Abercrombie & Fitch has a real situation on its hands. And so does The Situation, come to think of it.
Proving that there is such a thing as bad publicity (and clearly doing their best to avoid the Ed Hardy Effect), the prepster chain has proposed something of an unendorsement deal to the cast of Jersey Shore: "a substantial payment" in exchange for not wearing their clothes in public.
Apparently, seeing Pauly D, Snooki and the rest of the wannabe guidos behaving badly in their duds has made A&F more shame-faced than a grenade after a long night on the Ron-Ron juice.
So what does the Jersey Shore gang have to say about this?
Well, nothing yet—neither the cast nor MTV have yet commented on the unflattering offer.
As for Abercrombie, in a press release released last night, the company said that seeing The Situation popping their collars and donning their khakis on TV goes against "the aspirational nature" of the brand and has proven "distressing" to some of its customers.
They sound like a pretty sensitive bunch to us. Not to mention, a bunch which probably aligns itself closer to the reality star than they'd like to admit.
"We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image," a rep for the clothier said. "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."
Fans, customers, same thing. In any case, while the Sitch is the only one who got the formal namecheck in the statement, A&F hasn't singled him out, and in fact offered the same payment to the entirety of the housemates.
"We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and we are urgently waiting a response."
The offer comes in the wake of a recent episode in which The Situation was cavorting around the streets of Florence wearing a pair of lime green, obnoxiously branded A&F sweatpants. He has also donned a blue pair on the show, also prominently marked with the brand's name, to complete his Italia-themed tracksuit.
Now would be a good time to note, however, that Abercrombie didn't seem quite so concerned about the free press and negative associations with its brand last year—in fact, quite the opposite—when Jersey Shore mania was at a fever pitch.
Speaking to New York Magazine last summer, the Situation dropped this piece of knowledge on the nation: "The show went international, and I read that it's very big overseas, especially 'The Situation'—my name, or my character—is known worldwide now.
"Abercrombie & Fitch, their most popular shirt, they told me, is 'Fitchuation.' I mean, where did they get that from? Obviously from myself."
Busted, A&F. Guess the company doesn't think there's such a thing as bad press, after all.