The teen fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is offering to pay the cast of the raunchy MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" to stop wearing its clothes, saying that actor Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's association with the brand could damage its image.
A spokesperson for the popular reality show called the move a "clever PR stunt."
"Jersey Shore" depicts a group of party-loving, self-proclaimed "Guidos and Guidettes" in New Jersey and contains censored swearing and sexual or scantily clad images. It has also made Sorrentino and other cast members, such as Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi," pop culture icons."We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image," the clothing company said in an August 12 press statement titled "Abercrombie & Fitch proposes a win-win situation." "We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans."
"We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and the producers of MTV's The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand," the company added. "We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response."
An MTV spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com on Wednesday, August 18, when asked about the matter: "It's a clever PR stunt and we'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage 'Jersey Shore' to reach the largest youth audience on television."
It was unclear if Abercrombie & Fitch's offer was accepted.
MTV may be correct in saying that Abercrombie & Fitch's move against "Jersey Shore" could be interpreted as a publicity stunt. The company, which operates more than 1,000 stories and has featured celebrities such as Olivia Wilde in its ads, re-released a similar press statement about its offer late on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Abercrombie & Fitch's published its Q2 2011 earnings report.
Sorrentino Tweeted on Wednesday: "Looks like Abercrombie got themself into a Situation!," posting a link to a CNN article about the company's stock price.
Also on Wednesday, Abercrombie & Fitch's chief executive officer, Mike Jeffries, told analysts during a conference call about its earnings report, following a slew of business-oriented questions: "Is no one going to ask about The Situation?"
He then explained the matter after an analyst eventually inquired about it during the call.
"Last Friday morning, I was with a group of people here and someone came up and said 'Mike, I have terrible, terrible news for you. Last night on 'Jersey Shore,' The Situation had A&F product on,'" Jeffries said. "So we all said, 'Aw, that's terrible. What are we going to do about it?'"
"And the group kind of came up with the solution - let's pay them not to wear our product," he added. "That's how it happened, there's where we are and we're having a lot of fun with it."
In the past, the clothing company has sold T-shirts with the phrase "The Fitchuation" written on them.
"Hmmm if They Don't Want Us To Wear Those Clothes Why Make GTL Shirts #yourPRsux," "Jersey Shore" cast member DJ Pauly D Tweeted on Wednesday, linking to a photo of a T-shirt that read: "G.T.L. You know the deal. Fitch."
"GTL" stands for "gym, tan, laundry," which constitutes the activities "Jersey Shore" stars engage in regularly.
"Jersey Shore" was the top-rated cable show of 2010, the year Sorrentino also appeared on the family-friendly ABC series "Dancing With The Stars." Pop and R&B star Beyonce recently called "Jersey Shore" her "guilty pleasure."
The program's fourth season, which shows the cast on a trip to Italy, began airing on August 4. The "Jersey Shore" cast began filming season 5 in New Jersey in late June.