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Back to School Marketing Campaigns

By: capturecode | Aug 26, 2014

Companies across the US have been busy creating their back-to-school marketing campaigns to get the attention of the young adults who are all set to get back to their classrooms. A number of freshly made ads targeting the school going audience have hit the TV screens and most of them seem to have the same or similar themes. From encouraging self-expression to philanthropy, these marketing campaigns certainly got the attention they were vying for.

Here is a note on some of the common themes that you will find in the back-to-school ads this year.

Empowerment & self-expression

One of the common themes found in the back-to-school ads this year was celebration of self-expression. An ad by JC Penny goes with the punch line – “Find a fit that lets you be you”, encouraging customers to celebrate self-expression by picking a product that suits their style, shape, size, budget and the like. JC Penny also added an interactive feature called “Express Yourselfie”, enabling the users to create an emoticon or emoji that resembles them. JCP has used self-expression as a way to customize the shopping experience of its guests based on their personal style.

Giving back to the community

Philanthropy was yet another theme that most brands adopted for their back-to-school ad campaigns. One of the popular brands using this theme is Target, which had lost customers data due to a breach last year. This year, the brand’s punch line is “Buy One. Give One”, a theme that it has adopted in an attempt to gain back the trust of its customers. During the back-to-school shopping season, between July 15 and August 2, Target had offered to donate one up&up brand of school product on every purchase of one up&up purchase by the customers.

Another brand that followed a similar theme was Great Clips which partnered with AdoptClassroom.org to encourage its members to give back to educators and public education. The site donated a certain amount of money for every download made by customers, which would be used to provide educators in the public education system the necessary accessories to teach.

Hashtag awareness

Empowerment by saying “yes” was a repeat, yet a popular theme this year. This back-to-school theme was adopted by brands like Kohl’s, which had a slogan that said “Find Your Yes”, asking and encouraging customers to say yes to life and embrace it every day. According to the ad campaign, Kohl believes that we are inspired by what matters to us most, and what the customer wants is what matters most to the company.

Ads that got battered

Alongside ads that got attention for a good reason, there were a few that took a bashing for being “sexist” and fear-instilling. A few pawn broking companies that encouraged people use their services to pay for education were criticized for they could be putting fear in the children’s’ minds, while an American Apparel ad showing a girl in micro skirt bending and revealing her underwear came under fire for “sexism”.

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