- American Eagle introduced its first digital clothing collection on Bitmoji, the cartoon avatar creation platform owned by Snapchat, per a news release.
- Virtual versions of brand ambassadors Addison Rae, Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Caleb McLaughlin and Jenna Ortega are decked out in the retailer's back-to-school collection and appear on the standalone Bitmoji app and Snapchat. Their outfits mirror the ones they wear in new "Future Together. Jeans Forever" ads that try to capture the excitement of friends being able to get together in person again.
- American Eagle is also testing an augmented reality (AR) experience where users can virtually try on and shop selected looks from the collection directly on Snapchat using the front-facing camera. The apparel brand, which has seen products take off in popularity thanks to creator endorsements, continues to try and blend marketing content with social commerce tools.
American Eagle is leaning into the appeal of its young ambassadors with a back-to-school campaign that uses their digital likeness to show off new clothes on Bitmoji. In deploying the Dress Yourself try-on experience at the same time on Snapchat, the marketer looks to more closely link its content with a way to purchase. Users can also outfit their own Bitmojis in the digital digs.
More back-to-school shopping is expected to be conducted online — including on social media platforms — than in years past amid lingering concerns around the coronavirus and the recent reinstatement of indoor mask mandates in several cities. Social commerce sales in the U.S. are forecast by eMarketer to rise 35.8% year-on-year to $36.62 billion this year.
Centering more of its marketing on influencers has paid off for American Eagle. Rae, in particular, has helped bolster the brand's appeal. A Launchmetrics report found that the creator, one of the most popular on Snapchat rival TikTok, where she commands more than 80 million followers, generates millions of dollars in media impact value for American Eagle, per Women's Wear Daily.
Rae also starred in American Eagle's back-to-school push last year, an effort that tried to channel TikTok culture and was shot over Zoom due to lockdown measures. The latest ads make nods to broader themes of optimism and connecting again in person, although some of those plans could be put on hold as the delta variant of COVID-19 causes new disruptions to daily life. The cast promoted the campaign's rollout last week on the live audio room app Clubhouse, American Eagle said.
American Eagle has forged deeper ties with Snapchat in recent months as the disappearing photo app broadens its commerce ambitions. For its spring campaign earlier this year, American Eagle created an AR-powered jeans guide on Snapchat that allowed viewers to virtually inspect denim, try it on and make a purchase.
Shifting more focus to Snapchat potentially speaks to how retailers can't afford to keep all their eggs in one basket when trying to reach elusive young groups like Gen Z. Some American Eagle products like a pair of Aerie-brand leggings have become a viral favorite on TikTok thanks to creator endorsements, a phenomenon the company could be trying to replicate elsewhere as social commerce tools proliferate.