Abercrombie & #Fitchthehomeless
(6 pages of text)
In early May 2013, Abercrombie & Fitch, a high-end clothing retailer in the United States, faced a loss of consumer confidence in its brand after quotes made by its CEO in an interview seven years earlier resurfaced. His remarks fostered the perception that the company was prejudiced against overweight people. In response, angry consumers released a YouTube video entitled #FitchTheHomeless urging people to donate their Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to homeless individuals. This video went viral and inspired negative feedback towards the company from both social media networks and mainstream media outlets. Abercrombie & Fitch’s first response came 12 days later with a second apology issued the following week. Nonetheless, the controversy continued, and by June, Forbes announced that the company’s BrandIndex Impression was at an all year low. How can Abercrombie & Fitch reverse the negative feedback and regain its consumers’ loyalty?
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- How quickly should a company respond to negative feedback on social media and what is the best response?
- What is the role of social media in causing and stoking a crisis over a brand?
- When should a company respond to social pressure to change its brand image and, in the fact of a crisis of confidence in the brand, what changes should be made to its strategy and brand management for the future?
As this case deals with viral and social media, consumer backlash, public relations and brand image, it is suitable to use as part of a university undergraduate or graduate course in marketing, public relations or strategy to address these issues.
United States, Large, 2013
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