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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jersey Shore, too Much for Abercrombie & Fitch...No ANF for GTL!

The Situation in A&F sweatpants.
Image by DailyMail.co.uk used here for illustrative purposes only | (image source)
Abercrombie & Fitch and Jersey Shore are both the hottest American brands out there - one's a clothing retailer, the other's a wild and popular TV show...you'd think it'd be a the perfect match. Well...no. On 16 August, A&F released a press released in which the Company made itself willing to pay Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino a "substantial" amount of money to stay his abs and bum clear away from A&F clothes! And not just him, but the entire cast as well. You see, Abercrombie & Fitch has a problem with having their logo-splattered clothing worn and broadcasted to the world by a bunch of wild & willing "guidos":


"We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans. We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and the producers of MTV's The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand. We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response." - 'Abercrombie & Fitch Proposes a Win-Win Situation', News Release, A&F Investors.

If you didn't notice, the Situation is a fan of Abercrombie & Fitch and he has been showing it off even more. I mean, the guy was wearing green A&F sweatpants - boy does he love 'em! - in episode 2 of the current season 4 - you know, where they're in Florence, Italy, acting a hot mess like always. Oh and he's well known "for showing off his "six-pack" and flashing the A&F logo on his underwear." A&F believes that by him wearing their clothes, the Situation is associating his lifestyle with that of Abercrombie & Fitch....


The funny thing is that if Jersey Shore would have been airing and fist-pumping ten years ago, Abercrombie & Fitch would have been bragging and paying the Situation to be in the A&F Quarterly (which even came to feature a porn star) - the Situation in the Quarterly (which I do not find hard to imagine) would have heated things up and boosted sales! Hell, I (and everyone else in America) would have totally purchased a copy! And I mean, really. Jersey Shore is the early-2000s Abercrombie & Fitch gone all-Italian on TV. Abercrombie & Fitch was the first culturally-influencial entity to promote popularity through sex, drinking and careless fun to America's youth. It associated itself as so and now it's all coming back to bite it in the ass. This whole situation (no pun intended!) is completely ironic and hilarious. If someone would have said in 2001 that A&F would be paying wild and crazy partying popular kids to stop wearing their clothing in 2011...everyone in America would have been laughing in disbelieve.

But the Abercombie & Fitch of today is quite different. It cancelled the A&F Quarterly in 2003, and with it all the partying, drinking, careless and sexually-explicit fun - then's A&F image of "popularity" - went out the door. It began to cultivate a clean, respectable, international upscale image that has gained it flagship addresses on some of the world's most renown streets...beer bong no more!


And the fact that this "partying, drinking, careless and sexually-explicit" guy presents himself with A&F branded clothing on a controversial show aired worldwide - watched majorly by Abercrombie & Fitch target consumers - has got the Company on edge. After all, you are what you wear and said watchers will come to associate the A&F image with that of Mike (who, also ironically, shares the same name with Chairman & CEO Mike Jeffries of A&F). And not only that, but wearing A&F on the show all the time just makes it seem like plain promotion. So we must definitely understand Abercrombie & Fitch in that respect; it wants to keep its image clear from trashy-racy partying the way it used to be ten years ago. Totally understandable. But for all of this to be "distressing"...honestly? Grow up.

'The Fitchuation' tee as seen on abercrombie.com
Summer 2010.
But you know what the stupidest thing about all this is? A&F sure had no problem whatsoever with Jersey Shore when it attempted to associate the show's popularity with the brand during Summer 2010. Yeah. Did you all happen to have seen "The Fitchuation" tee shirt in your A&F stores last year? And Jersey Shore was just as wild last year as it is now. Abercrombie & Fitch just wanted to profit from the popularity of the show! And now that they've become really chummy, it's trying to pay the real Situation from wearing its stuff? How hypocritical is that! Obviously, I love A&F, but it just shot itself in the foot with that one!

Interestingly, stock for Abercrombie & Fitch fell 5% on August 17 during the first trading session after the press release. hmm.

P.S. There's no word yet from the cast....and A&F is "urgently" awaiting a response. We'll keep you posted on the situation (pun intended!) Stay FIERCE!

UPDATE (22 August 2011): The whole thing was a joke...a little PR stunt. We'll post on this soon...