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Back to school – lessons in PR

Colourful stationery sets adorn aisles of supermarkets across the country while teenagers celebrate their exam results and cling to the last remaining days of the summer holidays.

‘Back-to-school’ can mean big bucks for certain brands. Products like backpacks, fruit juice and, of course, stationery are ideal for a big summer campaign.

One brand that knows exactly how to cash in on the back-to-school season is stationery giant Staples. This year it has joined forces with pop princess Katy Perry in an effort to raise money for DonorsChoose.org, a charity that funds classroom projects through donations.

However, Katy isn’t there to simply hand over a cheque, her star power is being fully harnessed by Staples in the ‘Make Roar Happen’ campaign. Fans have the chance to win a trip to LA to see the glamorous star perform at the Staples Centre in September by uploading a video of themselves outlining their educational experience.

Visitors to Staples’ US stores will also be automatically entered into a prize draw to win Katy Perry tickets once they’ve spent $10 or more on stationery. If that won’t flog a pen or two during back-to-school season, we’re not sure what will!

But you don’t need to employ the expertise of a global pop sensation to run a successful back-to-school campaign – take a look at Kleenex, for example. The company invited 100 schools in America to put their tissues to the test in various science experiments for a series of Youtube videos called ‘Kleenex Xperiments’.

Although tissues don’t automatically spring to mind when you think of school supplies, school administrators have been targeted by Kleenex to make sure that tissues are as commonplace on back-to-school lists as rulers and pencils.

Schools in the US that include Kleenex on their 2014-15-supply list also have the chance to win one of three $15,000 donations or a year’s supply of tissues.

Last year it was estimated that many parents were spending up to £350 to get their children ready to go back to school. Regardless of if your brand fits in with the typical back-to-school products, by making children, parents or teachers the main focus of a campaign, back-to-school could offer very valuable PR opportunities.

Written by Amanda Johansson
Junior PR Account Executive