Teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has offered to pay cast members from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” to stop wearing its clothes. In a press release the company said it is “deeply concerned” that Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino “could cause significant damage” to the brand’s “aspirational nature.”
MTV released a statement in response that called Abercrombie’s offer a clever PR stunt: “We’d love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television,” the statement said.
The A&F offer is a 180-degree turn could for a company that previously sold T-shirts stitched with the wording “The Fitchuation,” and “G.T.L.” — the show’s reference to a pre-party routine of “gym, tan, lunch.”
Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries was talked on the topic on a conference call with analysts: “Last Friday morning I was with a group of people here and someone came up and said, ‘Mike, I have terrible, terrible news for you. Last night on ‘Jersey Shore’ The Situation had A&F product on.”
Jeffries said he and the group agreed it was “terrible news.”
That is when they came up with the idea to pay the cast not to wear their product, Jeffries said: “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”
One of the analysts’ theories as to why A&F wants their clothes off the show is Abercrombie is eager to expand in Europe, a market that may not like the look of the reality show’s cast.
RBR-TVBR observation: A&F is likely concerned that its clothing donned on Jersey Shore is perceived as down-market from its brand positioning, which tends to be along the same lines as Ralph Lauren. A&F sports a Moose with antlers; Ralph Lauren sports a Polo horse. The models A&F use in promotions and advertising—as well as Ralph Lauren—certainly aren’t Jersey Shore lookalikes.