Abercrombie & Fitch just announced a new strategy.
For the first time in decades, Abercrombie is going to market to an older audience, Jonathan Ramsden, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, told Lindsey Rupp at Bloomberg News.
"It’s part of wanting to separate the brands more, take Abercrombie to more of a premium, with Hollister as more fast-fashion," Ramsden told Bloomberg. "It’s an opportunity to connect Abercrombie & Fitch with its heritage and move it up in demographic."
But it's possible that Abercrombie marketing to college students could bring back the high schoolers it has lost to retailers like H&M and Forever 21.
Take the Pink brand at Victoria's Secret.
While Victoria's Secret insists that it's only marketing to college students, the reality of who shops there is totally different.
"When somebody’s 15 or 16-years-old, what do they want to be?” Stuart Burgdoerfer, CFO of Victoria's Secret, said at a conference last year. “They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink."
Teen brands are all about aspiration.
Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries famously marketed his brand to popular, All-American athletes.
The brand has stumbled because the definition of "cool" has changed since Abercrombie's heyday in the 1990's.
Marketing to the people high schoolers look up to—college students—could help revive the brand.
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