Corporate social responsibility is a great way for businesses to recognize the interests of society while acknowledging their impact on their audiences and environment. Abercrombie & Fitch has come up with a “brilliant” CSR tactic donating $10 million to the construction of a trauma center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The most shocking part of it all: The NCH could be renaming the building to the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center.
It makes sense for their CSR attempt tot arget children in hopes to further encourage support for its children’s store, abercrombie kids. However, Abercrombie & Fitch needs to change their advertising campaign. The use of sexual advertisements to represent a company that targets children and teens doesn’t seem to go hand-in-hand with a children’s hospital and many are speaking out against this relationship. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has sent a letter signed by approximately 70 pediatricians and academics stating their position on the situation.
Both the New York Times and Fox News have covered the protest against renaming the hospital. Fox News features an article written by the Associated Press that ends with the following quote: “Abercrombie & Fitch is well known for pushing the envelope in terms of teen sexuality, and to have an emergency room named after them is ludicrous,” said Dr. Victor Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, who signed the letter faxed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
How would you handle the bad press from this CSR move? I think it’s time for some crisis communication.