Fake American Eagle Ad Touts "Skinny Skinny" Spray-On Jeans

By An Phung
|  Monday, Mar 25, 2013  |  Updated 12:29 PM EDT
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A screenshot from American Eagle Outfitters latest ad campaign.

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These skinny jeans truly leave nothing to the imagination. Good thing they're fake.

American Eagle Outfitters' new YouTube ad purporting to sell spray-on jeans has gone viral much to the delight of the company's marketing department.

"We wanted to have fun with our fans," Vice President of Brand Marketing Bob Holobinko said on the Today show. "And the response has been incredible."

At first glance, it looks like any other American Eagle Outfitters ad, replete with cool-looking young adults doing cool things and wearing the retailer's latest creation: Skinny Skinny jeans.

But about 17 seconds into the video, viewers will notice that something is amok. The Skinny Skinny jeans are actually spray painted on and the actors are wearing no pants at all.

The YouTube video has been viewed almost 350,000 times, as of Friday morning. This faux ad comes a week after Pepsi launched a video that shows NASCAR star Jeff Gordon pranking a hapless car salesman. The salesman was reportedly in on the joke, but the video's popularity underscored the power of viral ads and its ability to promote brand awareness and get people talking.

"This is phenomenal," marketing consultant Peter Shankman said of American Eagle on the Today show. "A great way to bust out from the mainstream and people are talking about it."

The link in the video description takes viewers to AEO's online store, which purports to sell the spray-on jeans in Indigo and Bright Light.

But to be clear, the paint is not for sale, Holobinko said. Visitors who try to purchase the paint will get a message that says they're out of stock and a prompt that asks for shoppers' email addresses.

It isn't a total loss for those who were seeking a bigger pay-off to the fake ad.

"There will be an offer that the customer will receive throughout the campaign when we capture their email at the end," he said.

Holobinko also hinted that there will be more ads to come. The second ad is slated to appear next week. 

"We think of it is as a journey," he said. "So this is the first installment."

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