Abercrombie & Fitch revamps brand for more millennial appeal

Abercrombie & Fitch has, in its own words, “wiped the slate clean” when it comes to its brand positioning in order to appeal more to the millennial market; and it has today unveiled its largest ever ad campaign.

The 125-year-old US brands has come in for criticism in the past for being elitist and only employing model-worthy staff to work in its stores, giving the impression it only wanted good-looking people to wear its clothes. But it says its new approach is more inclusive and reflects the “character, charisma and confidence of today’s consumer”.

It has rolled out a completely redesigned website, all-new digital advertising across video streaming websites, music platforms, and social media, and out-of-home marketing in the major US cities of New York CityLos Angeles, and Chicago. The campaign has been timed to run in the lead-up to the all-important Holiday season.

“This new brand position is the product of an 18-month effort to create a brand identity that communicates our focus on our customers’ needs and aspirations,” said Fran Horowitz, President and Chief Merchandising Officer of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  “Rather than buying clothes that symbolize membership in an exclusive group, today’s consumer celebrates individuality and uniqueness. Our new brand reflects that confidence and independence of spirit as well as our own dedication to a more diverse and inclusive culture.”

Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch’s new inclusive campaign

The campaign seems to acknowledge past errors and invites consumers to give the brand another look. “People have a lot to say about us. They Think They’ve Got Us Figured Out,” so says the opening line of its ads before any images are shown. When images do appear they are “optimistic, inclusive, and emotional”, the company says.

“I am excited with the work that has been done by the A&F team which, under the exceptional leadership of new Brand President Stacia Andersen, shaped this new identity and is bringing it to life at every consumer touchpoint. While our marketing will continue to develop, we are embracing this opportunity to show the world it is a new day at A&F,” added Horowitz.

The campaign was shot by acclaimed photographers Josh Olins and Matt Jones and styled by long-time partner of Abercrombie & Fitch, Deborah Watson.