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Is your brand ready for the Back-to-school bonanza?

The kids have broken up from school and many parents are now contemplating how they’ll incorporate the new role of ‘Child Entertainer’ into their already busy schedule of back-to-back Zoom meetings. However, no sooner had the kids broken up, marketers needed to be finalising how they would steal a share of the voice during the manic ‘back-to-school’ shopping period.


Some have already started broadcasting theirs , notably George at ASDA which has recently launched a fantastic video that we firmly believe will make kids want to get their uniforms from the clothes racks next to the ready meals this September. Our own industry media are already applauding its fresh approach which features a grime song about the empowering return to education, performed by a group of primary school aged kids. George at ASDA has invested a lot of time in the campaign, kicking it off back in April, and when watching the ad you can see the work that’s gone into it. What’s interesting to note is that it’s focused very much on the excitement that kids (well, most) will be feeling at the prospect of returning to some sort of normality when the new school year starts. This will undoubtedly be replicated by brands across the spectrum, so clever work by George at ASDA for getting in there first to set the trend, as obvious as it may seem.

Another approach is to tap into kid’s creativity, something we undertook on behalf of BIC KIDS. Our brief was simple – deliver a campaign with creativity at its’ heart, while putting BIC KIDS’ products front and centre. With research highlighting that children were spending more time using screens, we wanted to remind parents of how valuable quality time is. So during BIC KIDS’ key Back-to-School sales period, we launched an inspiring campaign which engaged 5-11-year-old across the UK and Republic of Ireland, as well as their parents. The BIC KIDS Young Artist Award gave children the once in a lifetime opportunity to have their amazing artwork taken beyond the fridge door and used as part of BIC KIDS’ out-of-home advertising campaign, on nearly 100 billboards across the UK and Ireland.

Our campaign reached over 30m, attracted over 1,000 entries, and nearly 20,000 members of the public cast their vote. What’s more, BIC saw a valuable rise in year-on-year sales.

On the flipside, a campaign addressing concerns, if done correctly and sensitively, can really cut through the noise. This approach was taken by Kleenex back in 2016 and saw the brand examining the anxieties of pupils starting at a new school. The key to its success was that it was heartfelt, honest and entirely relatable – whether it’s the first day of school or walking into a new job on day one – we all understand that anxious feeling and therefore in a subconscious way, we feel that Kleenex understands us too. The clever campaign entitled #ShareKleenexCare was said to have helped the brand connect emotionally with its customers and undoubtedly put them front of mind with consumers when they were buying a pack of tissues ahead of doing the first day of school drop off.

The rise of kidfluencers dictates that we couldn’t do a roundup of approaches without including a campaign with them. Many brands have tried this route with varying success. The campaigns that failed to win hearts and minds seemed to fall flat due to what looked like a very rigid plan created by a marketing team that doesn’t fully understand what attracts an audience to an influencer. Consumers can tell when something looks forced, especially Gen Z and younger, so to avoid being called out for being cringey, consider working with the influencers to shape the campaign. They’ve become popular because they understand their fanbase and you have gone to them because you want to sell to them. Collaboration is key to cutting through the corporate crowds – Nike did a brilliant job of this with its  #Best1stDay campaign. The super cool legacy brand conducted a multi-platform social campaign following seven influencers who were excited about going back to school. The authenticity of the campaign showed that – as a brand – it still very much understands the youth market and ensured that the whole campaign felt inclusive, without being forced.

With still so much uncertainty around what COVID will bring next and how it will impact the next school year, it’s easy to convince yourself to take the cautious approach and avoid investing in a standout campaign. However, with so much focus on this year’s school re-opening, for what is essentially a big milestone in returning to a new normal way of living, it’s never been more important to take the chance and steal your share of voice with the kids and the parents that shop for them.


If you’re a brand that’s wanting to embrace the back-to-school bonanza and keen to discuss a quickfire campaign that’ll help you cut through the noise, email us today for a consultative call –