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Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) Essay

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is a clothing merchant that is recognized for approaching the teens and tweens (8-14 years old). A&F achieves this with an advertising package that emphases on the appearance conscious teens and tweens who need to be acknowledged by their peers while holding their own unique style. Abercrombie & Fitch marketing approach in its A&F Quarterly is not appreciated by public as it features young people in group arrangements while in several phases of unclothe.

Public responses associated the magazine to soft pornography and proposed that it inspires group sex amongst teens. A&F newly created further public critic storm when the brand presented padded bikini tops for tweens as old as eight years old. Parents were furious by the bikini tops that were initially advertised as pushup triangles and there was an instant criticism against Abercrombie & Fitch. To avoid these marketing controversies involving teens and tweens, regulation of advertising aimed at children is essential. According to Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, children can’t understand or process the information fully until they are 12 years of age.

Tweens (8-14) fall under two stages of Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. Stage 3 and 4; in stage 3 (8-11 years), the child grows the capability to smear rational thought to tangible problems while in stage 4 (12 to 15 years), the child’s cerebral structures extent their utmost level of growth, and the child becomes capable to relate logic to all sorts of problems. In stage 3, child is clearly developing and maturing the cognitive thoughts and abstract concepts such as objectification of women cannot properly comprehended by tweens. Therefore, marketers need to demonstrate discretion when addressing this group and guarantee that their advertisements do not cross moral and ethical limits and should not use concepts that objectify women in any way. Abercrombie not only exploit tweens and teens by their marketing campaigns but also violate two of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) guidelines. These guidelines relate to the A&F’s targeting the young girls with merchandises suitable for adults, i.e. their child-sized thong underwear and their Pushup Triangles.

America is a secular society, their religious beliefs are conservative. A&F padded bikini promotions triggered the rage in parents and some severely criticized on Abercrombie’s website for sexualizing young kids. American value related to young age caused backlash to the brand for generating revenue from a group that is not yet capable of understanding the message behind advertising.

There has been two sides of the story when it comes to consumer socialization process. Some may argue that the responsibility of consumer socialization solely lies on parents while some people feel that marketers help socialize children as consumers by aiming at them. To make sure the kids socialize as consumers positively, parents can utilize instrumental training, mediation, and modeling. Instrumental training is used to bring certain responses through reinforcement and reasoning. The parents can explain to the child why it is not suitable for them to wear padded bikini top at this age. According to the culture of each household tweens can be involved in family decision making process which includes 6 rules; initiators, information gatherers, decision makers, influencers, users, and purchasers, depending on the purchasing context. Tween can play three roles in family decision making, that are; initiators, user, and influencers. For instance, if they are the primary users of the product (e.g., snacks, toys), they be likely to have more influence in the decision.



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