Remember back in August, when Abercrombie & Fitch declared that they would pay The Situation money to not wear its clothing on Jersey Shore? We all had a good laugh about it. Then Abercrombie’s stock dropped 9 percent, a fact which made The Situation giggle with malicious glee. But Sitch is not satisfied with seeing his enemies merely defeated. He will not rest until he crushes Abercrombie, and he sees the board of directors driven before him, and he hears the lamentations of their women. Thus, on behalf of MPS Entertainment – a company founded by The Situation and his brother, Marc – lawyers have filed a Florida lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for $4 million.
According to documents filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, the lawsuit essentially boils down to two main points: That Abercrombie’s offer of a payout was actually a double-reverse PR move intended to capitalize on The Situation’s fame; and that Abercrombie has violated Sitch’s trademarks on “The Situation” and “GTL” by marketing T-shirts with the slogans “The Fitchuation” and “GTL… You Know the Deal.” It’s an interesting argument: The August announcement was clearly intended as a PR move, albeit a complicated one, intended to capitalize on a celebrity’s infamy by getting what essentially amounted to an anti-endorsement. According to the legalese: “Defendant’s advertising campaign was immensely successful; as it resulted in hundreds of newspapers and thousands of internet bloggers, publishing stories about Defendant’s products and brand.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this lawsuit actually plays out, since it brings up all sorts of intriguing questions. (Is a media-baiting press release really “an advertising campaign”?) Certainly, Abercrombie doesn’t come off very well in all of this. As the papers note, Abercrombie “claimed that Sorrentino was contrary to ‘the aspirational nature of the brand,’” which is a funny argument to make, considering Abercrombie was selling clothing that specifically referenced the guy they were trying to distance themselves from. The Situation and his brother are currently asking for “a reasonably royalty in the amount of $1 million,” with an additional $3 million for “exemplary and/or punitive damages.” (Abercrombie did not immediately respond to an email inquiry for comment.)
But here’s the more interesting takeaway from all this: You have to at least slightly admire The Situation’s business acumen. Additional papers present Sitch’s trademark for various derivations of “Situation” and “GTL.” Those are both brand names which he essentially gets to advertise, free of charge, on one of the most popular shows in the country. Actually, not “free of charge”: MTV is paying him thousands of dollars to advertise himself. Yeesh, maybe Abercrombie should make him their new CEO.
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