Sex Sells ~ Abercrombie and Fitch

First off, this isn’t anything new. It’s not like Abercrombie and Fitch suddenly decided to quit making XXL clothing because they didn’t want to have fat people reppin’ their brand. They’ve been that way forever. Interestingly the people most up in arms about this seem to be the target market. The rich 18-22 year olds that are at preppy pretentious colleges. So the pretty people will boycott the brand, good for them, because the rest of us always gave it a pass.

Frequently, marketing is based on making something feel exclusive whether it is or not. You buy a brand to participate in the dream, whatever that dream may be, and sex sells. What they’re hawking is sex appeal, no more and no less – buff bodies sell period. The hit song “Call Me Maybe” uses Abercrombie models in Munich in a dance sequence in the video, did that make it go viral? No, but I bet it helped.

When I read about the exclusion of XXL my reaction was, wow, what brilliant marketing. It makes the skinny people feel special, and the fat ones feel excluded and want to be in with the in crowd – just like high school cafeteria. Have you seen Mike Jefferies? He’s botoxed and facelifted and it shows. The CEO of the fabulous tee-shirts for teens is using mean girl exclusionary tactics. Brilliant and despicable. What’s the big deal? In a Salon interview in 2006, Mike Jefferies, the CEO said the would never market to the women’s plus size market. “We want to market to cool, good looking people. We don’t want to market to anyone other than that.”

So he admitted his marketing strategy. That was in 2006 people, this isn’t news. Frankly, I’ve always thought of Abercrombie and Fitch as being somewhat generic, but then I’ve never set foot in one of their stores, or paid any serious attention to the brand, so I’m probably not the best judge. I could do it, but I just don’t have the lack of ethics required to pay seventy bucks for a tee-shirt where they pay maybe a tenth at best to manufacture the garment.

In 2010, Abercrombie and Fitch’s factory in the Philippines essentially shut down when the workers tried to unionize. As a company policy, they hire their retail floor salespeople shamelessly on looks as well as sales skill for the retail stores, and as an example their attitude on dress policy, a Muslim woman was fired for refusing to remove her head scarf at work. So, the company has more marks against it than just the XXL thing.

So, whatever – this just isn’t exactly news. If you want to do the right thing, research the brand you’re supporting and make sure your money is being well spent. We can do that now. We have the interwebs. Power to the people. Peace – out.

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