Abercrombie & Fitch ditches the abs

“We have moved away from sexualized marketing,” said Mackenzie Bruce, a spokeswoman for Abercrombie & Fitch told Adweek. “Today, our marketing has undergone a significant evolution. We are using mostly color images and are focused on showcasing product and trends.” (Creative Commons Archive)

Abercrombie & Fitch is the infamous teen brand that took middle schools in the nation by storm in the early 2000s. Come on, I know you remember it too. The faded polos in every color with the classic moose or the paper thin tee shirts with “ABERCROMBIE” plastered across the chest.

The washboard ab covered shopping bags and male models greeting you on your way into the store are so yesterday.

The brand is hoping to move away from its usual marketing strategies and gear its focus to the products in order to attract to a larger and more diverse audience.

“We have moved away from sexualized marketing,” said Mackenzie Bruce, a spokeswoman for Abercrombie & Fitch told Adweek. “Today, our marketing has undergone a significant evolution. We are using mostly color images and are focused on showcasing product and trends.”

The policies for its employees once included some of the following:

– No French-tip manicures.

– Only certain hair-styling products may be used to insure the natural beach vibe.

– No mustaches, sorry guys.

– You must be sexy. Plain and simple.

CEO Mike Jeffries retired in December 2014 after two decades with the company.

In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries admitted that his business was built around sex appeal.

“It’s almost everything,” Jeffries said. “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

Since Jeffries left the company, the brand has changed dramatically for the better:

– Plus sizes will soon be an option for customers.

– The scent of the Fierce cologne has been reduced by 25 percent (On behalf of the customers, thank you!)

– Removed louvres and blinds from 240 stores to give a brighter and more welcoming appearance.

– Began an anti-bullying campaign — which has a following of 750,000 teens.

The company also recently announced that it will no longer hire employees based on “body type or physical attractiveness.” Its dress code and guidelines for hair and makeup will also be less strict.

Abercrombie employees will now be referred to as “brand representatives” rather than “models”.

“It’s comeback is going to be a process,” Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Ramsden said in a Bloomberg Business interview. “We’ll fine-tune some things going forward. The important point is there’s a strong conviction we’re going down the right path.”

Follow Hailey Geller on Twitter @hgeller30


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