Abercrombie & Fitch Ad a Tour de Force

30 Jan

Abercrombie & Fitch’s new advertisement (available here), filmed in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, is a tour de force of sociological documentary filmmaking.  While some critics may see the spot as just another attempt to sell shirts by exploiting sexy models and the retro rhythm and blues of Duffy’s “Mercy,” in reality the piece underscores the dire economic conditions and resulting anomie facing the region.

The opening shot of stately coastal homes and sailboats establishes a seemingly exclusive and monied setting.  However, this feint is followed by a reel of hard-hitting economic reality.   The black and white format adds  the existential gravity of film noir.

The lack of a shirt on the male character immediately symbolizes a grave issue facing young people in Maine today.  There is an undeniable lack of well-paying jobs for those in the “recently graduated” demographic. Many of our educated youth are forced to leave the state in search of employment in Boston, New York, or even the West Coast. Those who stay often can’t afford clothes. It may come to down to a choice of wearing a shirt or pants.

There are shots of the young man hauling a row boat to the shore, an indictment of the dying fishing industry. Subsequent scenes of him running with his dog show how Maine men have been reduced to their most primitive state: That of the pre-historic hunter-gatherer who domesticated wolves to aid his survival.

The young woman in the piece also reinforces the theme.  Her first extended scene shows her driving.  She is coming from somewhere else, both in place and in opportunity. Her face is serious and determined. She knows the hardship her man is facing. The film ends with the couple embracing in a field, though it is clearly established that he will be leaving with her.  Oppurtunity and hope exist where she lives.  There he will be able to afford pants and a shirt.

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6 Responses to “Abercrombie & Fitch Ad a Tour de Force”

  1. aaron, of course January 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Sell out! LOL!

    BTW, somebody should tell them how miserable they are, ’cause they sure looked wicked happy!

    Like ‘Woooppiiiieeeee!!!! I’m not 40 with a wife and 3 kids and a mortgage and a tax bill through the roof and working in a crumbling industry under assault, and I’m not 30 pounds overweight, and I don’t own a mini-van, and I didn’t have water in my basement!” LMAOOOO.

    Like they have a right to be miserable.

  2. Chilly Nate January 31, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    Al,
    Thank-you for such a well written review of the Abercrombie video!
    I must say I enjoyed the music, the Kennebunk views and the Golden!
    I have watched it a half a dozen times…just to go back and check your references to dire economic conditions…I think I may have to watch a few more times..:)…I must add, that I am sure there are many women viewers who are glad that the male character is undergoing hardships and cannot afford a simple shirt!
    Take a walk throught the Maine Mall and check out the retail store window…More examples of lack of opportunity displayed!
    Melanie

  3. JJ&TK January 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Dude, if this guy is that hard up and needs a job, may I suggest, hum? maybe a summer bartending job in the port? No shirt required, please!

  4. Lenzo February 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Well done Albertguschip. One of your best.

  5. magnostic February 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    One question – what does his butt crack symbolize? TARP?

  6. handsome jim February 12, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    You sure the message isn’t “Buy these jeans and bone this chick”? Cause thats what I got out of it.

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