Abercrombie Offers to Pay Situation To Not Wear Its Clothes, Abercrombie Stock Goes Down Faster Than Snooki on SoCo

August 17th, 2011

So Abercrombie offered to pay Sitch not to wear its clothes:

We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.  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. 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.  We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response.”

Tim Sandefur had the best line:

The Coase Theorem at work Abercrombie & Fitch pays its neighbors to install smokestack scrubbers, or something like that.

The New York Law School Blog had a post about trademark infringement via tarnishment by Snooki:

The NY Post reports that Snooki has been seen wearing luxury handbags that have been provided by rival competitors.  That’s right, a bag manufacturer gives Snooki a rival’s bag in order to make it less desirable.  As the Post reports:

Meanwhile, in a twisted anti-branding campaign, Snooki has a closet full of designer bags, like the one in this picture — and the gifts are not from the actual purse makers, but their competitors, according to a report.

Bag makers are allegedly giving their competition’s products to Snooki so she brings a bad rep to that label.

I would love to try to run a case on tarnishment based on this fact pattern. And I know what I’m going to talk about in my Trademarks class tonight…

During a conference call, Abercrombie CEO egged on reporters to ask about Sitch:

About 45 minutes into the A&F quarterly earnings call Wednesday morning, after Wall Street analysts peppered executives with endless questions about inventory and gross margins, A&F Chief Executive Mike Jeffries chuckled. “Is no one going to ask about the Situation?” he said.

A few minutes later, a questioner acquiesced and asked for the back story on the situation, as it were. Last Friday, an employee approached Mr. Jeffries with what he called “terrible, terrible news” that Mr. Sorrentino had been wearing A&F product on the episode that aired the night before. “We all said, ‘Oh, that’s terrible’,” Mr. Jeffries recalled with a  groan. “What are we going to do about it?”

The solution the group came up with was to pay the reality star not to wear the product, Mr. Jeffries said, adding, “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

I thought it was a PR stunt, not serious, as does MTV:

“It’s a clever PR stunt and we’d love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest  youth audience on television,” a spokesperson for MTV said.

Shortly after that, Abercrombie’s stock tanked, kinda.

An hour later, fresh off the news of its strong second quarter earnings, Abercrombie’s stock price tanked, immediately opening the day at $66.23. . . .

But as fun as it may be to peg this as the reason for Abercrombie’s stock slide, it’s not. No, the market was reacting to a sentence buried in Jeffries’ report:

“Costing pressures will be greater in the second half of the year, and macroeconomic uncertainty has increased.”