Snobby no more

Abercrombie & Fitch has been, for years, a highly polarizing brand – kind of a “mean girls” brand.  Many teenagers loved it; many others loved to hate it.

However, in the face of plummeting sales, A&F yesterday launched a new marketing campaign. Gone are the brooding, shirtless dudes and snobbishness.  Now the message is inclusiveness.  There is even a new logo.  The store experience will change, too.  They will become much brighter and slightly less heavily scented.  Essentially, they are trying to become a “casual luxury” brand for people in their 20s who loved the brand as teenagers.

It may be a tough road for A&F.  Its rivals American Eagle and Hollister have already carved out their own inclusive images that young shoppers seem to find appealing.  Moreover, A&F isn’t necessarily a warm, fuzzy brand that a lot of people are inherently rooting for.  Many people who are in their 20s and 30s found the brand intimidating and exclusionary, while many teens just find it un-cool.

(The Wall St. Journal article above is behind a pay wall, so if interested you can listen to the Marketplace story about the new A&F here.)