Friday, May 03, 2002

It's an Ad, Ad, Ad, Ad World IX
This summer, Abercrombie & Fitch will begin including advertisements from other companies such as SoBe, Sony, Trek, and the WB withing the pages of its magalog, the A&F Quarterly. The magalog, which includes original editorial as well as photographs depicting A&F clothing, has a circulation of about 200,000. A&F also publishes a traditional catalog without articles or the controversial photography of Bruce Weber -- the ads will not appear in the catalog.

I think this move is interesting on several levels:

  • It positions A&F as a lifestyle company, not just a clothing retailer.
  • It further blurs the lines between advertising and editorial content -- reminding me slightly of Urban Outfitters' old tabloid newspaper.
  • People already pay for the Quarterly -- in stores or by subscription. Including outside ads might nod in the direction of A&F launching a proper magazine a la Benetton's Colors. I'm not sure if the Quarterly is currently distributed to newsstands.
  • A&F is doing more than just selling its customer list. It's maintaining the presentation and shell it uses to approach its client base -- and is opening the way for other companies to do so also, but in an A&F-branded and -controlled environment.
  • This might also be a step in the direction of cooperative catalogs a la AirMall. What if all of your favorite lifestyle and clothing retailers issued a collective catalog?
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