American Eagle tunes to TikTok’s SoundOn for back-to-school campaign

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Diving Brief:

  • American Eagle detailed a back-to-school campaign that includes metaverse activations and the first branded app of TikTok’s SoundOn feature, by press release.
  • The seasonal effort focuses on music through partnerships with three up-and-coming Gen Z bands. The retailer also enlisted an artist from SoundOn for a custom song, which serves as the campaign anthem and is part of a TikTok hashtag challenge.
  • On the metaverse front, American Eagle has produced a virtual reality experience for Meta Quest 2 that will go live Saturday at eight stores. The retailer is also hosting an interactive Roblox performance with one of its music partners on Friday as it seeks to bridge digital and experiential tactics.

Overview of the dive:

American Eagle is experimenting with a number of nascent digital channels to add flair to its back-to-school marketing this year. Thematically, the campaign focuses on the cultural power of music through ties with Gen Z musicians Blu DeTiger, Spill Tab and the duo Tabakian x Tanisako, as well as an unprecedented use of TikTok’s SoundOn feature.

TikTok remains a top channel for the youth-focused retailer as clothing trends on the video-sharing app have already boosted sales and expanded brand reach among its target demographic. sound activated, a music marketing and distribution The TikTok service debuted in March, helping artists upload their music and start collecting royalties from TikTok and more than 90 other platforms.

American Eagle used SoundOn to connect with musician and influencer Katherine Li, who polished one of his songs, “Happening Again”, to serve as the back-to-school anthem. Li and five other TikTok creators are promoting the song in a branded hashtag challenge that goes live Tuesday and asks users to shoot a video showing off their American Eagle jeans. Three winners will receive gift cards worth $3,000 and have their submissions shared on a Times Square billboard after the contest ends Thursday.

Alongside TikTok, American Eagle continues to bet on the metaverse. The company has shot behind-the-scenes footage specifically for VR that feels like an in-store experience in select locations and can be viewed through YouTube and Facebook’s 360-degree video portals online. Virtual concerts in games like Fortnite and Roblox have also turned out to be a sticky idea of ​​the pandemicwith American Eagle trying to capture some of their popularity.

The brand has designed a custom indie pop-themed stage on Roblox where Blu DeTiger will perform his song “Vintage” for fans. The activation includes the first use of a “like” mod in Roblox that allows players to interact with the performance. American Eagle is simultaneously hosting a back-to-school scavenger hunt and events at two DJ booths that have their own merchandise booths.

American Eagle first tried out Roblox, one of the top metaverse destinations, for its “Members Always” Spring Campaign. The retailer partnered with Livetopia, an existing role-playing game that ranks among Roblox’s most popular, to create an inclusive club that people could explore using their digital avatars.