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Controlling Who Wears Your Brand of Clothing, Part II: Police Intervention

Last month I posted here about Abercrombie & Fitch's effort to bribe Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino and other members of the cast of MTV's "The Jersey Shore" program to stop wearing its clothing. In a press release on Aug. 12, A&F stated that it was:

deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.  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. We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and the producers of MTV's The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand.  We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response.

The Situation laughed it off, tweeting: "Looks like Abercrombie got themselves into a Situation!" His castmate known as JWOWW added, "Who tells people not to shop at there store?! .... I want my fans to shop where they want to and express yourself with your clothes. A&F are followers anyways … Rock your own look and style! Screw the haters." It looks like The Situation will be moving on from A&F anyway, however, as he is reportedly launching his own line of clothing this year called Dilligaf, an acronym for "Do I look like I give a f---."

But what if the person you don't want to wear your clothing is not really bribable -- maybe a confessed mass murderer who is in police custody? In such a case you may need to call in the police. The BBC reports that in Norway, French clothing label Lacoste has asked Norwegian police to prevent Anders Breivik from wearing the Lacoste brand in court. Breivik, who has reportedly admitted to killing 77 people during bomb and gun attacks earlier this summer, says Lacoste is his favorite brand. Following his arrest, Breivik has been seen in photographs wearing a red Lacoste jumper and a black Lacoste sweater. Breivik also mentions Lacoste in his over 1,500-word "manifesto," describing the brand as a way to blend in with the "well-educated European conservative pensioner type."

Norway police have not indicated whether they will honor Lacoste's request. Either way, many people believe that Lacoste was foolish to flag this issue as it has created a Streisand Effect. As Techdirt puts it (via The Legal Satyricon), the fact that Lacoste is one of Breivik's favorite clothing brands is "something that you or I would probably not know at all ... until the company decided to let the world know by asking the police to stop him from wearing its clothing in court."

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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