The hour is nigh for back-to-school jingles. In the experiential world, this is sometimes referred to as the goldmine of marketing, because back-to-school shopping is not really a question of if, but when. Kids are going back to school. That’s just something that’s happening. And plenty of them are already elbows-deep in pencils, Lisa Frank stickers, and JCPenney outfits.
With experiential, you want to focus on when your campaign will make the biggest splash: before, during, or after an event. Only 3% of back-to-schoolers and their parents are strolling through stores after the semester has already commenced so that they can buy whatever remains in the ransacked, post-apocalyptic wasteland of picked-over merchandise. But a whopping 93% of shoppers comprise the battle-ready faction heading to Target weeks in advance to buy school supplies with determination and valor, like they’re storming the beaches of Normandy.
Those are the people you want to target. But how? Well, by creating unique experiences to connect your brand with consumers and impact purchasing decisions. Macy’s partnered with Pentatonix to mastermind a little friendly inter-school a cappella competition. Dell utilized the talents of teenage superstars, like a nuclear physicist, a fashion designer, and a tech entrepreneur. Target capitalized on our obsession with small animals and released an advert with kittens getting dressed, ducklings taking selfies, and tortoises hiking up their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpacks.
The takeaway: engage your audience, and do it early. And consider using small animals. I’m not even in school and the tiny Dachshund wearing tiny pants with a tiny lunchbox made me want to go back-to-school shopping in the worst way. (And there were bloopers!)