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Teen TV — Starring American Eagle
Retail spending might be down overall, but back-to-school market data show teens spending their hard-earned “summer job” money on electronics — and passing on the clothes.
But American Eagle Outfitters is taking the fight for disposable dollars into enemy territory, by launching its latest marketing on the same electronic gadgetry that is tempting teens away from its jeans and tees.
The campaign’s centerpiece is “It’s a Mall World,” a mini television series of 12 three-minute episodes, but will eventually feature original and user-generated content on television, in stores and on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.
By trying to turn itself into entertainment with the cool quotient of MTV, American Eagle aims to establish itself as the ticket to a stylish lifestyle, company spokeswoman Jani Strand said.
“We want to go beyond the clothes and create a relationship,” said Strand, who said the company has never created content on this scale. “(American Eagle) means cool clothes, it means style, but it also means entertainment and creativity.”
If it works, the strategy will infuse American Eagle’s trendy basics with an extra hint of hip, said Needham & Co. analyst Christine Chen.
“We all like to think we’re cutting-edge, but basically, we’re all comfortable with the basics, ” Chen said. “If they can project an image of coolness and still sell basic clothing,” that’s a winning proposition, because people buy lots of basics.
None of the company’s peers are doing comparable marketing, Chen said.
The monthly numbers will reveal whether the campaign was worth the expense, which American Eagle won’t disclose.
“If they can continue to beat expectations and grow market share, then I would say this is effective,” Chen said.