Intellectual Property Use or Public Relations?

Earlier this week, Abercrombie and Fitch decided that MTV’s reality show, “Jersey Shore” offered to pay the cast to never where its’ clothes on air again.   In a news release , the company reported that “This association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans.”

Brand Disassociation or a PR Stint?
Brand Disassociation or a PR Stint?

Interestingly enough, in a case like this, the owner of the brand could try to prevent the show from airing A & F’s intellectual property without their permission.  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.  And that’s why, in so many low budget shows, the labels are often blurred.

And that’s why this whole story, seems like more of a PR stunt than anything else, and a good one at that.  The initial story came out a day before the company was scheduled to release its earnings t along with an analysts conference call.  And on the call, the head of A&F, Michael S. Jeffries even inquired as to whether anyone was going to bring up the “Situation” on the call.

A well-planned PR stunt?  I think so.  Especially if you consider that this event puts the company top of mind as parents and teen-agers shop for back-to-school fashions.  Still, Abercrombie’s stock fell more than 8 percent on Wednesday, dropping $6.15 a share to close at $64.87.  But so did a lot of other stocks fall considerably that day.  A decent PR stunt I would say.  What do you think?

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