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The week in review - June 3, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.


Pinterest Gets Better With Data
Meet John Rauser, a data scientist at Pinterest. Learn how he takes big data and turns it into helpful insights.

Pontiflex Ads on Mobile
This is when advertisers only pay when someone actually enters their contact information into a sign-up form.

Twitter and Traditional Media
Does Twitter compliment traditional journalism or compete with it?

LinkedIn’s Contacts Feature
This new feature brings together all your address books, emails and calendars, and keeps them up to date in one place.

Youtube Redesign
Beginning June 5th, YouTube will automatically be implementing a new layout for everyone, they're calling it YouTube One Channel.

Online Press Releases Can Increase SEO
A press release that follows a SEO strategy can be very effective at capturing the public’s attention online.

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The “friendlier” bank: real effort or marketing ploy?

Laura Pryor's picture

“Human Banking” is a trend in marketing for financial services.  It is not, as I first surmised, the harvesting and storage of human organs.  I guess I’ve watched a few too many dystopic sci-fi films.

What the term Human Banking refers to is the recent effort by banks to be (or appear) friendlier, more flexible, and more caring than they have in the past.  Extended hours, treats for your dog, reduced fees,  pens without chains—these are just a few of the features now  touted by banks to convince customers that they are nicer than that other bank.

These efforts beg the question: why?  Why do banks suddenly care about appearing friendly?  Bankers have had a less than chummy reputation for decades, since before Mr. Potter put the screws to the citizens of Bedford Falls. Do they suddenly feel guilty for years of icy rigidity? 

In a word, no.  The answer is that, in a struggling economy, competition for customers is tighter than ever.  Low interest rates and stricter regulations on mortgages mean that banks are hard-pressed to differentiate their services from their competitors’.  One bank’s products are pretty much the same as another’s.  The only area for differentiation available: customer service. Hence Human Banking.

TD Bank, a large East Coast concern (headquartered in Canada) with branches in fourteen states, has taken this message to heart.   In their TV spots, they count coins for children, trust you with their pens,   and stay open longer for us working folk.  The slogan:  “It’s time to bank human again.”

Huntington Bank, a Midwestern bank with most of its branches in Ohio and Michigan, has also jumped on the Human Banking bandwagon.  Its radio campaign tells the tale of “Ben the Huntington Banker: the Early Years.”  In each spot, Ben’s parents grouse about their bank’s failings—draconian overdraft policies, fees,  and limited hours—and young Ben vows to someday become a banker and address these issues.  Fast forward 15 years and Ben works at Huntington Bank, instituting policies such as 24-Hour Grace: an extra 24 hours to deposit funds into your account before being charged an overdraft fee. 

While these efforts should be applauded, there seem to be some problems in their implementation.  In a blog post entitled, “Huntington Bank’s 24-hour Disgrace,” Columbus blogger Tom Stone claims that the policy is a scam.  He writes, “They only give you more time if you have an OVERDRAFT. And you only technically have an "OVERDRAFT" if they choose to pay that item rather than RETURN it. When they choose to NOT PAY IT but instead RETURN IT, they do charge you -- the full $37.50.”

Similarly, TD Bank’s Facebook page fields quite a few comments such as ““The worst bank ever! A lot of fees and no customer service” and “Get off my fb.  I have no interest in your propaganda . . . And no, I don't want a free fkn pen.”  (In their defense, there are also some positive comments, such as, “I love this bank.”) 

If you’re handling marketing for a bank or credit union, take the hint: it’s not enough to say you’re a friendly, helpful bank.  You have to follow through.  How’s your bank doing?  Are they living up to their customer service claims . . . or is your bank a bit less than human?

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Marketing to moms and social media.

Laura Pryor's picture

If you’re interested in marketing to women, you may be surprised to learn of all the different ways moms use social media.  If your Facebook news feed is cluttered with kids’ artwork, graduation photos and proud report-card posts, the idea that moms use social media is not news to you.   But according to recent studies, it’s not just for bragging anymore.  And it’s not all Facebook and Twitter. 

Sure, moms use Facebook.  In fact, according to a Nielsen study, one out of every three minutes that moms spend online is spent on Facebook—connecting, exploring, and yes, bragging. Young mothers, dealing with dependent infants and toddlers and craving adult interaction, spend a whopping 260% more time on Facebook than the average user.  

But according to a survey conducted by Child’s Play Communications, when moms want or need to buy something, they’re most likely to check out a blog.  According to the moms in the survey, blogs impacted their purchasing decisions more than any other social media platform.    And toy manufacturers, take note: toys were the number one kids’ product purchased by moms as a result of social media recommendations.  If you want to sell something that’s important to moms, start making friends with influential bloggers. 

It’s a mistake, however, to focus on only one form of social media in marketing to moms.  Across all forms—YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus-- moms are more likely users than the general population. They’re using it on all devices:  phones, tablets, home computers. They’re also handing their tablets and phones over to their kids to keep them quiet in the car or in stores; according to the Nielsen study, 71% of moms who own a tablet let their children use it.  

And just because moms are heavy social media users, it doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned traditional media, either.  Moms still watch TV.  They’re just far more likely than the average viewer to watch it later, by DVR-ing their favorite shows or watching them on Hulu or other sites.  On their tablets. Or their phones.  Or their computers.  Or even their Wii game systems. 

So what does all this data mean for marketing to women?  Any campaign that wants to reach women needs to span across all platforms, and encompass an array of media approaches.   A campaign that shows up on a mom’s phone, tablet, AND computer is more likely to get seen.  Moms are constantly on the move, so expecting to reach them with just one platform is unrealistic.  Got a TV spot? Put it on YouTube.   Put it on your mobile site (you have one, right?) Post the link on Facebook.  Then get some friendly blogger to write about it (and your product).   And so on.  

Given moms’ love of social media, future marketing to women may start with social media and “trickle down” to TV.  Or will TV even be a relevant marketing tool a decade from now?  What do you think? 

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The week in review - May 27, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Facebook Launches Verified Pages
Much like verified accounts on Twitter, verified Facebook pages will now display a small blue check mark beside their owner's name on the social network.

verified facebook page

Users Can Now Share Photos and Presentations on LinkedIn’s Homepage
LinkedIn added the ability for users to share photos, presentations and documents from the LinkedIn homepage, just as people might already share status messages or links to news stories.

Twitter’s New Ad Exchange Might Be Better Than Facebook’s
The micro-blogging platform is planning to erect an exchange similar to FBX that would let brands retarget people who visit their sites with ads on Twitter, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Creative Brands on Pinterest
Besides contests, there are new ways to engage audiences and build your presence.

Social and Mobile See Biggest Increase in Ad Dollars
Of the 20 major US brands surveyed by the Association of National Advertisers in March 2013, 65% said they were increasing their investments in mobile and 55% were increasing social.
 

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The week in review - May 20, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

The Social Metrics That Matter
Advertisers can get caught up in numbers – find out which social metrics are really worth monitoring.
   
Twitter Launches Ad That Allows Marketers to Collect Personal Information
Twitter announced a new kind of Tweet, a Lead Generation Card, designed to allow marketers to easily collect personal information from Twitter users, if they chose to provide it.

Pinterest Partners with Brands
Instead of exclusively linking back to the original source, pins from certain brands will now display information such as recipes, movie reviews and price information.

Pinterest Partners with Brands

Pinterest’s Advertising Future
It’s a good bet Pinterest advertising will be native-looking and centered on commerce.

Ways to Make Your Vines Stand Out
These tips range from technical best practices to creative guidelines to make your Vines really impress a viewer.

Sephora, Women and Technology
The CEO of Sephora speaks on the perception that men are always the early adopters of technology.

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Kmart's newest target market: 12-year-old boys.

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

When did Kmart decide to shift its target demo from women—73 percent of whom control household spending (Boston Consulting Group)—to unemployed, middle school-aged boys?

Market estimates about U.S. women’s purchasing prowess varies, ranging anywhere from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually. My 12-year-old son rarely has enough change in his pockets to cover a fun-sized candy bar. So why has the troubled retailer so wantonly abandoned women in its latest ad campaign?

The campaign kicked off in April with the video “Ship My Pants.” (Go ahead.  Say it out loud for full effect.) Featuring assorted shoppers professing that they had “shipped their pants” to promote Kmart’s Shop Your Way rewards program and its shipping feature, the video has garnered more than 17 million views on You Tube. The viral traffic is impressive, but will it drive store traffic? Doubtful. 

Kmart Ship My Pants Commercial

Kmart followed “Ship My Pants” with the radio commercial “Gas Problem,” a juvenile play on words to market Shop Your Way. The rewards program is a growing loyalty club that offers members benefits, including discounts at participating gas stations.

“If you’re like most people, you suffer from occasional gas problems that prevent you from doing the things you love,” the announcer states delicately, cuing up a series of people who confess to a family history of gas problems, missed dinners out and more. “My gas problem got so bad, I had to cancel a father son camping trip,” says a woeful parent.

Reportedly this is Kmart’s attempt to relate more to shoppers, but to what shoppers? Free shipping isn’t exactly a novel idea, nor are loyalty programs. So once the value proposition has been sifted out of the ads, all that’s left are bathroom jokes to hang the brand on. Not exactly chick magnet material.

Women are poised to control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in our country’s history, according to Fleishman Hillard Inc. If Kmart wants share of the purse, it’s particularly important that its advertising and marketing resonate with her.

The first step toward creating brand loyalty is grabbing her attention; the second step is retention. The female brain is hard-wired with evolutionary strongholds to create a very specialized customer, according to Nielsen NeuroFocus research.  In other words, it takes a lot more than fart jokes and complimentary shipped shorts to make her take notice.

Women remember more and differently than men do, so talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her careful attention to detail, suggests Nielsen NeuroFocus research. Appeal to her heart and her mind with a mix of emotional decision-making opportunities and rational information to increase purchase intent and bolster loyalty.

Finally, accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.

Attention women: What’s your favorite ad campaign today and why?

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The week in review - May 13, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Vines Get Shared 4x More Than Online Video
Unruly Media found that branded Vines are shared 4x more and 5 Vines are shared every second on Twitter.

A Brand’s Value Proposition
Marketers need to give prospective customers a reason to come to their brand.

Network Through LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are great way to build credibility and make new connections that can ultimately help grow your business.

Generating Leads Through Your Blog
You already know you need to create awesome blog content, but there’s more to business blogging than just that.

Examples of Great Advertainment
When advertising and entertainment collide, as it so often does, "advertainment" is born. Brands like Red Bull and Ford have great examples of this technique.

Comment on Facebook Through Bing
Bing will show comments from Facebook relevant to your search in the sidebar. From that search, you can Like a friend’s post, comment, or see the original post in its entirety on Facebook.



 

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Pinterest is not your mother's Facebook.

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

Its 48.7 million users – predominantly women with children – get this in spades. They spend hours pinning recipes and clever ways to entertain, filling their virtual closets and bookshelves, and building craft boards. The beautiful images they repin speak millions of words that they’d never expect or hope to find buried in their Facebook feed.

Pinterest inspires them; Facebook connects them.

They are as unique and different as each of their children, which is why mom doesn’t need to be schooled on the subject.

Still many brands continue to grapple with the differing value propositions, chasing the audience without understanding the medium. It’s like Facebook all over again. Build a page, push product and services via posts and act surprised when your fan base doesn’t blow up overnight. It took years for brands to learn how to use social media effectively. Now that it appears to be working, they’re applying it across all platforms – from Facebook to Pinterest and every social channel in between. That’s like using your car manual to fly a Cessna.

If the brand doesn’t fit, don’t build a board

Pinterest is not for all brands. The general litmus test follows: (1) Does your product or service appeal to women? (2) Does your brand fit into one or more of the following categories – cooking, fashion, healthcare, beauty, decorating, entertaining, crafting or travel? (If you’re thinking too deeply, you’re trying too hard.) (3) Can your brand be adequately captured in images? (4) Do you have resources necessary to build a business case, operational plan and manage said plan?

The CMO of a medium-sized credit union recently asked if the financial institution should start a board. While we immediately cleared the first question, we racked our brains far too long attempting to answer the second. True, credit unions can help provide the financing to realize our wish lists. They can help us envision a certain lifestyle or dream vacation. But that’s aspirational, not inspirational.

If it takes too many steps to connect the source of inspiration to the brand, your marketing dollars can probably be better spent elsewhere. Facebook, perhaps.

Here a pin, there a pin

Similar to Facebook, the most visited place on Pinterest is the home page. But unlike Facebook, pins are not sorted in or out by EdgeRank. This means that anything you pin could be seen in the feed when people log in.  What’s more, over 80 percent of pins are re-pins (Pinterest Insider, April 2013). So most people are re-pinning directly from the newsfeed rather than searching out original pins. This means you need to be pinning far more often per day than you’re posting on Facebook.

A picture is worth 1,000 impressions

Pinterest is image-driven. You’re competing against professional photography and graphic illustrations meant to spark an emotional or cerebral connection. If you’re building a board, you need engaging, thoughtful and relevant images that will demand attention and beg to be repinned. Brogan has used a combination of beautiful photography and irreverent, clever graphic design to pepper the HoneyBaked Ham Company’s boards with content that followers enjoy sharing.

All pins lead to your website

Your Pinterest plan should begin and end with your website. This is where all visitors will go to learn more about your brand. Because more than 80 percent of pins are repins, you should expect a lot of new visitors to your site. Consider having an interstitial with a brief introduction and special offer for new visitors, whereby you may feed your database while delighting a new potential customer.

Pinterest continues to gain great momentum, building a passionate and influential consumer base. When properly planned and managed, it can help propel brand awareness and profitability. It needs to be treated as the unique communications channel that is it, rather than Facebook’s twin sister.

What do you think? Has your brand delved into Pinterest with any success?

For more, download our free white paper on “How to Sell Pinterest to Your Hospital C-Suite.”

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Angelina Jolie's Life-Saving Revelation

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Most everyone who's met me (and plenty who know me only through my blogs or other media) have learned some basic things about me:

  • I’m a breast cancer survivor.
  • I developed breast cancer at age 36 because I have the BRCA 2 genetic mutation, which greatly increases the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Because of my mutation, I chose to get a prophylactic oophorectomy in addition to the double mastectomy that was part of my cancer treatment.

People know these very intimate facts about me because I tell them; because it’s vitally important to educate people about the dangerous BRCA mutations and encourage them to get tested if they have risk factors.

And when I say vitally important, I mean it. The genetic test that detects BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 has saved many, many lives. Women who discover that they have one of these mutations can fend off almost certain cancer with preventative surgeries.

As of this morning, we know that Angelina Jolie took that test. She discovered that she had the BRCA 1 mutation and recently opted for a preventative double mastectomy.

Then she told the world about it in the New York Times.

When I saw her op ed this morning, I immediately contacted Sue Friedman, founder and executive director of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer organization where I am a local outreach coordinator.

This is huge.

In one day, Angelina Jolie educated thousands and thousands of people who might never have heard of the BRCA mutation. There’s no doubt that she saved lives.

I can’t tell you how grateful I felt reading her article. Not only did the paparazzi-hounded celeb tell us private details about her mastectomy process, she also covered many other important points.

She let us know that her chances of developing breast cancer—once 87 percent—are now less than five percent.

She told spouses and partners how important they are to the mastectomy transition.

She told us she feels just as feminine as always.

And she let us know that she looks just the same to her children, but for a few small scars. More importantly, her kids’ fears about losing their mom to cancer are greatly diminished.

Finally, Jolie advocated to make the expensive BRCA test—it costs more than $3,000 in the U.S.—more accessible for all women.

FORCE has been fighting for this, too. The organization contributed to the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging Myriad, which holds the patent on the BRCA genes. The case was argued before the Supreme Court in April.

FORCE and the ACLU are powerful entities, but as anybody who’s ever been in a supermarket checkout line knows, there’s nothing like the influence of celebrity. Using celebrity to educate people about obscure but important medical information is one of the best kinds of public service that I can think of. I’m proud to say that Brogan’s own Jackie Schultz, whom you probably know as the current Miss Michigan USA is using her visibility in the same way. Jackie has been speaking out about Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, a congenital condition in which females are born without a uterus. Jackie has this condition, along with 75,000 other women in the United States. It wasn’t easy for her to reveal this information about herself. But, like Angelina Jolie, Jackie recognized that her position in the public eye presented an amazing opportunity.

There’s another word for what Jackie and Jolie have done with their personal revelations: Marketing.

Most people think marketing means selling stuff. And of course, we proudly do plenty of that at Brogan.

But marketing—especially the social marketing that is Brogan’s expertise—is also about informing. Advocating. Making a difference. And, in some cases, potentially saving lives.

There are so many reasons I’m grateful to do what I do. Having the ability to educate about the BRCA mutation and advocate for greater accessibility to genetic testing is definitely one of them.

Angelina Jolie’s celebrity gives her that ability, too—in spades. I’m thrilled that she’s used it for this cause and I have very high hopes that her decision to go public is going to affect genetic testing practices and save lives.

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The week in review – May 6, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

The History of the Second Screen         
Using two screens at once has become more common than only using one.

How People Use Their Mobile Device While Shopping          
84% of people are browsing and shopping on their mobile device while they are physically in different stores.
 
Youtube Maps Out Trending Videos Across the Country  
Youtube unveiled a new feature on Tuesday that maps out videos trending right now in cities across the U.S. You can filter the results by the gender and age of viewers, as well as by choosing to see videos trending by the number of shares verses the number of views.

YouTube map

Tighter Mobile Marketing
National brand campaigns using "geo-precise" techniques such as geo-fencing or targeting based on location-specific consumer behaviors increased to 58% in the first quarter.

Cost Per Facebook Like        
Facebook unveiled a new metric for evaluating advertising campaigns on Facebook, called "cost per action" (CPA). Now, advertisers can pay not just for impressions or click-throughs, but for specific actions they want consumers to perform once they've seen the ad - including becoming a fan of the Page.

 

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Aruba? Arriba!

Kim Luebke's picture

Remember that day a couple weeks ago when it snowed in Detroit even though it was almost May? 

The day after that, everyone in our office was told to wake up at 2 a.m. and head to the airport.

You’d think all of this would have made us Broganites a wee bit cranky, but you’d be wrong. First, because our core value is “Cheerful and joyful.” And second, because we were embarking on our annual mystery trip.

Brogan at the airportWe’ve told you about our mystery trips before. Basically, the annual adventure is a big, fat, kiss from Brogan to its staff for all the hard work we put in all year. It’s a chance for us to rest our brains for four days. It’s also an opportunity for us to bond with each other and expand our horizons. Some of the places we’ve hit since the mystery trip tradition began in 1995 are Iceland, New Orleans, London, Washington D.C., Amsterdam, and Miami.

As a mystery trip planning alumna, it was painful not knowing exactly how to pack (I surprised our crew in 2010 for our last tropical destination to Jamaica). For this trip, we were told to show up at that unholy hour with our passports and the only clearly deciphered clue: swimsuits and sunscreen. We had no earthly idea where we were going. This year's trip organizer, Lauren Zuzelski, had sent some clever but confounding clues like “The trip will be magically delicious” and “Limbs point southwest.” But nobody had cracked the code.

Only when it was time to head to security were we handed our tickets to . . . Aruba!

After that, we were so cheerful and joyful that it made the news

Aruba private islandOn our layover in Atlanta, we picked up several of our staff from the Raleigh, North Carolina office. We made it to our all-inclusive Aruban resort in time for a late lunch.

I'm not gonna lie. It was luxurious. Our resort had a private island where we shared the beach with a small flock of flamingos. We spent hours on chaise lounges, napping, chatting, and reading. When we needed a little activity, we drummed up beach volleyball games, hit the pool (and the swim-up bar), played Euchre, or tried our luck at catching one of the roaming native iguanas.

Lori Bahnmueller Cliff DiveWe also got a chance to see Aruba’s gorgeous, uninhabited northern side by taking a jeep tour. Our guide filled us in on the tiny, desert island’s fascinating history while bouncing us along winding, rocky trails. Midway through this trip, we got a chance to swim and snorkel in a stunning natural pool. Like fretting mother hens, our CEO and managing partner, Maria Marcotte and Ellyn Davidson, had to hide their eyes when some of the Broganites decided to use the pool’s rocky surround as a high dive.

That’s the thing about a Brogan mystery trip. It feels like a family vacation. Our only “official” get-togethers in Aruba were a Friday night dinner and our jeep tour, yet we chose to spend most of our other hours together. On our trip’s last night, we almost sent one of the hotel’s sleepier restaurants into crisis mode when all 29 of us showed up for dinner. The evening lasted for hours, but nobody was in a hurry to leave.

Brogan regularly receives “great place to work” recognition. There’s no doubt that our mystery trip perk is one reason why. But the real reason Brogan is a happy workplace is because we love to work together. If we didn’t have so much fun at our jobs every day, these getaways wouldn’t be nearly as special. We go together to places unknown, whether we’re talking about travel or new frontiers in the marketing world. And that's why none of us were surprised when we spent part of our Aruban weekend hatching plans for an exciting new Brogan project while we were there.

Brogan Mystery Trip 2013Brogan Mystery Trip 2013 crew 2

We’re here at Brogan, not because of the mystery trips, but because we love our work. We do it cheerfully, joyfully and yes, occasionally on a beach with mojitos in hand.

 

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Abercrombie & Fitch markets to women with mean.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Do I make you look fat?“Demographic.” “Target audience.” These are very useful terms of our trade. We all know that Anthropologie caters to bohemians, Lane Bryant celebrates the plus-sized, and Forever 21 is all about the young and trendy. Targeting helps companies find their niche and it gives shoppers a shortcut through the mall.

But Michael Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, has turned targeting into something ugly.

First, he created Abercrombie’s notorious small-size policy. The largest sizes available (to women, anyway) are size ten or Large.

He also instituted rigid requirements for the employees who can work in Abercrombie’s stores. They have to be young, beautiful, and thin. They’re also usually Caucasian.

Jeffries has long been open about his views. Abercrombie is cool, he told Salon in 2006, precisely because it excludes the “uncool.”

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”      

I agree with one (and only one) thing that Jeffries says here. Targeting a particular group (as the companies I mentioned above do) is smart.

But targeting them by making them feel like they’re better than their bigger peers? That’s the part I find reprehensible. It’s also bad business.

By being so bald-faced about his prejudice, Jeffries hasn’t just alienated average-sized people. (Let’s remember that, as Meg Cabot says, size 12 is not fat and neither is Size 14.) He’s alienated thin people who are friends with average-sized people. He’s alienated anyone, really, who has any empathy at all.

Wearing Abercrombie clothes is now making a statement. It’s saying that you support the man who said it’s cool to exclude; the man who produced a T-shirt that said, “Do I Make You Look Fat?”

My 13-year-old daughter long ago rejected Abercrombie & Fitch for its showy labels. “Why would I want to walk around with a giant ad on my clothes?” she asked me.    

But if she were an Abercrombie fan, I have a feeling this latest controversy would turn her off. The company has revealed its target audience to be queen bees and mean girls (and boys) — people who feel better about themselves by making others feel bad.

I’m happy to say that my daughter does not fall into this demographic, and neither do any of her friends.

The next time I set out to buy my kids some trendy clothes, I’ll be likely to head to a store like H&M, which sells both teeny-tiny teen duds and plus-size ones. H&M has also recognized that 67 percent of the purchasing population is plus-sized and started featuring a plus-sized model in their swimsuit ads

If more shoppers support companies that celebrate our different shapes instead of shaming them, Abercrombie’s brand of cool is bound to go out of style.

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