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.