the grass is greener on the internet

The colour and the controversy
June 22, 2010, 10:57 am
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You only need to search “David Jones” this week to know that what clothing retailers do with their sexual freedom affects their business.

But using it as a marketing vehicle? In a positive way?

In order to maintain that young/edgy/anti-establishment image, American Apparel released a ‘Legalize Gay’ range back in 2008, distributed to protesters as highly visible human billboards. Now, they’re offering a ‘buy one get one free’ – get one for your partner as well.

Apart from the obvious – bringing attention back to the issue of gay marriage and implementing a loss leader strategy – what effect does this have on building their brand?

The controversy will alienate some people, sure, but they weren’t already American Apparel people. Does the extra brand loyalty weigh against this?

To quote Glee… “I’m gay. She’s black. We make culture.”

Male homosexual stereotypes have been paraded by the media, which is perhaps why a well-dressed man may be thought of as gay. Perhaps then this is aimed to translate as ‘well-dressed gay guys wear our brand, so if you want to look as good you should too’?

Honestly it feels like Bennetton 20 or so years ago – the colour, the controversial attitude and a strong brand identity. But we all know that Bennetton has since falled off the podium and struggled to regain ground.

American Apparel started as the rebel brand and this is an interesting strategy for them to try and maintain it as they’ve become more mainstream. Will them be able to stay forever young? Or will they go the same way as Bennetton?


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