So it turns out that the Abercrombie/Situation Payoff was a publicity stunt.

August 18th, 2011

That’s exactly what I thought it was. From, of all places, The Times!

Michael S. Jeffries, Abercrombie’s chairman and chief executive, said on Wednesday that the company was “having a lot of fun” with the proposed payoff, which analysts and MTV characterized as a publicity stunt — even if a pretty good one for a slow day in August. . . .

Jordan Yospe, a lawyer who handles product-placement deals in movies and television shows, said that if Abercrombie were serious about keeping its clothing off the Situation, it would have pursued legal options rather than offering him money. . . . “They could try to prevent the series from airing their intellectual property without their permission,” said Mr. Yospe, a lawyer at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Los Angeles. Logos and labels fall under fair-use law, he said, and shows have to get approval from the owner of the intellectual property to use them. . . . That’s why on so many low-end reality shows, brands are often blurred, Mr. Yospe said — the shows either could not or did not try to get approval. Abercrombie “could say, ‘Blur ’em,’ ” if they really wanted to sever the association, Mr. Yospe said.

. . .

However, in issuing a news release instead, Abercrombie seemed pleased to fan the flames. And MTV played along on Wednesday. “It’s a clever P.R. 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,” it said in an e-mail.

Shrewd move.