(9/30/2003) Sensationalism, sex and controversy are, unfortunately, successful staples of global marketing. For good or bad, they get our attention - often more attention than the product deserves.
In mid-2002, clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch earned great criticism from conservative activist groups opposed to the stores marketing highly suggestive thong underwear to teens. The outrage was immediate, intense and marginally effective.
The questionably monikered fragrances, "FCUK for Him" and "FCUK for Her," are also real, as is the controversy around them. Several retailers, including Federated Department Stores (Bloomingdales, Macy's, Lazarus-Macy's), have refused to carry the product because of its racy promotions.
Marshall Field's has carried the French Connection clothing line for years and credits much of the new product's outrage to the company's choice to use only the acronym on the packaging and promotional materials (FCUK's clothing lines carry the company's full name). In response to customer complaints, they have removed the acronym from in-store displays and are evaluating how they market the brand.
Category: Armchair Activism