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August 19, 2021

Is Abercrombie's threat to 'Jersey Shore' star just a PR stunt?

In a world where even Rod Blagojevich can get an endorsement deal, it doesn’t take much for a celeb to be associated with a product or service.

336833-336833-briefcase-full-of-money-with-clipping-path But the opposite of a paid spokesperson deal is when a brand feels their link with a particular person or group is so detrimental to business they order it stopped.

Remember: when Cristal maker Louis Roederer suggested to rappers that its champagne wasn’t for pimp cups or pouring on strippers, or that particularly nasty hoax from the ‘90s when Tommy Hilfiger was falsely rumoured to have said that, if he knew blacks and Asians were to wear his clothes, he never would have made them.

We have arrived, again, at an endorsement cease and desist, but one of dubious nature. According to an Abercrombie & Fitch press release, the trendy clothier has told Jersey Shore  star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing its clothes.

Certainly, we don’t know how many of MSN Money’s readers watch the bombastic MTV reality show, but “The Situation” has nonetheless reached B-level celebrity status outside the program.

*Bing: What celebrity earns the most each year from endorsements?

Though, apparently, the reality star’s connection with Abercrombie clothes (he wears them on the show) has proved irksome to the retailer. In a tersely worded release, A&F writes:

“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image … We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and the producers of MTV’s The Jersey Shore  to have the character wear an alternate brand.”

So, what we have here is a clothing company quite literally offering to pay a public figure to stop wearing its clothes. Fairly, to our best knowledge, unprecedented.

Of course, the Internet is already abuzz over the release (titled tongue-in-cheekily “a win-win situation") and sceptics think it’s quite obviously a sham, a PR gimmick to get people talking about Abercrombie & Fitch.

Surely, if it is, the above would suggest it’s been a success.

What do you think? Is Abercrombie’s PR team this savvy, or does the brand really want some reality TV star dope to stop wearing its clothes?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...