You would think that the most popular reality T.V. show among young people would be a dream outlet for PR execs to pitch a product made for young people. Well, this is not the case if that show is MTV's The Jersey Shore. Not long ago, one of Gucci's rival fashion houses allegedly sent some Gucci bags to Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in order to make Gucci look bad. Now, Abercrombie & Fitch is trying to pay Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino to NOT wear their clothes. An Abercrombie rep said, "We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our 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 offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino [...] to have the character wear an alternate brand..."
This is mildly funny coming from the long controversial company that publishes an annual winter catalogue featuring naked teenagers... I don't know about you, but I think the potential repercussions of Abercrombie's request could be equally (if not more) damaging than "The Situation" occasionally wearing one of Abercrombie's preppy polos or tees.
I think you might agree that the old adage “sex sells” has been taken a little too closely to heart by many advertisers. But, we ask, is this technique something we just suppose works? Or, is there a more scientific reason behind why so many advertisers choose to take their creative efforts down this road?
We have all seen much of the brouhaha lately in the press about some companies and their strategies for reaching target audiences with blatant sexual messaging. Most notable is Abercrombie & Fitch, which generally features suggestive posses by teen models wearing only very little of the product(s) they're selling. Recently, they got in trouble for marketing padded, push-up bikini tops to children as young as eight years old.
Walmart has gotten in on the act, creating a new line of cosmetics directed at this group with "GeoGirl" makeup. Items in the line include SWAK (Sealed With a Kiss) lip treatment and T2G (Time To Go) facial cleanser.
All of this makes Celia Rivenbark's 2006 book "Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank" much more apropos, doesn't it?