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Sears? back-to-school social campaign punches with comedic slang

Retailer Sears is attracting shoppers with comedy in its back-to-school promotional campaign, focusing on stereotypical crush scenes from the first day of school in a series of YouTube videos that includes a social hashtag.

Given social?s ability to resonate with a younger audience, Sears hopes to drive in-store and online traffic during the fall season as students begin a new school year by encouraging viewers to look their best with a new set of clothes. The retailer attempts to use the recognizable phrases and comedy to resonate with parents, children and teenagers. 

"We all know that the back-to-school season can bring its fair share of stress for moms, and even kids for that matter, but this time of year is also packed with exciting and fun opportunities to reinvent your routine and your style,? said Jamie Stein, vice president of public relations at Sears Holdings Corporation, Chicago. ?The Back to School, Back to Wha video series is a humorous take on the season and the idea of surprise. 

?The videos spotlight how kids can feel renewed and confident on their first day of school with fresh looks from Sears and we hope resonate with parents by drawing attention to our great brands and unbelievable prices.?

Simple but effective
One of Sears? promotional videos features an attractive male athlete collecting his lacrosse gear from his truck as a female student approaches. She is blown away by his charming looks and proceeds to faint. Her hair flies in the air as she yells, ?Wha??

#BackToWha -- Whaling Out

The hastag #BackToWha is inspired by jargon that millenials are using in interactions on mobile with their peers. As students return to school in the fall and are seeing their friends for the first time in months, there is always anticipation for these first few moments, so adults will likely find these commercials to be humorous and millennials will also probably connect to the content.

The series of commercials contains attractive millennials styled by apparel and accessories that can be found in Sears? locations. Each video includes a link directing shoppers to the Sears Web site, where they will find a compilation of the products featured in the video.

Sears also encourages viewers to share the videos on social media.

"Digital is part of our DNA,? Ms, Stein said. ?It is in everything we do. We continually look for ways to engage with our Shop Your Way members and customers and create shopping convenience by connecting all the ways they shop, such as online, mobile, in-store and phone.  

?It?s not about a singular channel, but about how all the channels work together to create a seamless and positive shopping experience.  With respect to social and the video content we create, we gravitate toward highly shareable content.  

We know humor is high on the list of what gets passed along.?

The socialite Sears
Social has stood out as a marketing specialty for Sears.

Retailer Sears invited selfie submissions on Instagram from dads for a Father?s Day campaign awarding the best photos with a vacation trip and other prizes.

For the contest, submissions could include any person with a mustache. The mustache could be drawn on the person?s face, or entrants could use a sticker or hold a finger to his or her upper lip. Genuine mustaches were also accepted.

Sears also utilized the opportunity to post various products on its Instagram page with the hashtags #DestinationDad and #SearsMoments to further promote the initiative and its products geared towards dads (see story).

The retailer is known for incorporating a fun edge into its social campaigns, which will surely encourage excitement and attention for the upcoming school year and shopping for back-to-school necessities at Sears. 

?We recognize the need to integrate our in-store and online capabilities to make the shopping experience extremely convenient and to make mom feel like she has a true partner this back-to-school season,? Ms. Stein said. 

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York