Abercrombie & Fitch just released its first campaign since its rebranding under new creative director of marketing Ashley Sargent Price, who was poached from J. Crew earlier in April this year. The denim campaign, photographed by Matt Jones, is a complete departure from A&F's famed era of hyper sexualized black and white shirtless models, and instead focuses on a cleaner, sophisticated and playful approach.
Gone are the days of bad lighting in stores, its signature Fierce cologne and the alluring shirtless guy at the door greeting you as you walk in. As with most rebrands, it takes quite a while for these changes to resonate with customers. In the first quarter of 2016, sales decreased by 4% overall, 8% at A&F while Hollister performed a bit better at 0%.
But the question remains: is this rebrand worth it? Sure, the store ambience, smells and advertising might not have been to everyone's taste, but it was certainly a strong and unique brand identity. Abercrombie & Fitch was, at least until 2012-13, a brand that lots of teenagers looked up to and wanted to be associated with to seem 'cool'. Perhaps what was crippling the brand was mainly its bad press, and not its marketing. Without its elements of 'cool', A&F risks positioning itself with the likes of American Eagle Outfitters or GAP - just another regular clothing store.
See the campaign below, courtesy of Abercrombie & Fitch: