Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mystery Solved: Who Were Those A&F Guys?

I wasn't the only one who blogged or commented about those guys behind Obama during his concession speech in Evansville, PA on Tuesday night wearing Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts. The blogosphere lit up, even drawing in Conan O'Brian to comment on the "Background Jackass of the Day."

I was surprised I was in the minority when it came to the theories as to why they were there. A few said that the "Obama brand" and A&F both happen to be popular among a younger demographic, so it was a coincidence. The majority of the blogs that night speculated that the Obama campaign had placed those guys behind Obama to appeal to younger voters, or had been paid by A&F for the product placement (Some blogs even went so far as to say the campaign wanted to appeal to males who, shall we say, might appreciate an A&F catalog full of buff models who didn't actually wear any of A&F's t-shirts, or anything for that matter).

That never crossed my mind, given that Obama already has the youth vote and has stated that his challenge will be winning over the elderly. Only a few people thought, as I did, that A&F had infiltrated the event as a marketing ploy, something A&F's spokesperson immediately denied.

Well, everyone was wrong, and right, at the same time. CNN interviewed brothers Brian and Brandon Ferguson, and their friend Cole Marker on Friday. Apparently, Marker is an Obama supporter and asked his friends the Fergusons, who were undecided and unregistered, if they wanted to go to the event. Marker happens to work at a local A&F store and gave his friends the shirts, but it wasn't something driven by corporate headquarters and he swears it wasn't deliberate. As to their placement, the campaign had asked a large group of people if they wanted to sit behind Obama--the three friends just happened to line up right behind the podium.

As to the part which irritated me the most, which was their blank stares and distracted behavior, including talking to each other and on their cell phones, Marker say they just couldn't hear the speech and Brandon Ferguson says he just answered his phone on instinct. They've been reading the blogs and Brian Ferguson says it's been "the most stressful week ever."

My post was mostly criticizing A&F, and while I doubt they read this blog, sorry dudes.

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