Case Study of Wrong: Abercrombie & Fitch

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales, Social media by Vaughn Highfield

Abercrombie & Fitch

Case Study of Wrong is a light-hearted look at a particular company or brand that has done something to alienate customers or damage its reputation. Ultimately: don't do what they've done!

Abercrombie & Fitch, the fashion clothing brand that's been running since 1892, has performed something of a faux pas recently when it's chairman and CEO Michael S. Jeffries  proclaimed that they won't ever make plus size clothes for women.

The brand also stumbled on another key consumer point by revealing that any damaged or faulty clothes are burned instead of donated to charity like many other brands do.

The reasoning?

To keep it out of the hands of the poor and homeless, instead allowing it to remain pure and for the elite.

Those aren't the only eugenics-sounding comments Jeffries has made, stating that A&F only go after "the cool kids."

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," said Jeffries. "Candidly we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong, and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

It must be said that Jeffries should be acknowledged for his forthrightness on such an issue – one that many other CEOs would have skirted around.

Was it the right thing to do though?

Probably not.

As you can imagine, there are pockets of people online outraged by such a stance in a clothing brand that associates itself so candidly with a certain subsection of society they deem ‘beautiful people'.

It's also terrible to see and hear a company so obsessed with its image that it goes against some of the pure basics of human morals. It shuns charity and helping others in favour of pushing forth its own agenda in an attempt to propel itself to god-like standing in the fashion world. Something that's unlikely to happen for a high-street retailer who's main hook are pubescent teens and 30 year olds who wish they still were pubescent teens.

Jeffries' actions have now spurred an online campaign (video below) to boycott the clothing brand, while also donating any A&F clothes that you own or find to homeless people.

While this may seem as exploitive of the homeless in what is essentially a viral marketing campaign, at least deserved people are benefiting from the firm two fingers up at Abercrombie & Fitch.

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