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Not-So-Cool Revenge: Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Gets Slammed For Biased Marketing (VIDEO)

By Hilda Scott , May 15, 2013 04:50 PM EDT
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In an effort to "re-brand" clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, a social media campaign called "Fitch the Homeless" launched Monday. In order to remove the current brand of exclusivity, a viral video on YouTube encourages people to donate their Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to the homeless.

This campaign comes as a response to comments to a recent article in Business Insider about A&Fs practice of excluding certain members of society when it comes to its brand. Abercrombie & Fitch targets only the "cool kids" in its marketing strategy, and the company's CEO encourages it.

A&F CEO Mike Jeffries admitted to excluding certain customers in a 2006 interview with Salon and he's perfectly okay with that.

"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," Jeffries said.

To keep this element of exclusivity alive in it brand, Abercrombie & Fitch purposely does not stock larger sizes for its women's clothing line. Plus-sized women do not fit into A&Fs ideal target, so its stores don't stock sizes XL or XXL for women.

"A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely," Jeffries said.

A&F's hiring practices also falls in line with its exclusion attitude. "That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores. 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," Jeffries said. 

Abercrombie is very choosey when it comes to who should wear its clothes and will do whatever it takes to protect the brand it's established. Back in 2011, after spotting a pair of its F sweatpants on an MTV reality TV show, A&F took action. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the clothing company offered to pay Jersey Shore cast member, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to not wear its brand.

"We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans," Abercombie said in a statement.

The new "Fitch the Homeless" campaign video mocking the Abercrombie brand has already gone viral and aims to tarnish the brand's image. Greg Karber encourages everyone to gather all the A&F clothing they can from their own closet or from friends and neighbors and donate them to a local homeless shelter. Check out the YouTube video for Fitch the Homeless below:

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