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Abercrombie and Fitch Knows Who They Are Selling To

05/20/2013

johntravoltaAbercrombie and Fitch has been in the news quite a lot lately.

Much of the exposure could be perceived as negative – or is it?

First, the hoopla stems from an interview CEO Mike Jeffries gave to Salon in 2006. That’s right – seven years ago. There Jeffries made this statement when responding to a question about sex appeal, “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

Jeffries does not say anything about not selling their product to people who are overweight or fat. But the media has made that connection and people feel offended.

We’re not defending Jeffries or Abercrombie and Kent. Frankly their product is so far my personal radar I have no opinion about the product – unless you get me started on how the current ownership has massacred the Abercrombie and Kent brand.

But we do have a perspective on the overall brouhaha:

  1. What Is Said Online Matters – The fact Jeffries comment is 7 years old seems to be irrelevant to the issue as well as to those who are making noise about it. Social media, interviews, blogs (like this one), etc. leave a digital voice print. Be mindful of what is said online.
  2. Know Your Target Audience – This is an essential part of our services at Thought-Tech. We admire the fact Jeffries has a clear vision of who Abercrombie and Kent is targeting.
  3. Tailor The Definition Of Your Target Audience – Smooth out the statement so it is not perceived as offensive. Exclusivity is fine, just don’t wrap it in snootiness.
  4. There Will Always Be Cool And Uncool Kids – Abercrombie and Kent or Mike Jeffries did not invent coolness and exclusionary behavior in children. It’s possible his company’s products facilitated it but social behavior starts early and is molded by the peers and family of every child. For those parents who are outraged about Abercrombie and Kent…perhaps they should take stock of what they’ve done to help make their kids either uncool or cool

As Jeffries’ statement blew up in the last week or so he said that his “7-year-old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context,” but did admit that the brand “targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers.”

Like it or not – knowing who you are selling to is imperative in business today. Gone are the days of throwing something up on the wall to see if it sticks. To that point Abercrombie and Kent is on target.

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