Local ShoppingInside American Eagle’s tie-up with ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’

Inside American Eagle’s tie-up with ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’

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American Eagle is channeling sunshine and coastal vibes for its latest campaign and clothing collection, teaming up with the cast of coming-of-age drama “The Summer I Turned Pretty” to get Gen Z warm-weather ready ahead of the Amazon Prime Video series’ second season.

Aptly titled “The Summer of Us,” the campaign launched May 23 and boasts partnerships with actors Christopher Briney, Gavin Casalegno and Lola Tung, the three stars of the Prime Video romance. The campaign is meant to promote human connection and will span in-store, American Eagle’s digital properties, including its website and mobile app, and the brand and talent’s social media channels through the end of the summer. The speciality retailer will also share custom content promoting its summer collection across TikTok, Instagram and Snap, along with experiments on Lemon8, which the brand recently joined.

The choice to partner with “The Summer I Turned Pretty” cast was a no-brainer, according to American Eagle Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers, who took notice of the series’ cultural impact on the younger generation when it debuted last year. The show, which will release its second season on July 14, tells the story of a girl who finds herself in a love triangle with two brothers during what was supposed to be a perfect summer.

“(The show) has the spirit of the summer season, it has a spirit of getting outside and living out loud,” Brommers said. “The style of the show made it an obvious choice for AE.”

More specifically, the series possesses a sense of optimism — and a convenient appreciation for denim — that the retailer instills in its branding, the exec said. The campaign was designed with the goal of boosting the mood for Gen Z as the cohort continues to recover from feelings of loneliness and isolation spurred from pandemic restrictions.

“It’s about ‘us’ again, it’s about getting together again, it’s about that human connection that we’re all craving, but certainly Gen Z is craving,” Brommers continued.

American Eagle in the past has partnered with other shows popular among the younger generation, including Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” “Outer Banks” and “Never Have I Ever.” The brand also teamed up with “The Summer I Turned Pretty” last year around the holiday season to release two limited-edition garments. A focus on streaming falls under what Brommers describes as Gen Z “passion pillars,” with other focuses including music, gaming and community impact.

“I’m not sure if Gen Z knows what linear television is outside of maybe a live sporting event, but we do know they’re still heavy consumers of video, and not just TikTok, definitely heavy consumers of video on Netflix, on Prime, Hulu and Disney,” Brommers said.

Summer of social

Among social media plans, American Eagle will share content on TikTok, which remains Gen Z’s favorite social platform, featuring “The Summer I Turned Pretty” cast members. Examples already shared include get-to-know-you style videos and playful challenges, with the content dually showcasing items from the summer collection.

The brand is also doubling down on its use of nano-creators, or those that command smaller followings, to promote products from its best-selling categories. When it comes to American Eagle’s creator strategy, Brommers describes a “top down, bottom up” approach, which includes partnering with larger creators at the top level for reach and utilizing those with mid-size and smaller followings to up the odds of more personal, values-driven introductions.

On Snapchat, the retailer will launch two augmented reality experiences. The first, called Selfie Mode, utilizes a randomizer technology to match consumers with a variety of outfit pairings that users can sport in their selfies. Another experience, called World View, pairs summer occasion backdrops with styled virtual mannequins to help provide users with outfit inspiration.

“The insight behind that is that kids are really also wanting versatility in their outfitting today, so from the beach to the bar or from day to night, we’re trying to showcase some of that versatility,” Brommers said.

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