NEW YORK: Fenton Communications has been working with members of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania (WGFSP) to push retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to include more positive messages about women in its clothing.
The teenage girls, part of WGFSP's Allegheny Girls as Grantmakers group, first staged a "girlcott" of the clothing manufacturer last month to protest t-shirts with slogans such as "Who Needs Brains When You Have These?"
A&F responded by pulling some of the most offensive shirts off the shelves and agreed to meet with the girls to discuss alternatives.
Heather Arnet, executive director of WGFSP, said the group consulted Fenton to deal with the initial media firestorm that ensued and to set priorities.
"They have the consideration and knowledge of the issues," she said. "It was just a really great marriage."
Fenton increased its media outreach a bit last week, when the girls met with A&F executives to propose ideas for t-shirts with more positive messages.
Cathy Renna, media relations director for Fenton, said she arranged for a reporter from The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette to travel with the girls on a bus to A&F's New Albany, OH headquarters.
"We certainly maintained contact with key journalists," she said. "There's nothing that journalists like more than to get the end of the story, to follow it through."
Arnet said the girls proposed shirts with messages such as "All This and Brains to Match" and "Beauty Comes From Within and I'm Gorgeous."
As the girls wait to hear whether A&F will use their ideas, Arnet noted that there is still more work to be done.
"Part of where we're looking to Fenton to help us is taking this media moment and figuring out how we continue to tell the bigger story," she said.