shirtless drill

I have never stepped inside an Abercrombie and Fitch store. Sadly, I’m too old to pull it off.

They’ve built a brand around a certain look. Their marketing reflects the shirtless chiseled male — a.k.a. the “Abercrombie look” (which sadly, I also cannot pull off)

Last Saturday, an improv group of 111 men of all shapes and sizes shopped shirtless in the Abercrombie and Fitch store on 5th Avenue in New York. The customers and even the employees apparently thought it was great. The management of the store did not. You can read more about the event here.

Now this was a stunt, but it reflected the brand that A+F tries to cultivate. It was a fun thing that the other customers in the store were enjoying. There was a great opportunity for positive PR had the management worked with it. But they squished it. The most disturbing part of the story in the link above is how the security pulled one of the participants away from the cash registers as he was handing over his credit card to purchase an overpriced shirt.

Here’s the question you need to ask yourself: If a large group of people came into your business today and tried to participate in your brand, how would your management react?

In addition to conducting fire drills and severe weather drills, your business should be conducting “branding drills” and “PR drills”.

Here’s video of the event:

2 thoughts on “shirtless drill”

  1. Reminds me of David Letterman pranks. Every so often The Late Show team gets people–usually in silly costumes–to “invade” a nearby retail storefront, coffee shop, or restaurant. Dave watches via remote cam and directs first one, then multiples of people into the establishment. I’ve yet to see any managers not “get it.” Customers seem to enjoy it; occasionally one immediately recognizes what’s going on and waves blindly out the window. Free publicity on a huge scale and an unexpected chuckle…what’s not to love? Silly Abercrombie and Fitch!

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