Women to Watch 2007

Kathy Savitt

American Eagle Outfitters

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BACK TO START: Michelle Gass

When Kathy Savitt took the job as CMO of American Eagle Outfitters in early 2006, she started turning the company's retail outlets and website into entertainment media to reach its desired 15-to-25-year-old demo.

Kathy Savitt, exec VP-chief marketing officer, American Eagle Outfitters


"For our group of customers, entertainment is woven throughout their life," says Ms. Savitt, 45. The exec VP-chief marketing officer at the apparel chain recently announced American Eagle's first foray into producing original programming with "It's a Mall World," a 12-episode series produced by Milo Ventimiglia, a star of NBC's "Heroes," to air during MTV's "The Real World: Sydney" in August. An extended version will stream on AE.com, with outtakes and other material shown in stores. Other series are in the works.

In March, the company hosted spring-break parties in Cancun and Acapulco that featured concerts by Fergie and Ludacris. Footage of the events was shown in stores and online. In January, Ms. Savitt took American Eagle to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time and created a branded spa and gifting suite for celebrities to get acquainted with the company's new Aerie line and take home clothing for either themselves or their kids. The venue hosted the White Party where 30 Seconds to Mars performed, another event broadcast in stores.

"Kathy is one of the few brand-marketing executives who has figured out Hollywood and made it work effectively," says Peter Benedek, board member of United Talent Agency, which reps American Eagle Outfitters.

Turning American Eagle's stores and website into marketing tools was a no-brainer, Ms. Savitt says. "What we wanted to do was actually create content that was cool rather than draft off of content that was already out there."