Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Abercrombie’s Latest R-Rated Gambit

I'm beginning to think that Mike Jeffries is letting his penchant for controversy get in the way of his good sense. I say this because Jeffries, the 62-year-old CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, is a micro-manager of his company’s various brands. By all accounts, not a thing gets by him when it comes to shaping the brand experience for customers. So there is little doubt in my mind that the Web site for Abercrombie’s latest brand—an intimate apparel concept called Gilly Hicks Sydney—was not launched without his input and full approval. The site contains video that is nothing less than soft porn.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m no prude. And I knew that Abercrombie, a company that has never left much to the imagination would likely get carried away in its new role as an underwear marketer to teens. The retailer also is a master at self promotion.

The new site’s landing page asks the question: “Are you old enough? Our site shows a lot of skin. Therefore, you must be at least 18 years old to enter this site.” After that, an age verification screen pops up. But as any kid or teen knows, such firewalls are a joke. The one on Gilly Hicks is no exception. It’s easily defeated. My friend has already seen her 13-year-old daughter and her friends ogling the sexy clip. Once on the site, Abercrombie certainly delivers on its promise, with video that show a bevy of young gals and guys (but mostly gals) frolicking with each other on the beach.

The video is beautifully filmed, and the models are attractive to the max, the girls golden and the guys super fit. But as the clip goes on, they are also quite naked, with lots of bare breasts and backsides in full view. What’s most upsetting is that they are naked just for the sake of being naked. The video certainly isn’t selling anything—unless it’s sex. That would be less objectionable if the targeted audience was adults. But it’s not. It’s young teens. And the last thing this group needs, at least in my mind, is some adult R-rated fantasy. There’s got to be a better way of selling underwear.

Check out the video at I welcome all feedback; I'm curious to hear what you think.

—Marianne Wilson,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Abercrombie & Fitch is doing better and better this year, hope they will give us more suprise

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