Last night, the company aired what it says is a TV first: a series of 30-second 'episodes' in which six real-life customers, sitting on a wraparound couch wearing the apparel, talked about themes inspired by the plotlines of "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars."
The company says ongoing "aerie tuesdays" will chronicle actual experiences and emotions of these girls throughout the season, as well as their take on the shows' characters and plot twists. Throughout the season (the ads run Tuesday nights until Dec. 5), American Eagle will promote both shows in its stores, airing exclusive footage from The CW series on in-store video screens. Cast members of both shows will make surprise visits to sign autographs.
A companion Web site, www.aerie.com, features a Tuesday's Trivia game in which contestants answer questions based on the night's show for a chance to win a walk-on role on "Veronica Mars" later in the season.
While teen retailers like American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch have been having a strong season, there is no such thing as status quo in the teen market.
Pacific Sunwear, once a darling for its skate and surfwear, just announced the abrupt resignation of CEO Seth Johnson, as well as a 2.4 percent decline in same-store sales for September. Sally Frame Kasaks, a director of the company who has run Ann Taylor, Talbots, and Abercrombie and Fitch, stepped in as interim CEO.
Meanwhile, Hot Topic, another popular chain, has also struggled to connect with teens, reporting same-store sales down 6 percent in August.
These medium-sized chain stores form the mall reality of today's teen shoppers--and about 30 percent of teens ages 14 to 18 say they buy most of their clothes at such stores, according to Look-Look, a youth-culture research company.