Clothing brand Aerie’s first international summit sells out

Agency partner Shadow told PRWeek why the brand held the event.

Actress Beanie Feldstein attends the summit. (Image via Feldstein's Instagram page)
Actress Beanie Feldstein attends the summit. (Image via Feldstein's Instagram page)

Company: Aerie (owned by American Eagle Outfitters)
Campaign: #AerieREAL summit
Agency partners: Shadow (PR, social media, influencers)
Duration: March 8, 2020

Intimate apparel and lifestyle brand Aerie held a one-day summit in New York City in March, featuring talks on issues such as confidence, forgiveness and activism.

Strategy
In 2014, Aerie launched #AerieREAL, a campaign in which the brand committed to stop using digitally retouched photos. Since then, the company has held regular “real talks” at its stores with frank conversations between its “role models” and customers.

For some time, “we’d been thinking, what if we could make this bigger?” said Lisette Sand-Freedman, CEO of Shadow, Aerie’s agency partner. “What would that look like?”

In January, Aerie announced it was adding new role models to its roster, including actresses Lana Condor, Beanie Feldstein, Hari Nef and Ali Stroker.

In mid-February, Shadow began planning its first large-scale, international summit. The agency ensured that the role models were available and secured a venue: the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, also a Shadow client. 

Tactics
The event was planned in the span of six weeks, Sand-Freedman said. Twelve of the company’s 13 role models attended, as did a number of influencers, including Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, Lola Ogunnaike and Berna Anat.

The day-long summit was divided into three themed sections: Reflection, intention and action. Sessions included discussions about sustainability, using your voice and the power of forgiveness. 

Aerie’s role models posted content promoting the summit leading up to the event, as well as during and after. 

Shadow coordinated on-site interviews with role models and influencers for journalists. Press invites and pitches went out two weeks before the event. 

Results
Tickets to the event cost $25, with 100% of the sales going to support the National Eating Disorders Association. The event’s original batch of 300 tickets sold out instantly, prompting the company to offer another 50 tickets, which also sold out. 

In the three-day period during and after the summit, Aerie’s social media following grew by 1,180.

Posts from role models about the campaign generated more than 857,000 likes and 1,100 comments.

The summit generated more than 22 earned media placements, including coverage from Access Hollywood, Daily Mail, Elle and People

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