, told The Wall Street Journal, "I think they’re cool with his chiseled abs. I don’t think that’s the problem." The issue, he said, is that "what comes through in his (Mr. Sorrentino’s) personality" is not in keeping with the Abercrombie & Fitch image.

Discussion Questions: What do you think was Abercrombie & Fitch’s motivation with its offer to pay the cast of The Jersey Shore to stop wearing its clothing? Did it achieve its objective with the announcement?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

16 Comments on "Abercrombie & Fitch Wants No Part of Jersey Shore Crowd"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
9 years 8 months ago

A publicity stunt and seemingly a pretty good one, so far, based on the coverage.

David Livingston
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Great publicity stunt and it is working. Typical A&F — always coming up with new ideas and thinking outside the box.

David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Abercrombie & Fitch has already pulled off an excellent and powerful public relations and image building campaign by making this story such a news item. They have brilliantly reinforced who they are by illuminating who they are not! And the story is good for the TV show as well. Everyone wins!

Bob Phibbs
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

The problem is that half-naked boys and girls don’t seem to be pulling in buyers like they used to, so they created this PR campaign, which the world has taken hook, line and stinker.

Dick Seesel
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Hard to know whether this is a publicity stunt on the part of A&F or an attempt to protect its brand image. If it’s the latter, the unintended irony is rich. A&F long ago gave up its original “country club” brand association and invented a new apparel genre: “sleazy prep.” This is the store that has successfully sold sex as part of the brand image, through its catalogs and its continued use of bare-chested sales associates. Maybe A&F feels the Jersey Shore image is more compatible with Hollister, or maybe it’s time to invent a new store concept!

Marge Laney
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

I believe Mr. Jeffries said it all on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. Instead of concentrating on inventory levels and sales performance, he wanted to know why no one had asked about “The Situation”?

Mr. Jeffries is the master of turning controversy into dollars, but this may be a miscalculation. The MTV show has a huge following that could result in a huge backlash.

It’s one thing to be anti-establishment, but when you start dissin’ the characters with whom the American teen enjoys a love/hate relationship, he may have gone too far. So, hey Mr. Jeffries, don’t mess with my MTV!

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
9 years 8 months ago

A&F wanted to set itself apart and they did with this rather unique publicity stunt.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
9 years 8 months ago

A&F is concerned about “damage to our image”? Really? What image is that exactly? Kiddie porn? Group sex? Teen promiscuity?

Another example of “all publicity is good publicity” or, at least, some seem to think so.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

What a great publicity move by A&F. After their push up bra for young teens and their quarterly publication caused negative publicity everywhere but at the cash register, they come up with this. My hat is off to the person who came up with this idea.

Incidentally, they might want to make the same offer to Nevin Shapiro, the Ponzi scammer who is bringing down the University of Miami Athletic program. He has been seen in many of the photos wearing A&F shirts.

Tom Edwards
Guest
Tom Edwards
9 years 8 months ago

An attempt at publicity, especially in the NY metro area. Very successful!

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Abercrombie’s stock is taking a dive for the second day. Maybe this move wasn’t so inspired.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

PR and exposure. Were they successful? Well you published the article.

Michael L. Howatt
Guest
Michael L. Howatt
9 years 8 months ago

Well, if this was a publicity stunt, it really backfired as A&F stock dropped 8% yesterday. It’s really a sad state of affairs when a TV show like this can actually influence Wall Street.

Larry Negrich
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

If this PR campaign was meant to drive sales around back-to-school, then the timing seems a bit late. This campaign does look to have had a short-term negative drag on the stock price. Let’s watch the quarterly sales to see how it plays out. Would be interesting to see how A&F sales in the show demographic (15-20 year-olds, I would imagine) aligns in this, and next Q to see if there are any measurable results.

Mark Burr
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

I think a lot of the generation that might wear A&F have already stopped wearing it and they weren’t even paid to stop. It really didn’t matter if the JS folks were wearing it or asked not to wear it.

From what I hear from [this generation], it’s just not cool and almost laughable to be seen in it.

Then again, based on the price of their stuff, simply by not wearing it, I guess they are being paid.

Publicity? Maybe. But from the age group that it appeals to, the laugh is already past.

Another name will take their place, I’m sure. But the voices I hear say that name is long past its ‘coolness’ – Jersey Shore or no Jersey Shore.

Dave Haynes
Guest
Dave Haynes
9 years 8 months ago

What’s really sad about this is how it was forehead-slappingly obvious this was a publicity stunt, but major mainstream media nonetheless were all over it. The appropriate response would have been to ignore the bait.

I’m not sure how much this actually helped A&F at the cash register because it is abundantly clear most of the the youth market that shops at A&F doesn’t read newspapers or watch network news broadcasts.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How much help/hurt will Abercrombie & Fitch get from its offer to pay members of The Jersey Shore cast to stop wearing its clothing?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...