Monday, August 22, 2011

Abercrombie & Fitch Against Jersey Shore...a Complete Joke!

The Situation's got the last laugh, baby!
Photo by MTV, used here for illustrative purposes only | (image source)
The Situation wearing A&F sweats on
August 11th's episode. | Image by MTV
used here for illustrative purposes only.
(image source)
About the Jersey Shore was all a Public Relations stunt. Mike Jeffries (Chairman and & CEO) of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. admitted shortly after the 'Abercrombie & Fitch Proposes a Win-Win Situation' new release that "we're having a lot of fun with it." Supposedly, someone at the company (who watches Jersey Shore, apparently!) told Jeffries on Friday, August 12 - the next day after episode two aired - that "I have terrible, terrible news for you. Last night on 'Jersey Shore' The Situation had A&F product on."  They all agreed that it was "terrible" and thought it would be funny to make the news release on August 17th as a joke.

It was funny. Some found it funny that a company would pay a person to not wear its product. Others found it funny in the sense that Abercrombie & Fitch was stupid to do so: "Hello, free advertising!" And still more people thought it funny because of the irony that it was Abercrombie & Fitch (a brand known for its controversies, and who happened to have made a line of Jersey Shore inspired tees) was trying to make itself dignified enough to make such a statement. One article in particular, titled Clothing Labels Need to Look in the Mirror, took to discussing the apparent stupidity of it all. And that is why the joke backfired because many people took it seriously.

A&F's post on Facebook. Make of it as you will.
There were people (believing the news release to be true) who were actually supporting A&F's claim to want to pay off The Situation from wearing its clothes. Bad things were said about Jersey Shore - kind of justifiable, really - and how it was enough smart of A&F to actually want to distance itself from such an image:"It is not hard to see why A&F might want to distance itself from Sorrentino. He and his three male castmates introduced viewers to lifestyle habits they follow with religious conviction – such as "GTL", the daily routine of gym, tanning, laundry – and derogatory terms such as "grenade", to refer to an unattractive woman." And although it was released as a joke, employees at A&F headquarters nevertheless found it a little discomforting A&F products frequent prominently (thanks to overtly branded clothing) on the scandalous cast; they mentioned it seriously in the meeting as "terrible news." An analyst from Nomura Securities commented that the Europeans (an important consumer base that A&F wants to win over) may not like the brash and trash as much as Americans here do: "They have a different look than The Situation." Thus, the want to disassociate was met with understandability. "Management may be correct in asking (and offering to pay) the cast of 'Jersey Shore' to stop donning its logo-wear. It doesn't need the infusion of MTV and side-job dollars from the 'Jersey Shore' crew, if 2Q11 was any indication," stated a Wall Street Strategies analyst. One reader from commented that in the end, "...unfortunately you cannot chose your customers...think of the poor Louboutin shoes, forced to carry the horrible Kardashians, or D&G clothes on so many unclassy people. That's life, live with it!"

Jersey Shore's post on Facebook.
Still, Jersey Shore has its fans...and Abercrombie & Fitch has its haters. People on this camp backed-up The Situation and, in turn, ugly things were said about A&F. The Situation tweeted, "Thanks #SituationNation for always having my back and you are the best fans in the world!" I love you guys! And to add his opinion in cheek, Pauly D tweeted, "Hmmm if They Don't Want Us To Wear Those Clothes Why Make GTL Shirts." Vinny himself started the hashtag #lasttimeIworeabercrombie on Twitter by joking "#lasttimeIworeabercrombie there were still stores in NY to buy it at." And MTV could not have put it any better: "...We're all family here at MTV, and no one messes with our "Situation." There are plenty of neon sweatpants in the sea of franchised fashion, so we encourage him to take the money. And donate it all to Ed Hardy. Mike [The Situation], you look better naked anyway."

And I must point out that Jersey Shore is watched majorly by a teen and young adult demographic that also happens to make up a significant portion of the A&F consumer base. For Abercrombie & Fitch to announce how "distressing" it is to its fans that the brand is becoming more and more associated with Jersey Shore was a little much.
"It pains us to have elicited concern that our talent's choice of leisurewear would in any way harm A&F fans, but now we have our own concern: If the "Jersey Shore" cast should stop wearing the brand, does that mean those same fans--the ones who love nothing more than to curl up in their A&F sweats every Thursday night to watch their favorite show--should stop wearing it as well? Being pantless might cause them some real distress...Oh, Abercrombie, what kind of snowball hath y'all set in motion?" - Open Rebuttal to a Certain Clothin Retailer Who Dissed Our 'Sitch', MTV Remote Control Blog.

Shares for ANF on the NYSE fell up to 8.7% the closing of the following day - August 17th - after the news release. Meanwhile, 7.8 million people tunned in for the Jersey Shore episode on August 18th (up from 7.3 million on August 11th's episode). That ANF stock fell entirely because of the announcement is not certain, and neither is it that the viewers increased for the show because of it...but it definitely had a play in both affairs. Making me laugh, The Situation remarked, "Looks like Abercrombie got themself into a Situation!" (And looks like The Situation can't spell). But in good spirit, MTV responded to Abercrombie & Fitch by saying that "we'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television."

All in all, this was a publicity move, duh. Stupid, ironic, funny or not - your decide. Obviously done for attention (and what a storm it created). That Wall Street Strategist analysts I mentioned previously also noted that this could very well do some good for the brand during its Back-to-School 2011 season. Despite the drop in stock that one day, earnings for the Company have surpassed analysts expectations for the second Quarter of 2011 which were announced August 17. Will more people be fist-pumping into Abercrombie & Fitch? Who knows....

Stay FIERCE (and GTL at your discretion)!