Thursday, May 30, 2013

Subversive brand readjustment at Abercrombie

The e-pages have been full of stories about the statements made by the CEO of Abercrombie, e.g., “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong” and “I don’t want our core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing our clothing.”

He also said that the communication between "hot people" is his primary marketing tactic: “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” he said.

Here's a first-person validation of this from a young friend of mine:

The first time I went in to buy a pair of shorts and the woman at the counter asked if I lived around here. Right after I said yes, she asked if I needed a summer job and said I would be "great." I remember her actually making me feel really good! I decided to take it and went back to the store for an "interview" where they asked about my personal style, but I remember feeling very uncomfortable. She took a photo of me to send to the national office, they recruit all of their models from their stores. They told me my title would be "store model" where I would just greet people who came in. I went back another time to buy clothing for the position (over 90 dollars, they didn't have my discount in the system yet) and everyone there told me not to take the job. They kept everyone who was not white in the back room of the store as well. They seemed extremely unhappy. I called and said I wasn't going to take the position and went to a different Abercrombie to return the clothing. As soon as I walked in, an employee followed me around the store to the register and asked me if I lived around here, and then immediately offered me a summer job

It's hard to know what to do to counter this approach and the CEO's view of the world.  After all, if you're not "hot" or "cool," a boycott won't do much good!  One person has creatively taken on a subversive crusade to create a "brand readjustment."  Check out this article. Excerpt:

Greg Karber posted a YouTube video entitled “Abercrombie & Fitch Gets a Brand Readjustment #FitchTheHomeless,” which asks the public to go to their local thrift shops and purchase all of the Abercrombie & Fitch they can possibly grab and distribute the clothes to the homeless.

“Together, we can make Abercrombie & Fitch the world’s number one brand of homeless apparel,” Karber says in the video.


Xtine Sullivan said...

From Facebook:

Observed on a recent & RARE visit to our mall, A&F pumps trendy cologne which triggers my allergies -- I felt like calling out, "your store stinks."

Anonymous said...

My sister worked there (as an employee, then a manager) in college and had stories about people getting fired for not being attractive enough. Apparently the employees were often drinking in the back room too!