For $50, American Eagle Outfitters is offering its skinniest skinny jeans ever. Sort of.
In Fash Track’s inaugural Things That Are Absurd feature, The Hollywood Reporter examines a bizarre new campaign from the retailer that aims to sell body paint in place of good old-fashioned leggings.
On Wednesday, AEO blasted an e-mail notification to its loyal shoppers introducing “The AEO Skinny Skinny” and appropriate tagline: “Lookin’ Tight.” Included in the e-mail is an image of two spray bottles in “Indigo” and “Bright Light” washes, allegedly for him and her. At first glance, the bottles could be a clever way to illustrate the “skinniest skinny jeans ever,” as in: These jeans are so tight, it’ll look like they're practically spray-painted on.
But upon further inspection, it becomes apparent the product AEO is selling exclusively online -- for no less than $49.95 -- is actually just body paint.
But there’s more.
A strange advertisement for the “jeans” features young men and women declaring their independence and delivering lines like, “I don’t want to be put in a box” and “I like skinny jeans; sometimes they’re not skinny enough.” The clip fails to give up the ruse in its 37-second entirety while zeroing in on painted behinds. At one point (though you may wish you’d missed it), a small flesh-colored crease can be seen.
While body paint has increased in popularity in recent years, this marks the first time the product has been sold and marketed to such a broad audience by a major clothing retailer. Or does it?
Shoppers hoping to nab a bottle of the blue stuff may be sorely disappointed when, after adding the item to their checkout cart, they receive a message that reads, “Sorry! The AEO Skinny Skinny is Temporarily Sold Out.” Still, the marketing ploy appears to be working. The Los Angeles Times, MSN Now, The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post have picked up on the campaign, posting photos of the product as well as the video -- which we’d describe as (in a word) absurd.
The brand is frequently used on teen-centered TV shows, including offerings on Disney Channel and The CW. AEO has served as the official sponsor of MTV’s spring break and outfitted multiple casts of the network's hit reality series The Real World and Road Rules. Since last fall, Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell has appeared in ads for the company.
E-mail: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci