A clothing retailer known for ads featuring barely dressed young adults says it wants some well-known barely dressed young adults not to wear its brand. And will pay them not to.
Abercrombie & Fitch this week offered “substantial payment” to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and other cast members of the somehow-popular MTV show “The Jersey Shore” to keep A&F clothing off their bodies.
The show, which follows a group of eight alleged “Italian Americans” (not all of them are) as they party, fight, tan and party some more, is airing its fourth season. It’s set in Florence, Italy, with previous seasons located in Seaside Heights, N.J., and Miami.
So what’s the problem?
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image,” the company said about Sitch in a statement (I tried reaching a human being and was directed to a general e-mail address). “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.”
“Distressing”? “Fans”? Do clothing stores have fans? What’s distressing about the show is how often Sitch and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi aren’t wearing any clothes, at least enough to cover the parts that you really don’t want to see. It doesn’t matter if it’s Abercrombie or Wrangler; just put on something.
“It’s a clever PR stunt” to get attention during the back-to-school shopping period, MTV shot back in response to Abercrombie’s offer.
Possibly, but the response sounds like MTV’s own PR stunt.
All of this seems very tongue-in-cheek, and A&F hasn’t disclosed how much it would pay. But it got me thinking — who would I pay for someone not to do something?
I’d pony up some extra cash at stores if they agree not to ask for everything short of my Social Security number and blood type whenever I buy a Red Bull. (Instead, for my phone number, I give them (218) 722-8463.)
I’ll pay for the price of your ticket if you can sit through an entire UMD hockey game without drunkenly yelling obscenities from your seat.
How much will it cost to make sure that 40 percent of the “women from your area” listed on online dating sites aren’t girls who went to Lincoln Park, Nettleton and Denfeld with me?
Want to drive 35 mph on the one-lane stretch of I-35? Here’s $10. Take Michigan Street.
Here’s some more money for not sending Facebook “friend” requests from your taxi service, nonprofit organization or annual event just because we’re mutual friends with Don Ness and John Goldfine.
And Abercrombie & Fitch, I’ll even give you 20 bucks to cut a bigger check to ensure The Situation and his buddies not appear on TV ever again.
Jimmy Bellamy is the multimedia editor at the Duluth News Tribune. Contact him at (218) 723-5390 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jimmybellamy. This column originally appeared here.