Overpriced and over-hyped clothing brand Abercrombie and Fitch is battening down the hatches of its precious stores as hordes of unattractive, giant people fight to get their hands on tiny pieces of polyester…
My dickhead senses are picking something else up…
Oh! It’s actually the sound of a bad PR express train shunting into an already disenfranchised brand that seems intent on alienating a large portion of at least the American market, if not several others.
The American brand has long prided itself on being exclusively for the ‘totes gorge’ not the total gorgers of the world but this latest moronic outburst takes the biscuit.
I’ve taken some time to ponder the comments from CEO Mike Jeffries, relayed by co-author of The New Rules of Retail Robin Lewis (no doubt to promote the book itself. Lame.) and from a purely business stand point I can see why he thinks he’s onto a winner. Businesses need to appeal to certain demographics to succeed. Look what happened when M&S tried to be all things to all customers. But then I read them again. And again. And then once more just to be sure I had it right.
And I was still mad.
If thin can just about be defended as a demographic for the company, beautiful definitely can’t be. Beauty is subjective and means different things to different people. For Mr Jeffries it clearly means being an ugly-as-hell-on-the-inside human being who doesn’t really have the smarts when it comes to business planning. In the US the plus-size market (size 14+) is shopped by a whopping 67% of people. That’s one large slice of business pie both Abercrombie and his frat buddy Fitch aren’t interested in.
I once spent over TWO HOURS looking for their flagship London store with my eager sister because it’s too pretentious to have a flippin’ sign, then spent 45 minutes squinting at price tags in ‘mood’ lighting trying not to go deaf or trip over the scarily ripped workers I accidentally mistook for plastic. Unsurprisingly I came away empty-handed – presumably because, despite being 21 at the time, I wasn’t thin or beautiful enough to ‘get’ the brand. It all makes so much sense to me now.
So Mr Jeffries don’t worry about barricading the doors to your Mecca of Awesome. Us ugly chubsters will gladly brick it up from the outside – just make sure you’re in it.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR