Product placement in movies and television has been a popular form of advertising for many years. Companies aim to convince the public to use a certain product, eat at a certain restaurant, or shop at a certain store by showing a familiar character doing so. Lately, retail clothing store Abercrombie and Fitch aimed to do the opposite by paying the cast of the reality show Jersey Shore NOT to wear its clothing. Will this deal help to repair Abercrombie’s image, or did the Jersey Shore cast even do any damage in the first place?
In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, only 7% of respondents admitted to watching Jersey Shore regularly. An additional 12.7% said they watch it occasionally, and 65.1% said that they are familiar with the show and its cast, though they don’t ever actually watch it.
As for Abercrombie and Fitch, 81.5% of respondents said they never shop there, while 17.2% shop there on occasion, and only 1.2% shop there regularly.
Celebrities and Brands
How much do celebrities actually influence the average person’s shopping habits? 83.5% of respondents said that celebrities would never have an effect on the products they chose to buy or not to buy. Some said they would be affected in a positive way; 10% said they would be more likely to buy a product if they saw a celebrity they liked using it, and 8.2% said they might be more likely to buy a product if it was officially endorsed by a celebrity they trusted. Even fewer respondents said they would be affected in a negative way; only 5.7% said they would be less likely to buy a product if they saw a celebrity they didn’t like using it.
So was the cast of Jersey Shore actually hurting Abercrombie and Fitch’s public image by wearing its clothing on the show? 12.5% said that Abercrombie made the right decision in paying the cast to refrain from wearing its clothing, because the cast could have a damaging effect to the company’s image. 5% believe it was the wrong decision because the cast was actually helping the company’s image, and 12.2% said the cast would have no effect whatsoever on the company’s image.
Whether you believe it was the right decision or not, Abercrombie very well may have introduced a whole new concept of backwards product placement advertising. Is this a step in the right direction for brands, or are they just wasting time and money?