Abercrombie’s CEO? How about CE-no?

In our current time and day, many companies encourage women to love themselves– not matter their size and shape. Who are we to say what figure is perfect? Dove recently came out with a commercial telling women that they are too harsh on themselves by hiring a forensics artist to draw the ladies according to how they describe themselves. The Body Shop also took a brave step in advertising away from the norm of skinny models, and explaining that not everyone should aspire to be stick thin. This being said, there are people who cannot seem to put on weight, and they get bullied for their weight too. Learning to love your own body is a challenge for almost everyone these days, and it poses a challenge for a lot of girls and boys growing up. It is a cause of great distress for many, and heck know I have faced negative comments about my appearance. But society is changing into becoming more accepting and moving away from a one-sided look on beauty.

And then you get Abercrombie/Hollister and their chain of retail stores.


Here are some quotes from Abercrombie’s (and their related retail stores and brands) CEO, Mike Jeffries:

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

“It’s almost everything. 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.”

They aim to exclude and attract ‘model’ teenagers. Their jean sizes go up to a size 10 and they do not sell XL clothing. To be honest, their large sizes are quite small too. So how about all those girls who cannot fit into their clothes yet are surrounded by classmates who can? Especially for a place like America, where this company is based, and depression is one of the most common mental health disorder. We really do not need a whole million dollar company standing for encouraging this kind of segregation.

Then there are the t-shirts they choose to print…

l for loser

Because calling gymnasts a loser makes you so cool. Sorry not everyone surfs. two-wongs

And as a Chinese, I love being portrayed with slant eyes.

I wonder how they get these designs approved.

I get that this is their point of differentiation, and their brand image has successfully been associated with beautiful people. A lot of the times, you cannot get into the store without squeezing past attractive guys with washboard abs, but you know what? I really do not care enough for their idea of beauty to shop at their stores anymore. I do not want to associate myself with what they stand for, and for that, I will no longer be buying anything from them.

Hey, but you can just write me off as another unattractive girl voicing her opinions.

– Karen
P.s. my marketing class is over, so this is in no way another one of my marketing blog post assignments. I just felt so strongly about voicing my thoughts on this that I made this post.


Marketing Post #1: Fuel The Day!…With False Advertising?

No matter how old you are, you must have had some sort of contact with Nutella: the chocolate hazelnut spread. Children and teens love it, and even adults indulge in it. Best of all, it is a chocolaty treat that is healthy, nutritious and an important part of a healthy breakfast! — At least according to Ferrero, the makers of Nutella. Sound too good to be true? Sadly, it is.

An outraged mother was shocked when she found out what she originally was led to believe was a healthy treat for her family turned out to have the “nutritional properties of a candy bar, with very high levels of refined sugar and saturated fat.” She then sued Ferrero (back in April, 2012), winning the claim.

Connie Evers, a consultant for Nutella was traced to be the source of the whole scandal: she began to depict the spread as a good breakfast companion for kids, misleading mothers to think it was as healthy as regular peanut butter, but was sure to be more attractive to their kids. This led to outrage, causing the company to have to quickly take action in attempts to ease discontent, and save their image.

My main concern for this issue is that children were pulled into this issue. There are commercials that not only show the satisfaction of other children their age consuming Nutella, but also made them believe this was healthy. This is unethical, and unacceptable, as children are too young to think beyond what is shown to them.

Appropriately, Nutella has settled the lawsuits with a $3 million (USD) payout, as well as promised they would stop labeling themselves as nutritious. However, it is obvious they still want to encourage their product as an essential breakfast companion (link to their Facebook page). Their new ads still suggests that it is a good spread, with no preservatives and colouring. So how exactly does this show that they are taking steps to mend their actions? Perhaps they believe they won’t need to. One can observe that a brand as strong as Nutella’s can easily move past the public’s scrutinizing gaze after a quick apology, and continue what they were doing.

Inspired by: 1, 2