Blog: A&F blacklists Jersey Shore star
Petah Marian | 17 August 2011
While most fashion houses are willing to pay celebrities exorbitant sums to get them into their clothing, Abercrombie & Fitch may be making a serious mistake in saying it will pay a Jersey Shore cast member to stop wearing its label.
The apparel retailer says it is "deeply concerned" that Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino's association with the brand could cause "significant damage to our image".
"We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans. We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and the producers of MTV's The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand," a spokesperson said.
With a brand's perception key to its success, designers have always looked to control which celebrities wear their clothes, although this is one of the most overt displays of a brand trying to distance itself from a less than flattering link.
Back when Victoria Beckham was still referred to as Posh Spice, she was considered a liability for designers, with PRs saying they dreaded seeing her in their clothes. And there were always whispers within that she, and most of the WAGs, suffered the indignity of buying their clothes at retail as designers would refuse to loan to them.
All of this, however, was confined to hushed tones and industry gossip. As Beckham's taste evolved and, with her own brand, become a credible designer in her own right, it became clear she had been underestimated by the industry.
While fellow Jersey Shore cast-member JWOWW has launched her own clothing-line, it's unlikely that she or any members the cast will rise to the same stellar hights as Beckham.
However, it does seem surprising that Abercrombie & Fitch would risk alienating the 4.8m potential customers that watch Jersey Shore each week, by telling them in such an overt manner that they don't want them wearing its clothing.
An amusing PR stunt, perhaps, but one that has the potential to really misfire.
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