AEO + SCA + You: Alternative Spring Break - American Eagle Outfitters and Student Conservation Association
In order to connect deeply with its target customer, millennial youth ages 15-25, and build a relationship beyond the store transaction, American Eagle embraces an empowering brand mantra, “Live Your Life.” To activate this mantra, American Eagle teamed up with the Student Conservation Association in a twelve week cause marketing campaign focused on environmental conservation.
The 12 week ‘AEO + SCA + You: Alternative Spring Break’ campaign was meant to authentically introduce the AEO target audience to the youth conservation movement and deliver the conservation value proposition (“why you should care”) through a series of events over 11 weeks, and then execute a week long cause related promotion (“what you can do about it”) in store and online at the end of the campaign to see how the target customers responded at retail.
Models for the spring “Live your Life” marketing campaign were sourced from existing student customers via an application process and then selected by an online voting process. Dressed in AEO’s Spring Line, these student models worked over their spring break as SCA volunteers to restore several acres of endangered wildlife habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains. Photos from this experience served as AEO marketing photos. Video captured during the experience was played in all AEO stores, on the AEO Times Square Billboard, and online during the length of the campaign.
AEO store windows and bag stickers encouraged youth to get involved through SCA and help decide via another online voting contest where the next AEO + SCA project location. More than 5,000 individuals voted in the campaign and nearly 1,000 students signed up to volunteer at the winning project – Gateway National Park Hurricane Sandy Recovery.
The final week of the 12-week campaign activated an in-store promotion asking AEO customers to sign up for their loyalty credit card. Instead of receiving 15% off their purchase for enrolling in the program, the 15% was donated to support SCA. If a customer already had a card or opted not t sign up, they were told that AEO would match any contribution made to support SCA up to $100,000.
As a result, AEO showed a 147% year over year growth in the credit card sign up campaign and social media activity for the 12 week campaign period was up 64% among the target group of 15-25 year old members. Contributions to SCA during the 10 day giving program totaled $460,000 and SCA member applications increased by 35% to record high of nearly 30,000. In addition, SCA gained more than 1600 followers on both Facebook and Twitter.