|A global icon, FIERCE cologne in all its signature glory... | Image, abercrombie.com|
Principally, operations in the Middle East are guided by an important understanding of cultural sensibility in the region. In the case of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. brands, this meant no half-naked chiseled lifeguards - nor with models in prior advertising - at a high-profile opening for the first time ever. This having occurred for the inauguration of the first Hollister which opened in Dubai - and that's saying something considering Dubai is regarded as the leader in modernity among its peers. After that January 2014 opening, things at the Company dramatically shifted around throughout the year leading to even the retirement of Bruce Weber photography and the first non-Weber campaign since 1995: Christmas 2014 lensed by fashion photographer Guy Aroch and whose work for A&F has represented a more watered-down carnal sensuality - really, basically non-existent anymore (to the dismay of many) - in photographic take on the Abercrombie & Fitch image. Thus, when the arrival of the Abercrombie & Fitch brand came, considerable level of discretion when it came to A&F marketing was not necessary; we would have had more of a challenge back in the golden Mike / Bruce Weber heyday.
However, the one thing which has befallen, only to manifest in what may come across to some as disagreeable in result to more discerning patrons, has been the redesign and presentation of FIERCE cologne in bottle for the market...
Well, what could be just said is this; It's not awful, and can be passable for a fleeting A&F Fragrance release (it follows in aesthetic codes with the likes of #ABERCROMBIEHOT and Abercrombie & Fitch Crest). but it's not a design on par to the illustrious, enthralling reputation and character of one of the early-21st century's most renowned olfactory creations. You would have thought just setting apart a set in production without the signature Weber-lensed sticker, or with a different suitable replacement, would have sufficed and been fine (not to mention not necessitating the capital that went into coming up and rolling that out). It ultimately just comes across as profoundly gauche for a design of the sort to be placed as vessel for a fine fragrance the calibre of FIERCE (and for what is but a representative of the Abercrombie & Fitch name and what it stands for). Furthermore to take into account is the intent of bringing FIERCE to shelf among other fine fragrance in high-end department stores, specialty shops and duty-free spots worldwide: if you would't have that standing alongside and against other competitive fine fragrance everywhere else in the world (on a consumerism battleground of which is is about being the most captivating and finely self-represented to a consumer for the win), it should not be anywhere to begin with. FIERCE in such form would not fare well, and not hold strong and high in the utmost stratospheric echelons of the world's greatest fragrances, in the greater world and among those long well aware of the refined and sensually alluring signature nature that makes FIERCE, FIERCE.
The publication of this post comes - and incidentally hours before the opening of the second Abercrombie & Fitch in Kuwait City - after fan Brendan took note and brought up the new design, in inquiry of it, to The Sitch on Fitch.
While the TSOF response to the inquiry (in regards to the bottles purveyed in the Middle East) made use of the cultural sensibility card, it should be reinstated that, earlier this year, the Company made a public note of its intent to keep the boldly sensual representative image for FIERCE cologne in general. (Albeit, and very much apparent, not in the Middle East in in such a way as you see in the immediate above photo). The choice of keeping the Weber-produced image was made known after being asked over the matter of the retirement of nudity and sexuality in A&F marketing: Abercrombie & Fitch commented that, at least for the cologne, it would remain in line with the more free and carnal-provocative nature of fragrance-industry marketing.
Reportedly, as of April 2, stock of these FIERCE bottles in A&F The Avenues, Kuwait City, have sold out for the moment. It's a new market with new consumers in hype with first time exposure and no precedent acquaintance with the brand. A great scent is a great scent. But in the case of the bottle, regardless, the irrefutable verdict is out...
Stay FIERCE (pun intended)!