.. rcrombie use of sexually overt material with athletic, privileged-looking, semi-clad co-eds is used in every aspect of its marketing communication strategy. Because of the consistency of Abercrombie’s communication messages, Abercrombie’s advisements and promotions are easily identified. Furthermore, the opposition to Abercrombie’s communications strategy and associated materials has actually enhanced the effectiveness of Abercrombie’s marketing communications. Abercrombie has come to be seen as more exclusive and cool because of the rebellion and controversy.
Despite Abercrombie’s well-integrated and highly publicized marketing campaign, Abercrombie may reconsider the magazines in which it advertises. For example, the average age of a Vanity Fair reader is 37, while the target market for Abercrombie clothes is 18-22 year olds. Abercrombie has orchestrated a well-targeted, hard-hitting marketing mix for its audience. All of the elements have built up and support the brand equity and prestige. The magazine selection may not be the precise target audience, but does lend credence to the aspirational implications of the brand.
The lack of abundant promotions indicates that Abercrombie merchandise is purchased more for nonprice attributes and benefits. WEB SITE ANALYSIS The web site of Abercrombie consists of six sections: Abercrombie Lifestyle, Insider, Mail Call, ANFMail, Site Map, and Shop Online. The majority of the information on the site is focused on entertainment and image rather than on shopping or sales directly. Lifestyle provides users with MP3 downloads of new music, electronic post cards, screen savers, and links to other sites with extreme sports and film information. Customers can get email accounts through ANFMail or watch quick time movies on AbercrombieTV.
Additional information on the site includes job opportunities, store locations, FAQ, credit card applications, and feedback opportunities through email. Finally, customers can shop online and use the mix and match capabilities to assemble outfits. Customers are also able to input profile information in a secure online database. The imagery and mood of the site is consistent with that of Abercrombie’s physical locations and other marketing communications tools. The company website offers downloadable, toned-down images similar to those found in the free catalogue.
The site is fairly easy to navigate and, depending on the age and sex of the customer, has some rather attractive images to peruse. Images load quickly and there is plenty of white space to avoid confusion. The content is well organized and interesting, considering the target group. The customer does not need to click too many times to access information. Shopping online is easy to complete and the customer is not forced to become a member, but can instead always sign in as a guest.
Products are easy to find by searching via product number or type of clothing and sex. To compete with its competitors such as The Gap and J. Crew online, Abercrombie & Fitch must increase the focus on shopping on its site. A key method to accomplish this goal would be through cross-promotion. For example, J.
Crew provides its catalog and brick and mortar customers with incentives, such as free hats, to try the web for online ordering. The Gap assists customers in purchasing items in its physical locations online if they are out of stock at the store. Both J. Crew and The Gap have actively cross-promoted between their Internet and their physical presences. It is important for Abercrombie to recognize that in combination with its current strategy, it must use their website to build their base of customers ordering online. At present, Abercrombie is providing its target group with a wealth of interesting information that will drive them to the site and increase the brand recognition of the company.
It has established links with various music companies and extreme sport retailers. All of the content is effectively targeted towards both males and females. Its concepts are fresh and innovative, and continue its brick and mortar look of attractive young people who are obviously active. While Abercrombie’s website is easy to navigate and fits well with its integrated marketing communications plan, the company is not taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by an Internet presence. Unfortunately, evidence of cross-promotion is lacking.
However, the site does provide users with information, which makes the tasks of the company sales representatives easier. Additionally, the site is reinforcing the Abercrombie & Fitch brand once again with its distinctive photographic images and hip content. CONCLUSION Abercrombie & Fitch is well positioned for the future, however it is necessary for them to continue to move forward in their efforts to maintain a new, trendy image. In the face of controversy, Abercrombie’s advertising stands out to an audience that has been exposed to a lot of noisy ads. The extreme nature of shockvertising is what gets Abercrombie noticed and the constant image of their integrated marketing communications lifts the Abercrombie brand above the clutter. In short, Abercrombie completed 97.4% of their 1999 sales in their brick and mortar locations. They should jump on opportunities for increased e-retailing.
In this period of rapid electronic retailing expansion, Abercrombie & Fitch must realize the synergies with their catalogs in order to compete in the long term. Abercrombie could take advantage of their current catalog business and expand their customer base with increased presence at prestigious college events. Print advertisement placement could also be reconsidered so that ads are better positioned at the target. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY www.Abercrombie.com www.jcrew.com www.gap.com http://yahoo.marketguide.com Abercrombie & Fitch, Co. 1999 10-K Bryant, Adam, Fashion’s Frat Boy, Newsweek, September 13, 1999. Cuneo, Alice Z., Abercrombie Helps Revive Moribund Brand Via Frat Chic, Advertising Age, September 14, 1998.
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