Abercombie and their PR Situation

18 08 2011

A clothing brand pays a celebrity NOT to wear their clothes.  It made the New York Times.  Surely that’s PR genius.

Abercrombie & Fitch Chief Executive Mike Jeffries set the story ablaze during a conference call with financial analysts when he asked “is no one going to ask about The Situation?”.  Thus prompted to pose the question, the analysts were told “last Friday … someone came up and said, ‘Mike, I have terrible, terrible news.  Last night on ‘Jersey Shore’ The Situation had A&F product on.”

For the uninitiated ‘The Situation’ is a “star” (in a Warhol sense) of faux reality US TV ratings phenomenon ‘Jersey Shore’.

A&F decided to pay the cast not to wear their product, Jeffries said.  We can deduce that the cast are not A&F’s target demographic.  “We’re having a lot of fun with it” Jeffries added.  He may as well have just said “it’s a stunt”.  What on the face of it is generating a lot of media mileage maybe be bad for the brand.

In the first instance generally most customers don’t like having the wool pulled.  Secondly what A&F has actually done is created a powerful association between their brand and ‘Jersey Shore’.  The 9% drop in the company’s share price may be as much to do with the CEO saying in the same briefing “into 2012, it is clear that we are entering a period of greater uncertainty”.  It could equally that what seemed to be a clever PR ploy was actually his Ratner moment.





2 responses

19 08 2011

Agree with you about this being a failed PR stunt.
It reminds me of an idea I had a couple of years ago while in Soho, London, where I witnessed a down-and-out walking around wearing a Gap sweatshirt and reflecting that it wasn’t doing much for the brand ambience.
I then had the idea of recruiting a team of vagrants to walk around trendy places like Soho and getting clients to pay for them to wear their competitors branded designerwear.
So, it uses the idea of negative associations without being linked with it, while stigmatizing and damaging your competitors’ brands.
Still a valid geurilla PR tactic for anyone out there

7 09 2011

I think that the stint was interesting; with the hype of The Jersey Shore I think paying them not to wear their clothing is an interesting tactic. However, it seems like it may turn away a lot of people who are fans of the show even if it has raised A & F publicity.

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