In a release yesterday, Abercrombie & Fitch announced it doesn't want Jersey Shore's Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to wear its clothes because of the negative image he could be portraying about the brand.
The clothes company believes The Situation's party habits may upset consumers, so in order to stop the MTV star from wearing its clothes, Abercrombie is offering him and his cast mates a substantial amount of money.
Asking The Situation to stop wearing its clothes could help the Abercrombie brand, but it could also hurt the company, as many teenagers and young adults watch Jersey Shore and revere the characters on the show. Or maybe it will just distract attention from the company's plunging share price after management gave analysts a cautious assessment of its prospects over the next quarter.
Perhaps Abercrombie is being cautious with its image as it has not always been portrayed in the best light in the media. In 2002, Asian Americans were upset about a line of Abercrombie T-shirts that they say negatively depicted stereotypes of their community. The shirts featured phrases like, “"Wong Brothers Laundry Service: Two Wongs Can Make It White” and "Wok-n-Bowl, Chinese Food and Bowling,” along with images of slanty-eyed cartoon figures.
A year later, in December, the company pulled its A&F Quarterly catalog, which featured nude models and received a hefty amount of controversial press. Abercrombie claims it did not discontinue the catalog because of the negative media commentary.
And in December 2005, the company worked with Fenton Communications to push positive female messages and improve its relationship with the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania after the organization protested a line of shirts that said “"Who Needs Brains When You Have These?"