Girls with Brains Call for Boycott of A&F
By George Anderson
T-shirts with sayings such as, “Who needs a brain when you have these?,” has a group of high school girls calling for a boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch.
The teenagers calling themselves the Allegheny County (Pa.) Girls have gotten national press coverage, including a spot on the Today Show earlier in the week.
“We’re telling [girls] to think about the fact that they’re being degraded,” Emma Blackman-Mathis, a 16-year-old who is the co-chairperson of the group, told RedEye. “We’re all going to come together in this one effort to fight this message that we’re getting from pop culture.”
So, what does A&F have to say about its latest controversy?
“Our clothing appeals to a wide variety of customers. These particular t-shirts have been very popular among adult women to whom they are marketed,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
David Krafft, senior vice president of Graziano, Krafft and Zale Advertising, doesn’t believe the Allegheny County Girls will be successful in getting others to join in their boycott.
“You figure they’re appealing to a younger audience demographic and (young people) are going to want to go for brands that are more cutting edge, or viewed as more cutting edge,” he said. “So it’s just going to be a benefit anyway to Abercrombie & Fitch.”
If anything, the girls appearance on the Today Show helped promote A&F, he added.
This is not the first time A&F has become embroiled in a controversy. The chain has come under criticism for its use of nudity in its catalogs and visual merchandising to promote its image.
Last year, it sold t-shirts with an L for loser next to a gymnast performing on the rings. The t-shirts seemed to be a direct slap at the U.S. Olympic gymnast team for failing to win a gold medal. USA Gymnastics called for a boycott of A&F over the merchandise. The chain later pulled the offending t-shirts.
Moderator’s Comment: Do you think the adult female demographic that Abercrombie & Fitch is targeting is more
or less likely to shop at the retailer as a result of this current controversy? Is all publicity good publicity as far as Abercrombie & Fitch is concerned? Should it pull
the t-shirts from its racks? –
George Anderson – Moderator