American Eagle debuts a star-studded digital campaign that deals with one of the biggest debates on the internet: skinny jeans.
In what’s being called a “cultural reset”, Gen Z consumers have deemed skinny jeans “out”, opting instead for baggy and straight styles from the 90s. The topic ignited heated arguments between Gen Z and millennials, much of which takes place on TikTok, but has also bled into mainstream brand campaigns, like Gap’s recent Archive collection. American Eagle, which boasts a history of inclusivity, is applauding merits of all denim—both skinny and straight—via a new augmented reality shopping tool on Snapchat that features Outer Banks stars Chase Stokes and Madison Bailey for its spring 2021 campaign, “Jeans Are Forever”. The AR Jeans Guide will feature denim looks for mean and women, plus a 3D shoppable lens that gives users the ability to see a variety of American Eagle jeans in all their glory. Using digital and analog technology, the campaign is stitched with nostalgia, as it was photographed with a variety of cameras, including Polaroid, 16mm, Super 8, iPhones and more. In addition to headlining the campaign, Stokes and Bailey are also credited as photographers.
By looping in Stokes and Bailey, who boast almost 8 million collective followers on Instagram, American Eagle actively courts Gen Z culture. Not only did Outer Banks became a fast Gen Z favorite, about 50% of Gen Zers use Snapchat everyday. Similarly, by tackling an issue of great importance to consumers, both Gen Z and millennial, the brand can achieve an air of authority that is authentic to its brand, which has taken bold steps to break down typical beauty and style standards in the past. In fact, in an interview about the campaign, Bailey not only treats readers to a spoiler of Outer Banks season 2, but also mentioned that she still wears and loves skinny jeans.
Finally, the campaign amplifies the brand’s dedication to authenticity, which proved a successful tactic for its Aerie brand, in turn helping American Eagle skyrocket 31 spots in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. Unsurprisingly, the campaign arrives not long after American Eagle promoted former Aerie chief creative officer, Jennifer Foyle to global brand president of AEO Inc.