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Mark Ritson: Abercrombie & Fitch’s revival will be due to brand revitalisation, not brand repositioning

Mark Ritson

You will recall the rather sad story of Abercrombie & Fitch. The once all-powerful fashion retailer declined as a result of ageing customers, bizarre management edicts and over exposure. The company has endured 11 consecutive quarters of declining sales and, in perhaps the most painful blow yet, recently recorded the lowest ever score on the annual […]


There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This is a pointless article – you don’t say anthing different to the NYT article that you linked to!

    • mark ritson 24 Mar 2016


      Without wanting to seem petty or defensive, but given you are ostensibly accusing me of plagiarising the New York Times, can I help you with 5 things I say in my column that the NYT does not say in theirs?

      First, the one thing both columns talk about is that Trump has amazing amounts of earned media versus his rivals. I freely accept that data comes from the NYT which they sourced from SMG and Mediaquant.

      But here are my five points that are not in the NYT that you missed but I am helpfully drawing attention to them for you:

      1. Trump is not just winning without much traditional media spending, he is winning against it as his rivals attempt to use TV ads to reduce his popularity. There is no mention of this in the NY Times.

      2. Trump is increasingly being used as a “poster boy” for the success of new media versus traditional approaches. There is no mention of this in the NY Times.

      3. Social media impact like the kind Trump is enjoying is much more likely when the subject of the communication is a person versus a corporation. This is a key limitation of much social media work and not mentioned in the NYT.

      4. Trumps success in generating impact can also be linked to the fact that, unlike most brands engaged in content marketing, he has taken risks and been unafraid to anger non-target segments. No mention of this in the NYT.

      5. You can draw a thick line between Trump’s earned media success and the “Let Trump be Trump” approach to positioning by his campaign team. No mention of this position or the link in the NYT.

      Either I am going crazy or you are Ro because you dont think there is anything different in my column and I see five points. I am not saying you have to agree with these observations or even believe them to be true – but they are there in my column. And not in the New York Times.

      So there.

  2. Al King 24 Mar 2016

    True. But he’s still a ****.

  3. Hi Mark, I didn’t get your last sentence in the article ‘But it should also provide a reminder that these tools work best when the product is a person and that person happens to be naturally, horrendously, enduringly fascinating’. Who are you referring to? ManY thanks, SKY

  4. Mike Ganley 29 Mar 2016

    Who the f__k is Ro?

  5. Snowball Analytics 29 Mar 2016

    I wrote about Trump’s appeal in a similar post a couple of months ago and how small businesses can learn from it.
    Obama broke the mould 8 years ago using social media to his advantage in a groundbreaking way. Unfortunately Trump is on a similarly successful track.

  6. Andi Jarvis 30 Mar 2016

    That’s exactly what I was thinking!

  7. Kate Thompson 31 Mar 2016

    I think the article should be inverted. The reason that Trump has had success with social media and content marketing is implicit in your closing paragraph/final sentence “… these tools work best when the product is a person and that person happens to be naturally, horrendously, enduringly fascinating”.

    Well maybe not the point about the product being a person, I can think about many brands that have had huge earned media success, but more that it’s not the media driving success: it’s the idea and emotion it evokes which motivates people to share and connect with each other. The fact that in this case the product/brand is person, and a horrendous sod at that, is just the cream of the cake.

  8. Max Norman 31 Mar 2016

    Mark, wouldn’t you also agree one of the primary reasons for Trump’s success is that he is selling a singular, simple and aspirational idea, in this case ‘Make America great again’?

    Team Trump has hit the nail on the head here in terms of a campaign message. This is because eight plus years of Bush and Obama-era economic recession and sluggishness have undermined Obama’s promise of ‘hope’ and the idea of success, the latter of which is central to American culture. So far as I can see none of the other candidates have captured hearts in such a simple way.

    This also explains why a lack of policy specifics behind the Trump rhetoric haven’t even mattered…yet. Back in the marketing world, campaign Trump reminds us that addressing an unmet consumer need with a simple insight-driven proposition can work wonders.


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