This morning, CNN Money ran the following story:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino may have to find some new attire for his "gym, tan, laundry" routine.
On Tuesday, clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) said it would offer "substantial payment" to MTV's The Jersey Shore's cast members to stop wearing the brand on air.
"We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans," an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said in a statement. "We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response."
The reality show, currently in its fourth season, features hard-partying and hookups in locations ranging from the show's origin, the Jersey Shore to the current season in Florence, Italy.
The castmates have coined terms like "grenade"-- to refer to an unattractive woman -- and has come under fire for their liberal usage of words like "Guido" and "Guidette," which many have argued as adhering to Italian-American stereotypes.
Abercrombie & Fitch is also no stranger to controversy. The all-American retailer has come under fire in the past for a range of topics ranging from negative stereotyping to sexually explicit material and employment practices.
Of course, the story turns out to be part of an Abercrombie & Fitch/MTV PR campaign.
Smart. And funny.
But it did get me thinking.
What if "blackmail marketing" really took off?
What combinations of celebrities and brands could make the most of this trend?