Abercrombie's Sexy Abs Don't Do It for Facebook


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As you may or may not know, I double as TheStreet's Director of Social Media. That sounds fancy, but an alternative title could just as easily be Tweet Boy. "Hey boy! You best Tweet this story for me!.

You might also know that, unlike a vocal and somewhat annoying peanut gallery, I don't just think, I know Facebook advertising works and couldn't be more fair. So I love Facebook. Don't construe this as a shot at the company; it's merely an issue -- pulled from behind the scenes at TheStreet -- I thought was interesting and wanted to open up to the opinionated masses.

Out of all TheStreet's writers, Laurie Kulikowski threatens me with physical violence most if I don't post her stories to our various social media channels.

On Wednesday, Laurie suggested we post her story about Abercrombie & Fitch -- Abercrombie's Jeffries Provokes Even As Investors Cheer -- on Facebook. In reaction to fear of another beating, I quickly agreed and commissioned my image boy, Adam Leverone, to fetch a photo that would drive home the meat of this passionate story.

Also see: Men's Underwear Sales Show Bulge in the Economy

If you don't know what I'm talking about, just read Laurie's piece to get up to speed on the controversy the ANF CEO triggered. It involves "fat chicks."

Anyway, as usual, Adam delivered the goods, selecting an image that you might have seen on the side of a skyscraper in a major urban core. See the image and Facebook post here.

As you may or may not know, I moonlight as an Abercrombie model for spending cash.

As I often do, I put some of the massive advertising budget TheStreet provides me behind the above-linked Facebook post to get it in front of more of our fans. Somewhat to my surprise, Facebook rejected the ad for the following reason (as lifted verbatim from Facebook's email to me):

The image of your ad violates our Ad guidelines. Please note that we don't allow images that promote an ideal body/physical image for health related products.

I don't feel strongly about their decision one way or the other, which is part of the reason why I put this out for debate. I want to see if I can be convinced to go one way or the other. But, first some close to objective thoughts to consider ...

The first thing that stood out was that Facebook referred to "health related products." This is fashion. Apparel. Clothing. Not health related. But I get their point.

Second, this is quite arbitrary of Facebook. Why do they take exception with this post of an already widely circulated advertisement of, let's face it, a very attractive abdominal region, but not ...

The various photos of guns I have posted, like this pretty gnarly one of an AR-15 or whatever it is. You could certainly make a similar case against that as you can against the Abercrombie one.

But this puzzles me even more. This excellent Ross Kenneth Urken story made Jay Leno for goodness sake -- Men's Underwear Sales Show Bulge in the Economy -- and I posted it on Facebook with this provocative shot of an underwear model. I submitted an ad. Facebook approved it.

But the Abercrombie ad was a no-go. Arbitrary and capricious, it seems. A response to the current controversy? A judgment call made by one person who happened to be on duty?

Also see: Would You Buy The Ariel Castro House Where He Brutalized Three Women?

Anyhow, back in my sports talk radio days this is the type of thing we would have debated for hours. Yes. On sports radio. We love sports. We love stocks. We also loving arguing about the controversy of the day.

Put simply, should Facebook be making this relatively subjective call? And how do they determine what sort of image to reject vs. accept?

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

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