Abercombie & Fitch are known for using shirtless guys with tight abs in most of their advertising campaigns.
Just when Abercrombie & Fitch reported second quarter earnings of a net income increase of 64%, news broke that they also asked Mike “The Situation” Serrentino from MTV’s reality show Jersey Shore to stop wearing their stuff in exchange for a large sum of money.
For a brand that sports young male models with tight abs and no shirt in almost everything they do, it was a bit surprising that they didn’t want The Situation wearing their clothing (the dude tends to take his shirt off a lot).
The Situation from MTV’s reality show Jersey Shore. Photo by AP.
Apparently, the foul-mouthed, partying celeb is tainting the A&F sexy, beach-inspired image of the brand.
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image,” they told the press.
On the flipside, Mike Jeffries, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., said:
“We are pleased that our results for the quarter continued to reflect strong momentum, both in the US and Europe, resulting in a 71% increase in operating income for the quarter. Going forward, our focus remains very much on execution against our long-term strategy and roadmap objectives. Costing pressures will be greater in the second half of the year, and macroeconomic uncertainty has increased. However, our strong top-line momentum and overall performance for the past several quarters give us confidence that we are well positioned to navigate through this environment.”
The greatest sales came from Hollister up 12% compared with A&F up 5%. Clearly, copping surf culture is working for this massive retailer. Total sales by brand were $383.4 million for Abercrombie & Fitch, $83.3 million for abercrombie kids and $434.2 million for Hollister Co.
What also increased for the brand, which is making a big push in Europe, is direct-to-consumer up 12%.
It may however be the new push in Europe that is behind A&F’s recent demands for Jersey Shore actors to stop sporting their wares. The loud-mouthed crew isn’t exactly the same as the sexy prep surf ideal they portray and may not translate to European audiences.
While many brands hope and often seed their brands on key celebs, it isn’t always an easy relationship. There was a time when Madonna was seen wearing Nike’s, only for Nike to balk at the idea because she wasn’t an “athlete” in their sense of the word, during a timeframe when all they were after were top international so-called athletes. Myopic thinking on their part.
Some think the A&F ban of The Situation is a ruse. But whatever it may be, it is attracting attention for both the brand and Jersey Shore, and brings up the marketing concept of connecting image with celebs -even if they are “reality.”