Like all savvy reality TV, famous-for-no-good-reason stars, the cast of The Jersey Shore has capitalized on their pseudo star-power, attaching their names to brands for cash. Usually endorsement deals involve wearing, or drinking, or bronzing with a certain product, but teeny-bopper clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch has turned the tables, reports The Speakeasy's Elizabeth Holmes. "Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is offering to pay Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino not to wear its merchandise." Is the company really concerned that the widely watched guidos are flashing their brand to their devoted Ambercrombie & Fitch wearing viewers? No, the company is obviously doing it for attention, of which they've gotten a lot. But unfortunately it looks like their efforts have backfired, as much of the press points out their nonsensical reasoning and attention grab.
People see through A&F's offer. The real reason Abercrombie has called to ban the brand from the MTV star's bronzed body is obvious, argues The Cut's Amy Odell. "Oh Abercrombie is loving this, especially since every blog from here to Mars won't be able to resist running that press release today." People used to rail against the company's inappropriate models, but then moms got over it and the chatter died down. They miss the attention. Was A&F even pretending to be serious? Women's Wear Daily wonders: "It wasn’t clear whether the offer was a serious one, or simply a tongue-in-cheek attempt to gain publicity."
Why is the ploy so transparent? Well, the clothing store's claim of a brand disconnect is where things stop being believable. The company statement titled "A Win-Win Situation" explains A&F's reasoning: "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." But only a year ago the company released a "Fituation" shirt as a part of their humor tee line, recalls Vulture's Caroline Bankoff. Even The Situation thinks that's a sign of their compatibility. "Abercrombie & Fitch, their most popular shirt, they told me, is 'Fitchuation.' I mean, where did they get that from? Obviously from myself," he told New York Magazine.
Not only have critics noted the previous Jersey Shore-Abercrombie & Fitch collaboration, but the store's image aligns pretty well with The Situation's. It's not like Abercrombie is above nudity. A shirtless Situation isn't all that different than their naked models and skimpy apparel, argues Women's Wear Daily. "After all, A&F is the retailer whose catalogues of shirtless (and sometimes bottomless) male models used to generate squeals of complaint." They are all about shirtless men with six packs. LA Times Media reporter Joe Flint put it well in this tweet. "Sorry, but every time I walk by Abercrombie store it seems to me Situation is perfect example of what store is all about now."
But maybe they're of the "all press is good press" school, in which case: You're welcome, Abercrombie. Even we are giving you some media love.