It was very noticeable that during the riots in August, the retailers that suffered the most – such as JD Sports – were those that had positioned themselves as a desirable, aspirational brand for the under 25s. Other retailers who suffered included Foot Locker, Debenhams, Boots and Carphone Warehouse.
These riots are clearly a wake-up call for brands that actively cultivated a “gangster chic” image as they found themselves targeted by looters across the country.
The issue of good brands attracting bad customers is one that must be exercising the minds of many Marketing Directors right now in the wake of the riots. We may well see a radical ‘repositioning’ of some brands in the near future.
Meanwhile Abercrombie & Fitch has taken a different route and recently offered money to ‘Jersey Shore’ star Mike Sorrentino to stop wearing their clothes.
The 29-year-old ‘Jersey Shore’ star – who is regularly seen in the brand – has been asked by the retailer to stop because it could be ‘distressing’ to its customers.
The company was quoted as saying ‘We are deeply concerned that Mr Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.’
Time will tell if other brands follow suit. Whatever happens it is going to be a costly exercise.