'The Situation' With One Brand

August 17, 2011

There’s good publicity, and there’s bad publicity, with the latter of the two obviously not being the preferred option.

The clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch has been known for stretching the limits and getting publicity over the years, albeit they’ve probably gotten more negative than they’d like to, but they’ve hit a situation that has provoked almost immediate action.

And actually, this wasn’t just any normal situation, it was The Situation, as in, the guy from the Jersey Shore.

A recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Abercrombie & Fitch Offers to Pay The Situation to Stop Wearing Its Clothes” highlights that the “Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is offering to pay Michael The Situation Sorrentino not to wear its merchandise.”

The article goes on to say that “Last Friday, an employee approached Mr. Jeffries [Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief executive] with what he called ‘terrible, terrible news’ that Mr. Sorrentino had been wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch product on the episode that aired the night before. ‘We all said, “Oh, that’s terrible,”‘ Mr. Jeffries recalled with a groan. ‘What are we going to do about it?'”

The solution the group came up with was to pay the reality star not to wear the product, Mr. Jeffries said, adding, “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

I personally think Abercrombie pulled a nice one with this little stunt and made somewhat of a positive out of a potential negative impact on the brand. Why? Two primary reasons: (1) they received major publicity in the Wall Street Journal and (2) created some space between the brand and The Situation.

What might they have done to take the offer a step further? Offer to pay The Situation to wear Ed Hardy, of course.