As with many teen brands, Abercrombie & Fitch is in overhaul mode in an attempt to salvage flagging sales numbers; it is also in the unique position of needing an image makeover after years of bad press surrounding former CEO Mike Jeffries. The Abercrombie & Fitch revamp has been rolling out over the past few months: in July, the brand debuted a new look with a fresh ad campaign from Creative Director of Marketing, Ashley Sargent Price, followed by September's surprisingly chic fall collection, the first fully under the direction of Kristina Szasz.
On Thursday, the brand unveiled its latest step towards a "redefined brand identity" with a holiday ad campaign — its largest-ever — shot by Josh Olins and Matt Jones. With the tagline "This Is Abercrombie & Fitch," the brand is making it clearer than ever that it isn't the brand you remember from your high school days. "Our new creative features fresh and candid imagery that invites consumers to experience assortments that capture a new perspective of effortless style and beauty, elevated to a more sophisticated level, as well as our enduring commitment to quality," new Brand President Stacia Andersen said in a release. "Under the guidance of Ashley Sargent Price, the brand's first-ever Creative Director of Marketing, customers are now being exposed to the visual and stylistic progression in stores and online."
Naturally, the campaign includes a video. "People have a lot to say about us," it opens. "They think they've got us figured out." The video is full of all-American imagery, touting a revamped website design and the freshly cleared Instagram account (the latest favorite move of brands looking to wipe the slate literally and figuratively clean). It also features teasers of the new campaign, set to appear on billboards in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Whether all these efforts can turn things around at the registers for Abercrombie & Fitch this holiday season remains to be seen; as of the second quarter of 2016, it had failed to result in consistent sales. But these efforts take time, and the new direction is a refreshing pivot from the brand's previous image as a purveyor of graphic tees and shredded denim.