Ohio State University is gearing up to name its emergency center the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department, recognizing the $10 million donation the company has made to the school. This is actually the second Columbus hospital to dedicate an ER to the clothing brand. We’ll give you a moment to wrap your head around that…
A&F is based in New Albany, OH and seems to be making a point of ensuring the state’s hospitals are well-funded. The company has also donated money to create the Abercrombie & Fitch Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
And, against the protests of a group called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has renamed its emergency center after A&F donated $10 million in 2006. The Campaign objects to what it calls Abercrombie’s sexualization of children in its ads, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
It’s crazy that this is the same company that got into hot water just a few months ago for saying that its clothes are only for a certain hip demographic.
Back in May, the clothing company was the target of a video campaign, “Fitch the homeless,” which donated Abercrombie clothing to the homeless people after the company’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, said the company’s clothes are only for the “cool kids.” Those cool kids don’t include women with wear larger sizes. In that case, the filmmaker behind the video, Greg Karber, told Mashable he “wanted to do something to turn that negative energy into a positive social good.” The video opens with the line “Abercrombie & Fitch is a terrible company.” And it says the company burns clothes rather than donate them to the needy.
But the company was actually already using some of its energy for the public good. Companies will often donate to local organizations, but philanthropy isn’t something you automatically associate with Abercrombie & Fitch. Which makes you wonder why, outside of Ohio, the company doesn’t want to be known for its good works. For those of us who don’t know, the gifts seem so out of character that you can’t even really associate them with the brand.
According to CSR experts we’ve spoken with in the past, it used to be that companies didn’t talk up their good works. Maybe A&F is going old school in its philanthropic approach, a strange twist for a company that works so hard to be cool and hip.
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