|Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries - Age 68 and Hip!|
Here are some thoughts sparked by this latest not-so-surprising news from Abercrombie. . . .
- We are suckers for marketing. Abercrombie has effectively grabbed our kids with these strategies. They've seized on and exploited their developmental insecurities. As a result, they are promoting and feeding a worldview that is so shallow that its depth might soon be measured in negative numbers. Kids who wear Abercrombie think the brand is helping them, when in reality it is destructive. The only people helped by the brand are those who are making a lucrative living off the brand.
- We not only pay Abercrombie for their over-priced clothing, but we then wear it. . . as walking billboards. Yes, our kids are paying the company to serve as an advertisement. That's a total reversal from how the billboard marketing on the side of the highway works. If you look at it this way, Abercrombie is pretty doggone smart. . . which means that we're pretty doggone stupid.
- We need to know that wearing the brand is more about the fabric on our bodies. We have no clue just how powerful branding has become in our culture if we think that Abercrombie is "just a shirt." No, it's a way of life. It's about the fabric of the world. . . who we should be, what we should believe, how we should live. Abercrombie is a worldview.
- We (parents, youth workers, etc.) need to not only make our kids wise to the entire Abercrombie story and ethos, but we must go a step further and encourage them to promote a better worldview by ignoring the brand with their time, attention, and money. Don't spend a penny at Abercrombie.
- It's not just Abercrombie. And no, I'm not only talking about other clothing brands that are complicit in these strategies. Here's a very serious question. . . are we doing the same thing in our churches and youth ministries? Seriously. We continue to see a push towards style over substance. To relevance at the expense of depth. To a reliance on marketing and business savvy over and above a reliance on the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that the hipster look and resulting hipster faith that we so carefully pursue and cultivate could be making those who might be "plus-sized" (i.e. older, less style-obsessed) have no place in our "store" or with our "message." If that's the case, we'll soon be measuring the depth of the church with negative numbers.
Here's one more link for your reading pleasure. . . . Any Taylor's "Open Letter from a Fat Chick to Mike Jeffries."