Brands Earning A’s on Back-to-School Campaigns

Even though the weather is still consistently hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the U.S., summer is coming to a close, meaning America’s second-largest retail season is in full swing. 

The back-to-school season is more than backpacks and binders, with brands of all kinds looking to capitalize on the electronics, clothing and more that consumers are prepared to buy.

Famous Footwear – Light up the Year

Famous Footwear is owning the branded content game with brief video clips advertising their BOGO special to encourage potential shoppers to ‘light up their year’ with two new pairs of shoes for the price of one. Ranging from 15 to 30 seconds, their YouTube commercials are garnering around 1 to 3 million views each. All three of the top-viewed back-to-school marketing videos on YouTube from the last 90 days come from just one brand: Famous Footwear.

Snackable content like what Famous Footwear is producing has been proven to appeal to Gen Z consumers. In fact, mastering this form of content and being able to tell a story in 30 seconds or less should be on the top of any marketers to-do list. 

Best Buy – Student and Parent Hubs

Best Buy implemented student and parent hubs on their website dedicated to making it easy for both parties to find their ideal back-to-school products. By including a variety of information and guides, Best Buy captures several shoppers in the early stage of their buying journey, which can help the company turn students into longtime customers after establishing trust and proving to be a useful resource. Best Buy also increases the chances that the family will end up purchasing their school supplies from them, rather than doing research through a third party and potentially using another retailer. 

Kleenex – Someone Needs One

Back in 2016, Kleenex tugged at our heartstrings by touching on the anxiety and uncertainty that can be associated with going back to school, particularly if a student is starting at a new school. In their “Someone Needs One” campaign, Kleenex ran a survey to reveal how elementary school kids felt about transitioning into middle school, which illuminated several of the anxieties plaguing the minds of these tweens. 

Kleenex partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to run a workshop for the students that the campaign focuses on heavily. At the end of the workshop, students exchanged packets of Kleenex with heartfelt messages. 

Not only does this ongoing campaign connect with its target audience on an emotional level, but the emotion they are evoking goes hand-in-hand with the product they’re selling. The campaign also used the hashtag #ShareKleenexCare on social media, where people could share their own experiences heading back to school.