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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marketing Review | Back-to-School 2011: Going Back to School Has Never Looked Hotter!

It has finally arrived...Back-to-School 2011 is officially in stores, everyone! New jeans, new looks, and, of course, new photography to set the books on fire!

Here is our seasonal review of the marketing:

Abercrombie & Fitch Back-to-School 2011 | Photography by Bruce Weber
•Abercrombie & Fitch: The A&F photography for this season (Facebook gallery) takes the concept of timelessness to a whole other level. The appeal is completely enthralling; it welcomes your mind into an eternal fantasy that is unwavering in dream. Fair haired and chiseled, the primary male model stands caught in a state lost in aspirations, contemplation, and dreams of youth. The individual male and female forms in classic A&F sweatpants present to us yet a another iconic presentation of the both ideal bodies; the male is rugged and upholding in virility; the female is gracefully posed and curved, inviting, yet not ostentatious, to her femeninity. Running along with the theme of timelessness, it's also fair to say that A&F got "schooled" in vintage for its latest collection. It has included into its Back-to-School collection two shots from previous fashion seasons: A&F Spring 2009 and RUEHL No.925 Christmas 2009 - the couple kissing and the female sitting, respectively. Typically, I have always found recycling marketing a nuisance, but it actually works well this time around. You are more than welcome to get lost in this euphoric FIERCE fantasy...Are you in?

abercrombie back-to-school 2011 | Photography by Bruce Weber
•abercrombie: With innocence and the graceful beauty of youth, this collection (Facebook gallery) comes across as aesthetically pleasing and timeless (just like it's older sibling). There is no smiling - there is no hugging or jumping around. All there is is pose, and that is what makes this photography powerful. With that alone, the imagery wholeheartedly embodies and exudes the romanticism of eternal childhood. On that note, I want to point out that the models are obviously not even children - teens, yes. But that is a part of what makes the photography so strong; that it - the models, really - has the power to radiate said childhood youth and innocence with pose and nothing more. It may not be excited, but it is euphoric - wonderful on another tangent cool. I wanted to end this review of abercrombie kids with that last sentence, but I have to make last comment. On the abercrombie kids official Facebook page, one fan made the ignorant comment that the female model looked like she had Down Syndrome. WTF? First of, no she does not. If you take the model's expressive stare as such, then you obviously lack in culture and maturity. And that is what I dislike about many fans, that they fail to take the photography as more than just "eye-candy;" it's art. And lastly, she isn't, but what if she actually was? How beautiful would that actually be?

Hollister Co. Back-to-School 2011 | Photography by Bruce Weber
•Hollister Co: There is no denying it, HCo has surfed into the season completely awe-inspiring. So cool, so bright, this collection of photography (Facebook gallery) captures the fantasy of the Hollister brand unlike any before. The images seem like postcards - vintage, romantic - sent to us from an ideal SoCal beyond reality. There is such clarity, purity in the photos - a new, passionate and focused, strong and never-off view into the romance that is Hollister. Such photography allow us a clearer look into said fantasy (much unlike the previous shots of seasons past). Needless to say, the days of sepia-toned photography seem to be over. Fans of the old photography, you need to open your minds and let in the brilliance of a new and re-invigorating image of SoCal cool. I personally used to dislike Hollister, but it has come to amaze me with its new found resilience. The male model - Chad Buchanan - commands the campaign with his compelling FIERCE stare and pose - his eyes say it all. The female model, on the other hand, is second rate in performance in comparison. The one shot of the Dude and Betty embracing love and kissing in a moment of time-passing romance is the most profound photo in this collection - a collection that may just be the best out of the entire brands...

Gilly Hicks Back-to-School 2011
•Gilly Hicks: OMG! It's cute and clean-cut...I'll give it that much. Other than that, Gilly Hicks is just disappointing (Facebook gallery). Never mind that the male model (Jimmy Brighton) has been featured in the previous Spring-Summer season, but that the female model (Ashley L.) is once again on board is just plain annoying to the point of boredom. We have seen her face since exactly a year ago (in Back-to-School 2010) in simple photography used to promote bras online. And then the Company had the nerve use this unimpressive photography for Spring-Summer 2011; it dragged on for nearly six months! Six months! We had to stare at her - Jimmy, too - and the dull photos for six months! Adding insult to injury, Ashley and Jimmy return. Same-looking shots, just a slightly different background...wow. The photography is just so unimpressive that i even wonder if it is even Bruce Weber's work - probably some cheaper, lower-rate photographer. Where has Gilly Hicks come to? Where has the original, breathtaking photography - Australian-inspired, evoking an aspirational Aussie fantasy of Down Under beauty and heat - gone? I'll tell you where: not in the Land of Down Undies - that's for sure.

Interesting to note is how the main images for Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister complement one another...




Now how hot is that?

 In conclusion, this is an phenomenal campaign (ignoring the annoyances of Gilly Hicks that she never fails to provide). We are totally excited for Back-to-School! We all know what we'll be daydreaming about in class...Stay FIERCE, my friends!

All photography featured in this post is by Bruce Weber. It is used solely for illustrative purposes and the photographer reserves the copyright.