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Abercrombie and "Sitch"

By Jessica Fagioli Staff writer
On September 6, 2011

I think we've all had it with the "The Situation" puns.  As a result, I'm not going to start by saying that Abercrombie and Fitch seem to have landed themselves in a "Situation"  but rather I'm going to say I'm disappointed with the company. Why? Well, let's review the back story for those of you who may not have heard.

Abercrombie and Fitch, the clothing retailer known for dimly lit stores and an overwhelming aroma of cologne, made a "sincere" effort to get the cast of MTV's hit show Jersey Shore to stop wearing its clothing.  How?  A&F offered them an undisclosed sum of money. While Abercrombie stated it would prefer if the entire Jersey Shore cast of self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes would refrain from donning its clothing, A&F specifically targeted Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, requesting he no longer wear the A&F brand in public or on the TV show.

Let's back up for a minute here.  While I do not personally find any Jersey Shore cast member to be appealing or will take any kind of fashion advice from them now, or in the future, there are upwards of 8 million fans who would disagree with me. Jersey Shore, due mainly to its charismatic cast members and their entertaining antics featured on every episode, has created a craze of "guido/guidette" culture. Teens and 20-somethings everywhere are clamoring to completely personify their favorite Jersey Shore member.  

     So, wouldn't it stand to reason that retailers would want to capitalize on anything they associate themselves with? And it appears that Abercrombie and Fitch is no exception.  When the show first took off, A&F created a G.T.L. shirt, representing a catchy phrase from the show (gym, tan and laundry). Jersey Shore members get ready to go out for the night by making sure they look fit, have a touched up glow — or orange, depending on how you look at it—  and clean laundry.

Well now, that certainly doesn't make any sense. Why would a company that previously capitalized on Jersey Shore, and placed one of the show's witty phrases on a shirt, now want to make a public offer to encourage the cast members to stop wearing its clothing? Oh, wait. Maybe it wasn't a serious offer. Maybe A&F was trying for a publicity stunt? What about this: maybe A&F made the offer because the company wanted all MTV viewers to recognize the fact that the cast members were, indeed, wearing the company's clothing, thus resulting in an influx to the local malls to grab up all available A&F clothing.  That seems like a plausible "situation."

It does seem a little fishy that the executives at A&F were so eager to discuss the offer with the press. If you were trying to disassociate your clothing from a certain group of people, why would you make the offer so public, then bring it up to the press?

As I previously stated, I'm not truly invested in the future of Jersey Shore. In fact, until I heard about this, I had no sympathy for the cast in any capacity. But then this story came along. While I do realize that the cast has signed up to become "famous" and they have done a good job at that, it is pretty clear that certain companies out there cannot be happy making money off their fame in the normal "create-lame-merchandise-and-hope-teenagers-buy-it" kind of way.  A&F sunk to a new low by attempting to insult the Jersey Shore cast then hoping to make money off the publicity.  I mean, come on, was the G.T.L. shirt not selling well?  If you can't get prime merchandise like that to sell, maybe you shouldn't be in business.

While it almost pains me to say so, I think I'm team Jersey Shore here. Let this be a lesson to you, Abercrombie and Fitch, don't mess with D-list celebrities because the aftermath will certainly land you in a sticky "situation."


The "Fitchuation"

  • Aug. 11: Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino wears a pair of green A&F sweatpants in an episode of Jersey Shore
  • Aug. 16:  A&F proposes a "Win-Win Situation" to pay off "The Situation" The company stated in a press release, "This association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans."
  • Aug. 17:  MTV releases a statement saying, "It's a clever PR stunt, and we'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television."
  • Aug. 17:  A&F's stock drops 9 percent.
  • Aug. 17: Sorrentino tweets, "Looks like Abercrombie got themselves into a ‘Situation'" with a link to A&F's stock report.


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