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Friday, October 29, 2010

Christmas has Arrived!!! Feeling Naughty, Anyone?

Christmas 2010 has finally arrived at our favorite A&F brands and it is looking very interesting indeed. The season is always the one I look most forward to because it is always the best - great photography, music, and events. Now that is has come, I have some quarterly criticism to dish out...what rocks, what sucks, and what in the world is going on with the redundant marketing!
Main marketing image for A&F "Naughty or Nice" Xmas 2010
Abercrombie & Fitch: The parent brand has rarely failed my expectations, and this one is no exception. I really enjoy it! The poses and facial expressions are always so captivatingly dreamy, euphoric and timeless. The male models definitely dominate the selection (as they always do) because they are the ones that carry a look that exceeds the frame; they look beyond into that timelessness aesthetic that is so iconic of A&F/Bruce Weber photography. The shot of the African-American girl is purely breathtaking as her beauty (and prominent hair) seemingly leans out towards the observer the furthermore he/she stares. The one model that truly stuck out is the female with freckles. I'm sure you all agree. Her image is very country-classic, very innocent and not very "typical Abercrombie." Yet, in that sense, it is so American, and that is so typical Abercrombie. Did I just make any sense? It helps to add that this Christmas is very inspired to be "naughty," and this reminds me so much of the previous scandalous Christmases A&F enjoyed with the Quarterly. Completely fun! A&F "Naughty or Nice?" Xmas 2010 is honestly high-photography at its best, as it should be, as is always Abercrombie & Fitch.
Main marketign image for abercrombie good* xmas 2010
abercrombie: At the start, I found the marketing of abercrombie *good xmas 2010 as highly wonderful. The main image of the little bulldog is very "cute" (especially with the caption "I've been good* this year) and captures that classic child-essence; that of mischeivious innocence, a quite wonderful juxtaposition. Then, the selection continues with a footnote on abercrombie's rather out-of-the-Oxford-dictionary-sounding cheeky footnote which clarifies what being "good" implies (to abercrombie standards, at least). I had to laugh; it is so fun, mock-intellectual, and a footnote I think most of us will find quite handy come Christmas morning! The marketing was great...until redundancy can rearing its ugly face - yet again! - and I rolled my eyes. The picture in question is of the girl in the navy-stripped  long-sleeve shirt, and it was first used in Summer 2009. Honestly, if there is one thing I have come to hate about A&F is the use of past marketing photography for itself and its other brands. The Company may think that most of its consumers won't notice, but I do and it is annoying, cheap, and scars the campaign. Don't get me wrong, I don't completely hate this campaign. How could I, have you seen the bulldog? And it also encompasses really wonderful new photography, but that one image just drags it down a tad. My conclusion? abercrombie good* xmas 2010 isn't brilliant, it's just simply very "good."
Main marketing for HCo. Xmas 2010
Hollister Co.: Marketing for HCo. is unpredictable. I mean, there are common aspects that you always come to expect and that do come through every time, but the final aesthetic is oftentimes a fun departure from the norm of aged, sepia-color. This time, there is full-color with a watercolor finish! But despite this, it is just weak. The only great image is the main photograph of the male model with the plaid shirt over his shoulders. Really, only the male models pull through fine, in every HCo. campaign, and rarely are female models outstanding. In the case of HCo. Xmas 2010, the two females are so blant (especially the short-haired one who seems to have unattractive gender-issues) that why even bother including them? This campaign begins SoCal hot and then ends so-not right. smh.
Main marketing for GH Christmas 2010
Gilly Hicks: Oh, Gilly, where for art though, Gilly? I really like the new watercolor thing A&F has going on for the GH Christmas 2010 campaign, as well. That is it - well, also the main image of the nude guy tugging on the girl's jeans - pretty much everything else is simply dull! I was so captivated and inspired by the first photography that Bruce Weber produced for Gilly Hicks in sepia (back in 2008), and then he out did himself last Christmas with the hot full color shots! But, this Christmas 2010 is so boring, redundant, and blah that I might just cry! No new photography was shot exclusively for Gilly Hicks; these are images from A&F Screen Test featuring Camille (who isn't exactly breathtaking in beauty, but is passably cute) and Lukas. A&F, if you want to develope GH a brand of outstanding brand image, you are going to have to maintain an original streak and not fall back to recycled redundancy (as if I haven't used that word enough).