Thursday, August 18, 2011

Abercrombie and Fitch Makes an Enemy of Mike Sorrentino; Gains Massive Publicity

Water cooler gossip must be running rampant as those who normally don't care about Abercrombie & Fitch are clamoring to talk about the brand today. Why? The clothing brand offered to pay Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino not to wear their clothes. I say it's an elaborate publicity stunt, and a pretty good one, at that.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is famous. And if you ask reality stars or clothing brands, pretty much any publicity is good publicity. So when Abercrombie & Fitch offered Mike Sorrentino money to stop wearing their clothes because it hurts their brand image, it was a bit mind boggling...until I gave it some thought.

I read a while back that Abercrombie & Fitch has an unlimited advertising budget. While that's probably not true, the company probably does have deep pockets and invests a significant amount of their cash in advertising. This led me to my theory of how this whole anti-Mike Sorrentino (which is actully pro-Mike Sorrentino) campaign went down. I will explain this in a simplified dialog.

The Abercrombie and Fitch advertisers sit around in their office trying to think of new ways to advertise their brand.

Advertiser 1: Ugh, I can't think of any new, edgy ideas. We've already shown half-naked people in our catalogs, so I've got nothing.

Advertiser 2: Okay, well since the half-naked thing is done, we need to figure out how to advertise in a way where people are actually wearing our clothes. Who wears our clothes these days, anyway? Any celebrities?

Advertiser 1: Mike Sorrentino from Jersey Shore wears our clothes. This could be a good situation! Lots of people like him, so maybe it's a good thing. Yes, yes, the silly 'situation' pun was intended.

Advertiser 2: I got it! Mike's crazy popular right now, so let's capitalize. We've got lots of money to spend on marketing, but we may not actually need any of it. Let's make an offer to Mike Sorrentino not to wear our clothes. We'll say we're offering him loads of cash (that we may never have to pay) to never wear Abercrombie again. And we'll issue a press release and send it to the media, so that way even if we do have to pay up, we'll gain tons of publicity and build up our sales during the back to school season.

Advertiser 1: That's an awesome idea! Let's do it!

And an idea was born.

While Abercrombie and Fitch saw their stock dip as much as ten percent after issuing the Mike Sorrentino-related press release, and the MTV star may challenge the company by actually accepting their cash offer, the publicity stunt seems to be well worth it. Per New York Magazine:

CNN explains the stock's activity had nothing to do with The Situation, but guarded comments by the store's management following an announcement of gains — a 23 percent sales increase and 64 percent increase in net profits.

The bottom line? The publicity worked. And as for the stock price, pretty much the whole stock market's dropping these days; I would hardly say that Abercrombie & Fitch would be immune to that, with or without this publicity stunt.

If you need any more proof that Abercrombie actually does support Jersey Shore, their clothing line includes a GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) shirt, which is a slogan that became famous after the Jersey Shore cast spouted it repeatedly on national television. The company also sells a shirt that says "Fitchuation".

1 comment:

Lina said...

OMG! This has been my favorite story in the past week and I talked about about on my last podcast episode. I agree with you about the fact that this may be a big publicity stunt. After all this brand has had a history of unconventional advertising. But still I think it may back fire because insulting Jersey Shore, which is the highest rated shore on MTV ever, could end up alienating people who were buying their clothes because The Situation was wearing them. Love this blog! Thanks for following my on the twitter. Haha!