George at Asda ‘Arrive Like You Mean It’: Why now, sir?

asdaBack in the good old, bad old days when we were still toiling away for our O-Levels (yep, we’re already showing our age) in Maths (eventually getting a C), English Literature (A), History (A), English Language (B), Combined Science (two Cs), French (B), Geography (D, “careless”) and Art (U, “useless”), one thing that would really wind us up was that shops always opened their “Back To School” zones way too early.

But while – for better or worse – GCSEs have replaced O-Levels, things have definitely deteriorated on the retail front, as evidenced by this week’s launch of the George at Asda Back To School campaign, even before the poor little blighters have broken up.

Apparently, after a year of stops, starts and homeschooling, research has shown that 2021’s back to school moment symbolises much more than just the start of a new year. It is seen by many parents as the hopeful start of all of our post-Covid lives – where above the good grades (if they work hard), the sporting achievements (if they train hard) and other classic school pursuits (surely not smoking behind the bike sheds?) – parents just want their kids to be full of confidence, personality, and own who they are. (They also want them out of the way.)

Enter, “Arrive Like You Mean It”, a new campaign from independent agency Impero, designed to capture “positive energy and hope”.

Made in the style of a grime music video (de rigueur these days) and only featuring kids, the 30-second spot focuses on the moment before the first bell goes, on that first day back in September.

According to the blurb, at least, this is “when no matter who you are, what you’re into, or where you live, you can crash through those school gates with unfettered confidence and swagger that only kids can own”. Hmm, they soon batter that out of you.

Anyway, rapping to a track that was written and produced by Impero and Producer KZ (who has worked with artists including Emeli Sandé and Professor Green), we see “da kids” getting on down with their mates in the playground and in the classroom.

Or as the press release would have it: “Brimming with confidence, reuniting with their squads and eager to show off their new-found skills; all whilst looking and feeling their best in George’s range of sustainably sourced uniforms.” Of course.

George at Asda head of creative Claudia Solano also seems brimming with confidence. She said: “Going ‘Back to School’ and seeing friends has more meaning than ever following 18 months of Covid lockdowns. Impero has perfectly captured the excitement kids will feel on this day, while also celebrating their exuberance and talents, with a uniform that will have them ready for whatever the year ahead has in store.”

Impero founder Michael Scantlebury is also eager to show off his new-found skills: “As the nation’s favourite school uniform retailer, backed by their commitment to sustainability and the future, we believe George at Asda can do for Back to School campaigns what others have done at Christmas and truly own this cultural moment by capturing the mood of the nation year after year. This campaign does exactly that and we are excited to start the brand on this journey, beginning with such a significant new school year following the disruptions of the pandemic.” That told you.

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, despite the timing, the “positive” pesky kids and the sometimes annoying rapping, we actually quite like it. But, you have to ask, who are they targeting?

Somehow we can’t imagine many kids demanding they go to Asda immediately to buy next year’s school uniform and, let’s be fair, most parents only do it reluctantly at the last minute, too.

Still, Claudia Solano seems happy with it, so job done Impero…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “oi, teacher, leave those kids alone” 7 out of 10

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