Abercrombie’s publicity stunt, offering to pay Jersey Shore cast to stop wearing its clothes, doesn’t help its stock

Abercrombie and Fitch got its name in the news today not by producing a catalog full of homoerotic images of nearly-naked people who ironically aren’t wearing the clothes they’re selling, but by offering to pay Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and the Jersey Shore cast to stop wearing its clothes. In a press release, the company said,

“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans. We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and the producers of MTV’s The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand. We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response.”

Also today, Abercrombie’s stock dropped; CNN notes that “fell nearly 10% at one point on Wednesday and finished nearly 8% lower for the day.” But that likely wasn’t because investors didn’t like the publicity stunt, because CNN notes that “what more likely moved the stock was a retreat from a recent run-up after the company reported earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, and gave tepid comments about its outlook.”

The Wall Street Journal attributes agrees, citing “a disappointing conference call following its quarterly earnings report.” And although clearly the publicity stunt wasn’t enough to counter other reactions, the WSJ quotes from analysts who actually think the stunt was a good idea. One of them, ISI’s Omar Saad, wrote, “We applaud the decision to dissociate A&F brands from ‘The Jersey Shore’ characters. Especially overseas, this is a proactive step to help maintain the brand’s emerging position as the beacon of casual American luxury.”

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