A+ ‘Back To School’ Campaigns

By 24/08/2018Ads, Digital

There’s no avoiding them, the summer bummer ‘back to school’ campaigns have risen once again. As August comes to an end, it sees the beginning of a new school and college year for lots of students. Some may claim they’re not looking forward to the academic year ahead, but they definitely have their eye on that first day outfit, cool stationary and even new digs accessories. Here are some creative back to school and college campaigns that we graded A+.


Staples are a market leader when it comes to office and stationery supplies, so jumping on the ‘back to school’ bandwagon is a no brainer for them. Through consumer research they discovered that this time of year can increase stress levels for both parents and students – enter ‘Scan my list’. ‘Scan my list’ is a feature available on the Staples mobile app, once downloaded the user simply snaps a picture of their ‘to get’ list to the Staples Bot, which starts to add items to the customers basket. When the list is complete the Staples Bot notifies the customer, who can then purchase and choose to pick up at the store or delivered straight to their home. Through ‘Scan my list’ Staples eliminates consumer pain points and at the same time gets their app installed on customers’ phones.


For some college goers the new term means the first big move out of their family home into their own space, decorating and personalising it how they like. In their back to college campaign, Ikea fought through the noise and went directly to where millennials communicated online. Partnering with Snapchat and with the help of influencer duo Mitch and Scott, the brand created the first ever interactive video on the social media platform. In a Snap Ad users were prompted to ‘swipe up’ taking them to a user controlled video featuring Ikea’s latest range for school and college students. The authentic effort resulted in users spending on average 80 seconds with the video and continuing to purchase on the Ikea site. You can play along with the video here.


Sometimes simply speaking the same language as millennials will score you big points with them. If you keep up to date with the latest viral memes, you’ll have seen ‘The Starter Pack’ meme all over your social feeds. ‘The Starter Pack’ meme involves a collage of items that aim to indicate what type of person who likes these things are, ultimately calling out stereotypes and cliches. Bed, Bath and Beyond creatively crafted the popular trend into their ‘back to school’ campaign, offering their product range in six different bundles including “I need a nap starter pack”, “master crammer starter pack” and “I miss my fam starter pack”. The memes were shared across social by millennials who unintentionally ended up directly marketing the brand to each other, a clever marketing ploy by the retail giant.


Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or at least that’s what Kellogg’s wants you to think. This year the food company teamed up with Blippar to educate and inspire kids in preparation to go back to school. Running across seven countries in seven languages, the campaign aims to teach kids essential skills such as maths, rhythm, coordination and facts about nature. Once parents download the Blippar app, they can scan the special cereal boxes which launches a bunch of educational AR games for their kids. Transforming breakfast mornings, the AR feature brings together a fun and learning experience for children.


The best back to school campaigns are ones that can last throughout the year and not just peak in August and September. Music streaming platform, Spotify generated a customised playlist for users to listen to when they studied. College or school goers simply answered a bunch of personality based questions and once the quiz was complete a ‘Study Jams’ playlist was produced. The playlist could then be saved to the users profile allowing them to listen to their favourite songs whenever they wanted to.

A clever and creative ‘back to school’ campaign can get consumers notice your brand when they’re not really paying attention… but what if they are paying attention? Statistics show that ‘back to school’ is the second biggest retail period of the year, with some consumers beginning to Google search school and college related terms as early as June. For brands, this means that their Google Adwords needs to be on point. Not sure how to optimise your Google Adwords account? Don’t worry, Verve created a ‘simple steps guide to boost your Adwords account’ that you can also check out here.