Brand wars: Jersey Shore vs Abercrombie & Fitch. Round 1

19 Aug

Boxing round 1 card girlWhen Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay the members of that trashy show Jersey Shore NOT to wear their gear, it was the first punch in what should shape up to be a tasty brand scrap.

A&F complains that the reality show is “contrary to the aspirational nature of the brand” (more on that) and that their brand is undermined by appearing in the series.

Interesting area.

First off, who the eff do they think they’re kidding. Didn’t A&F sell their clothes last year with JS branding on them?

Secondly, a brand is not defined by who uses it. The brand helps define the user.

Consider Apple. If only smart geeks in jeans with all their hair were encouraged to buy a Mac, what would their market share be? That’s what aspiration is all about. People aspire to be as cool and casual as Justin Long, but that’s the market’s aspiration, not the brand’s.

Brands aren’t aspirational. They’re fixed.

The real issue here seems to be that the Jersey Shore brand is stronger than the Abercrombie & Fitch brand and that’s why they’re whining.

You can expect those fake and bake Jersey Shore actors to be covering themselves in A&F gear just to torment them. First round to Jersey Shore.

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11 Responses to “Brand wars: Jersey Shore vs Abercrombie & Fitch. Round 1”

  1. Yukari Peerless (@YukariP) August 19, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    “The real issue here seems to be that the Jersey Shore brand is stronger than the Abercrombie & Fitch brand and that’s why they’re whining.” – Too true.

  2. Doug Brown August 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    It’s pretty amazing to me that this company wants to control who uses their product! It will backfire…no question about it. Thanks for the comment Yukari.

  3. Bertha August 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    To me, the fact that A&F wants to control who uses their brand is not very surprising (If I owned A&F or any clothing line for that matter I would be very angered that my work painted the backs of that type of ‘class’). The fact that put that into action and actually offered them money not to, is surprising. And quite funny might I add.

    I think in some cases the brand can become defined by its users. If enough of the same type of people start wearing the brand, I think it has the potential to change peoples opinions on that brand, especially if they do not yet have a strong brand opinion on the product.

  4. Doug Brown August 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    And that’s the key Bertha: “if they do not yet have a strong brand opinion”. I don’t imagine that A&F want their users to evolve their brand in any direction because they have a strong sense of what their brand is all about. It is quite funny (in a tragicomedy sort of way) that they offered money. Thought-provoking comment!

  5. tomhammarberg August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Perhaps the issue for A&F is where this could lead?

    It reminds me of what the British upmarket clothing brand Burberry went through in the UK. In the 90’s their aspirational clothing stared appearing on the terraces in football grounds. Soon, markets in run down areas were flooded with pirated garments.

    As Bertha notes, the public perception of the brand was changed.
    Burberry became the uniform of Chavs, (anti-social & violent teenagers).

    Burberry took steps to distance itself from the stereotype. It ceased production of its own branded baseball cap and scaled back the use of its trademarked checkered design to the extent that it only appeared on inner linings and very low-key positions on their clothing.

    It looks like A&F are trying to stop the degradation while it is still manageable.

  6. Doug Brown August 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Interesting comparison Tom. I think the difference is that Burberry didn’t come out with a Football Hooligan line and then bemoan the fact they were being worn in the stadiums. A&F went after this market aggressively and then felt taken over by it.

    From the outside, it seems that Burberry managed to rescue its brand. Is that true?

  7. Marlene McLean August 20, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Looking at the big picture…. seems like A&F got a lot of free publicity

  8. Doug Brown August 20, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    They did Marlene true. But their stock value also dropped by 9% in a day. So one questions whether the publicity was actually free. Cheers!

  9. Amy August 20, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    When I first heard this, I smelled a rat. This seems like a really stupid move on the part of A&F (and yes, I know that’s giving them credit for smarts that they don’t deserve).
    If I were one of the members of Jersey Shore (thank everything that is holy that I’m not) I would wear only A&F clothing from head to toe. If they buy clothes with their (MTV’s) own money, the A&F doesn’t have anything to say about it.

  10. Doug Brown August 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Yeah that’s where I netted out too Amy. I think the Joisy Shore gang oughta totally kit themselves out in A&F gear just to drive the retailer nuts. Didn’t A&F imagine that as a likely outcome from dissing the actors?? This is just one major miscalculation.

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