Digital Transformation Snap American Eagle Outfitters

Why American Eagle Outfitters is betting early on Snapchat Spectacles


By Charlotte McEleny | Asia Editor

December 14, 2016 | 5 min read

The fit between Snapchat and apparel brand American Eagle Outfitters is clear, both share the same young, trend-aware audience, but as Snapchat Spectacles has only launched in the US, the surprise is that the brand is taking an early punt on the platform in Hong Kong.

Snapchat Spectacles

American Eagle Outfitters on why they used Snapchat Spectacles

The campaign, by TBWA, is a Christmas extension to the brand’s platform #WeAllCan, which intends to place the brand in the middle of its audience’s passions and concerns. Primarily an influencer campaign, part of the content was filmed using Snapchat Spectacles and a competition element was added to encourage people to engage.

Samson Li, regional marketing director at American Eagle Outfitters, said the reason it decided to run with TBWA’s idea to use Snapchat Spectacles was three-fold.

“Firstly, it’s about the zeitgeist and millennials. For this generation, some strong themes are ‘the future, being in control, speaking the truth, and appreciating the idea that you only live once’. These are ideas that American Eagle Outfitters also stands for and explore through its brand platform.

Secondly, while these are ideas that this generation think about constantly, Snapchat as a medium captures a lot of that. By nature, Snapchat is immediate, transient, authentic, day-to-day and moment-to-moment. So the platform, users and user behaviour aligns with American Eagle Outfitters in that sense.

Thirdly, the launch of Snapchat Spectacles is starting and reigniting the ongoing conversation on wearable tech which is linked to progressive fashion and, of course, the younger generation are looking to the future of fashion and demanding more from it,” he said.

The idea came about during a training sessions at TBWA for its Disruption Live methodology, a tool used by the agency to insert brands into real-time cultural triggers. According to Jan Cho, general manager and head of digital at TBWA Hong Kong, the agency realised that the hype around Spectacles was something that could play into the American Eagles Outfitters’ #WeAllCan campaign and then sold the idea into the client.

“Part of the process we use in our agency is to make sure we’re not shoehorning a “trigger” such as news event, cultural happening, social phenomena, technology into a brand. It has to check out and be a good fit on every level of the brand to creative to distribution to public relations,” he said.

They then had to track down one of the illusive pairs, which have only been sold via pop-up vending machines in the US so far, eventually securing a pair on Ebay.

The campaign has been well received so far but both Li and Cho believe that the Snapchat platform has a lot more potential for brands that isn’t yet being realised without official presence or servicing in region.

A key issue for brands is how labour-intensive managing Snapchat is via unofficial means. Cho, said: “We are still yet to see brands in Asia doing anything specifically on Snapchat as advertising is not supported. Brands will have to rely on having user profiles and the hope of gaining followers from other social platforms. It is more demanding for brands to create content on Snapchat; it’s higher frequency and more effort compared to Facebook and Instagram. Brands might need to look into internal resources to create these bite-size content to reduce the approval process.”

Similarly, Li says many brands are using just influencers to get in front of Snapchat users, “We feel that a way round for brands in Asia is to collaborate with Snapchat influencers and ride on their existing views. Snapchat Spectacles created the perfect opportunity to create unique first person point-of-view content and as a brand to experiment with this content format. It would be interesting to see Snapchat allocating resources to help advertisers in Asia to pilot their ad products.”

Currently Snapchat is serviced from Australia for the Asia Pacific region, though it is clear that there is a groundswell of brands primed to spend on the Snapchat platform elsewhere in the region.

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