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Get the Big Picture at the Big Apple--Literally

Effectively grabbing the attention of their target market, American Eagle executed a well-thought marketing plan to help launch their new flagship store in Times Square: give customers 15 seconds of fame.


An example of the photos on the AE Times Square billboard, added to the AE Facebook page by "Brandon Atwood"

The popular clothing company is attracting customers—and heavy media attention—to their new store that opened Nov. 19, by doing more than advertising boyfriend jeans and graphic tees. At their new location, customers who made a purchase could get their picture taken at a makeshift photo studio on the lower level, communicate a 50-character message and have both their picture and message displayed on a GIANT (25 stories high) electronic billboard outside of the store. How’s that for an easy 15 seconds of fame?

While your business may not be in Times Square, or have the capability to project pictures of your customers on giant billboards, there are things American Eagle did well that your company can do too.

  1. Know your demographic. Focus on targeting your customers in ways that appeal to them. Who are they and what characterizes them? It fit well for American Eagle’s demographic—twenty-somethings who are trendy, fashion forward and like any opportunity to be in the spotlight—to have its customers’ faces plastered on an electronic billboard for all walking the streets of Manhattan to see.
  2. Make your advertising personal. You probably won’t be purchasing electronic billboard space in Times Square, but maybe you can utilize variable printing that fits your business model. How about snapping photos of customers at trade show booths?
  3. Use an integrated plan. Ads on TV and in the New York papers weren’t enough for American Eagle, nor was a “new store” banner on their website. They used all avenues available to them, including unusual media forms. How about you? Are there ways you can leverage “free” media, or the power of your customers to spread the word? Perhaps a corporate blog, Facebook or Twitter? Aside from the press release announcing the marketing plan, AE relied on its customers to post blogs, tweets and Facebook statuses about their experience. And it worked – folks in South Carolina who won’t be in NYC any time soon even know about it!

Before you launch your next product, take the time to think creatively about how to best reach your audience. American Eagle knows their niche and found a way that worked for them.

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