The clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch has been involved in numerous minor controversies in the last 20 years. The most recent of these was the revelation of CEO Mike Jeffries’s 2006 comments that the company deliberately markets to “cool, good looking people” and aims to “go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong… and they can’t belong. …Companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.” Or, in simpler terms, “no fatties.” The store doesn’t stock women’s extra-large clothing.
And so the company is trying to make amends, sort of. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, Abercrombie, which is based in New Albany, Ohio, is being very generous:
Ohio State University plans to name the new emergency department at its medical center after the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing company, a year after another Columbus hospital named its emergency center after the brand.
The Ohio State Board of Trustees is to vote Friday on a proposal to create the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department, which will be twice the size of the department now housed at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center when it opens in 2014.
Emergency rooms, of course, generally have lots of people who aren’t “attractive all-American kids with great attitudes and a lot of friends.” But I guess this is a different kind of branding.
The company has donated more than $10 million to the OSU medical center.
Many publications report that there’s already a faculty position at OSU named the “Abercrombie & Fitch Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” which is actually much funnier (least sexy title ever), but I sort of don’t think that’s really true; so far I haven’t been able to find anyone at OSU who holds that position.