The hate campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch on the social network, in effect, is creating a stronger brand awareness for this “authentic American Clothing since 1892”. Whether this blitz is for A & F’s advantage or disadvantage, it’s for us to see the sales and inventory reports of the company in the following months.
WHAT STARTED IT ALL:
A certain filmmaker, Greg Kaber, resurrected the company’s CEO Mike Jeffries vehement statement in 2006:
“ In every school there are cool and popular kids. We go after the attractive all-american kid with great attitude and lots of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes and can’t belong. Are we Exclusionary? Absolutely Yes.”
Whatever is the reason of Kaber’s bitterness against the product and the CEO is quite interesting to follow.
Known for its topless male models, this clothing company also asserts its refusal to sell clothes to larger sizes. They cater only to thin good looking men and women. This makes Hollywood actress, Kirstie Alley fuming mad and vows not to buy any product from this company.
It’s competitor, American Eagle and Aeropostale, caters to all sizes and covers a larger market. Most likely it has captured the obese and overweight which comprises two thirds of the American population.
This motivated Kaber to pushed for his own personal campaign, “ FITCH THE HOMELESS”, as twitted in his account. All the more, the bought several A & F shirts on second hand stores, distributed it to the homeless at Skid Row on the Eastern part of Los Angeles. This move was viewed by about 4.3Million after uploading it on You Tube by Kaber himself. This move is an act of defiance and contrary to A & F’s, “ only to the cool and attractive ones”.
In the Facebook account of Abercrombie & Fitch, CEO Jeffries posted on their profile… “ it was out of the context. The choice of words was interpreted to have cause offense….” Some say that mean spirited comments is bad for the business. Let’s just wait for the sales outcome.
The clothing apparel has a distinct target market segmenting into the young and attractive Americans, between 18 to 22 years of age. For whatever reasons, A & F knows very well how to grasp a large chunk of the retail market. I would like to think that it’s like playing in the psyche of every customers. If I buy and own an A & F there is that feeling of “distinction”, a feeling that “ you belong” and by wearing the shirt, yo have already created an identity.
The hate campaign and boycott may or may not boost the sales of the clothing company. What the haters are blurting out against the company as only for the “ thin and attractive cool guys” may be the very same thing that CEO Jeffries is trying to say. If there are more talks against or for the company, this would create a stir in the retail industry and in the end a jumpshot in the sales curve of the said clothing company.
Written By: Anthony P. Derayunan
Good publicity or bad publicity, if it’s working for the company’s advantage, well…. Then… fine.
Sources / Supporting Links / Works Cited (If none, please type “none”): www,tech.fortune.com, www.forbes.com