Selling sex

How is anyone still shocked by the Abercrombie Catalog? Especially if you work in media?

But maybe that’s because they can’t find their clothes. In the catalog, the first sweater doesn’t show up until Page 122 and by then, you’re too tired from masturbating to shop. But I’m missing the point. The catalog isn’t about the clothes. Huh?

“How many plaid shirts can one have?” Shahid asks. He explains that they are selling the “aspiration and the idea.” He says Abercrombie & Fitch is “cool and sexy and very Eastern seaboard,” and when you buy the clothes, “your image in your head is: I’m one of those kids. I put one of those shirts on and, Oh! — I’m one of those kids. It denotes a particular feeling. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

That’s what advertising is and has been about for a long time: selling the story, the culture, and the idea. I would love to teach a class on the social impacts of advertising, but given that this is such a dreamy job track for many in the department, I know that the students would hate anything that was remotely critical of the role of advertising.

On the other hand, how can anyone who has ever seen an advertisement think that it is really about the product. If they were to say “We sell cheaply made preppy standards” they would go out of business. The supreme irony is that A&F used to sell high quality, well-designed basics at a reasonable price. It was only by tarting up their image, and pulling down (the quality of) their pants, that they can now be a profit center. Harrrumf, I say.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted 12/2/2003 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    “I know that the students would hate anything that was remotely critical of the role of advertising.”

    Or most other topics for that matter. I recall that one lecture with the Hussein & Rumsfeld picture last semester…

  2. Posted 12/2/2003 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    yay capitalism!

  3. B
    Posted 12/3/2003 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to “tart up” my image too.

One Trackback

  1. By Blog de Halavais on 12/9/2003 at 1:54 pm

    More on selling
    I recently posted on =-” href=”http://alex.halavais.net/news/archives/000728.html”>Abercrombie’s soft porn catalog, and was somewhat critical of it. Now I want to backtrack…

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