There has been a lot of controversy over the brand Abercrombie & Fitch in the past 10 years with regards to their current advertisement strategy. Abercrombie has taken the phrase “sex sells” to a whole new level with their over the top advertisement campaigns featuring half naked young woman and men who in some cases push the limits of conventional allowable nudity and free speech.
In 2003, a group of concerned parents and other individuals complained that the Christmas catalog released by A&F was far too provocative for public consumption. The catalog contained over 100 images of partial nudity of young adult models. It also featured suggestive homoerotic imagery which offended many of the nation’s far right and Christian groups. Abercrombie and Fitch claims that their brand is marketed towards college age individuals above the age of 18. However, studies have revealed that in many cases the company’s most popular market demographic is individuals much younger than college age.
In fact, the strategy of “sex sells” in marketing, may have brought Abercrombie success despite controversy in the past, however many people are growing weary of this brand according to recent surveys. In 2008, a ChangeWave survey revealed that Abercrombie was the store that consumers were most likely not to shop at again in the future. OVerall the biggest objection expressed by these consumers was to the company’s image and the moral message it projects.
Overall, Abercrombie and Fitch has had mixed success and failure as a result of marketing its products by means of sexual provocation. Any marketing campaign that crosses the perceived lines of morality amongst potential consumers is always a long term risk.