It’s time to play a game of “Where Are They Now”? When we were in grade school it was that one weird-looking kid who always got picked on every day. Do you remember that kid? You know that one kid who’s lunch money got stolen every day, swirly’ed during bathroom breaks, always picked last for kick ball, and chased home. We all assume that “loser” kid would grow up to become an even bigger loser. But every now and again the school loser vows to grow up and become rich and power to create whatever cool circle they very well please to bully their own “outsider”. Well I found one of the loser kids. Allow me to re-introduce you to the all grown-up Mike Jeffries, the loser who grew up to be the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch and apparently says “dude” a lot.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” Jeffries told Salon.
The 68-year-old CEO has turned A&F stores’ marketing plan into his own personal inner-circle (including scantily clad blondes), skipping over his Columbia University education and going straight to the playground. Oh I wasn’t joking about the blondes either.
Jeffries told Salon “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Yup straight from the loser’s mouth he only wants attractive people in his stores. Oh and GOD help you if you’re a FAT unattractive person. Little Mikie’s co-author Robin Lewis, of his book “The New Rules of Retail”, told Business Insider about the type of customers Mikie wants on the A&F playground.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
I can’t help but laugh. I keep thinking about that loser kid getting swirly’ed. I can’t even take lil’ Mikie’s comments serious. This isn’t about a brand having a “preference”. This so-called marketing plan is just the opinion of ONE immature man who obviously didn’t get his Varsity Jacket and now wants to live out his life in a Justin Bieber video. Hey, Michael Jackson had his NeverLand ranch and our little ole Mikie have Abercrombie & Fitch. In all seriousness Jeffries self-imposed marketing strategy will only hurt his bottom line in the end. A&F accommodates up to size 10 with over 62% of the population being over a size 12. The competition sizing up to a size 18 so Jeffries is has an even smaller margin to work with. Numbers doesn’t lie and who likes a cool dude with no money?
The comments from the CEO were distasteful, discriminatory, immature, a form of bullying, fat shaming, and an obvious sign of being out of touch with reality. But after I saw a photo of our lil’ Mikie I started feeling bad for the fella. All I can say now is U-G-L-Y, You Ain’t Got No Alibi…
Digital Marketing Expert (15yrs+). Editor of CURVY Magazine. Award Winning Producer. Geek. Stylenista.