Back-to-school Campaigns We Love

Summer is winding down (at least we hear it does that in places outside of Texas) and kids are heading back to school soon, so we rounded up some of our favorite back-to-school campaigns to talk about what makes them work and what other brands can learn from them.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.


While Target is doing the fun social media posts for back-to-school like this one on their Instagram:

Target back to school
via Target on Instagram

They’ve been doing a lot of advertising on podcasts for back-to-school. Why podcasts? Turns out- at least according to stats from earlier this year and reported on in Wired- they are the advertising goldmine always hoped for:

“On average, according to Midroll’s data, podcast listeners are making it through about 90 percent of a given episode, and relatively few are skipping through ads.”

This data has emboldened a lot of brands to enter this new wild west of advertising space and brands like Target are doing it with ads recorded by the podcast hosts that flow seamlessly with the rest of the episode.

The takeaway? Try something new. Don’t be afraid to test out some new formats for your brand’s content, particularly if you have some industry numbers to back them up.


The athleisure market is a crowded one these days so Athleta is skewing younger to stand out, aiming a campaign timed perfectly for back-to-school at young girls- elementary and middle school aged- to help empower them to stay in sports.

From Marketing Dive:

“Some sobering numbers are behind the campaign that’s working to boost girls’ confidence and promote sports-fueled leadership skills.

‘We saw some statistics that concerned us,’ Shekar Pollak said. ‘By 14, girls’ confidence plummets as 50% of girls drop out of sports — that’s two times the rate that boys do. For girls who do stay in sports, their confidence levels dip less and go back up quicker. That really stopped us in our tracks, as both moms and athletes.’”

Launching a campaign that reflects a brand’s core values is a smart move in a consumer climate where buyers increasingly want to purchase from brands who share their values while rejecting inauthentic campaigns and attempts at connection.

Athleta is sharing this campaign across social in addition to bolstering it with live events like a field day held in NYC on July 31st. The idea of girls staying in sports isn’t limited to structured sports either, but expanded to leading an active lifestyle that will contribute to confidence and accomplishments throughout life. That’s based on another stat:

“‘When we first started digging in, we found that 61% of female executives said athletic activities contributed to their success, so we see sports as a multidimensional element to life.’”

Overall this campaign is a perfect extension of the “Power of She” and “International Day of the Girl” initiatives they’ve done in the past that also reflect their core brand values.

The takeaway? Any expansion of your brand should be built on your core values. Consumers look for this and will go elsewhere if they don’t see it.

Your favorites

What other great back-to-school campaigns have you seen this year in the wild? Tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Featured image via Unsplash.