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The ABC's of "Back to School" Marketing

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

Back to school is a busy time for marketers, parents, and school-goers alike. Along with the crisp nights of fall and the scent of pumpkin spice, come long lists of to-dos - wardrobes need updating, shoes that pinch growing feet need replacing, and school supplies need buying. There is a back-to-school rush for every life stage. Here at inHouse, we are familiar with the many ways consumers experience the BTS season, and how to communicate to those audiences. In these #BTS activations, we worked with Kohl's, Macy's, and The State University of New York (SUNY).

To learn more about how you can partner with the inHouse team please email


Elementary School-Goers 

September means many of the same things to young children across the country - the bittersweet end of summer, a big step into a new grade, the smell of new crayons, and going shopping with mom or dad for the essentials they’ll need for the year. For parents, this can be a stressful time. For marketers, standing out from the bevy of BTS ads is essential — especially for department stores where many parents of school age children hope to get everything they need in one fell swoop.

Our partnership with Kohl’s was centered around many of these points, and took into account how important it is for parents to know they are getting what they need while also appealing to kids — who crave self expression and a say in what they are going to wear. We all remember the first day of school jitters…tucking into bed the night before and wondering what the new year will bring, what new faces will be in the class, what the teacher will be like, and perhaps most importantly, what to wear the first time they step into that next grade.

We gave the kids of Simply Sims and That Reyes Family a chance to turn jitters into excitement with a surprise fashion show. inHouse curated a full experience for these families, offering them a trip to NYC, a day at the spa, and a lunch with new found friends. Then, to top if off, we surprised the kids with a special school clothes scavenger hunt and fashion show. 

The campaign included premium video of the entire experience, and incorporate influencer generated assets from the entire trip. Audiences felt like they were along for the ride with the kids and their parents, and responded enthusiastically across all platforms.


High school-goers place even more stake on that first appearance back at school. High school is a transitional time, and many teens like to show their peers how they have evolved over the summer.

Unlike younger children, the kids of GenZ are looking to places for fashion inspiration from a less nostalgic place - social media. Influencers hold major sway on what’s cool and how to wear it. However, for many teens, the price points for what these social media mavens are wearing are simply unattainable.  That’s where Macy’s comes in. 

With the help of Natalie Suarez and Mara Ferreira, we showed teens how they could get the look of their favorite influencers without breaking the bank. Music video style content and behind the scenes assets from the talent showcased the elevated looks while maintaining the aesthetic teens are drawn to.

University Students

Our experience with projects surrounding education goes beyond the tangible fashion and supplies. Take for example, the work we have done with FIT and SUNY in honoring one of the most respected figures in the New York education system today — Carl McCall. 

We had the opportunity to interview major figures like former Mayor David Dinkins, FIT President Joyce Brown, and civil rights leaders like Charlie Rangel. Our producers delved into the the wide ranging impact of McCall, who served as a State Senator, as the first African American Comptroller of New York, and longtime chairman of SUNY. The video highlighted the wide ranging impact of McCall on thousands throughout the state, as well as in his more personal life. 

Pieces like this are a prime example of how inHouse is able to tease out narrative and emotion from every type of talent and situation. Honoring McCall was a chance to explore the new horizons college students will experience and the incredible role models they will meet along the way as they begin the new semester.


To learn more about how you can partner with the inHouse team please email

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