Abercrombie & Fitch is trying to reinvent itself – again. The brand’s latest campaign, Made for You, emphasizes an “evolved look and attitude.” In a YouTube video and series of Instagram posts, models conspicuously chosen for their diverse looks discuss their earliest memories of the brand.
This isn’t the first time Abercrombie has sought to curry favor with millennials by distancing itself from its image. In 2015, the retailer experimented with an athleisure line, as well as a subdued approach to ads that departed substantially from the raunchy photoshoots for which Abercrombie gained fame. Last fall, the brand erased its entire Instagram account.But despite these efforts, the brand still ranks Average in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail, lagging behind sister brand Hollister despite their shared site infrastructure. In contrast, rival American Eagle places in the Gifted category, boasting a rich array of omnichannel capabilities and a healthy social media presence emphasizing UGC.
Perhaps the problem with Abercrombie’s rebranding is that it doesn’t go far enough. American Eagle’s biggest success hasn’t been with its own label but with the Aerie subsidiary, which the parent company has been marketing heavily to millennials. Those efforts have paid off, pushing same-store sales higher for eight straight quarters and motivating Abercrombie’s own subsidiary Hollister to revive the Gillie Hicks lingerie label, which had its own physical stores before they were closed in 2013. If Abercrombie can’t evolve, it might do best to look forwards.