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Brief Published: 17 Aug 2017

Ikea & Converse: Innovative Back-to-School Messaging

Millie Bobbie Brown for Converse

As retailers vie for attention in the annual back-to-school spending season, US footwear brand Converse and Swedish retailer Ikea are appealing directly to young consumers with campaigns in web-ready formats.

Young English actress Millie Bobbie Brown (who plays Eleven in Netflix's series Stranger Things) has lent her talents to Converse's new First Day Feels campaign. Tapping into students' need for expression, Converse captured Brown emoting suitable reactions to the start of another academic year. Packaged into 32 gifs, the content is ready for sharing across chat platforms and social media. Gifs are a central part of online consumer communications, with gif-hosting platform Giphy currently valued at $600m.

Oddly Ikea is the furniture brand's attempt to reach dorm-bound college students with an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) video series. ASMR is a tingly, semi-euphoric sensation some people feel when listening to repetitive, soothing sound effects. The Ikea campaign counteracts the stresses of starting a new school year with a narrator whispering about and smoothing out soft furnishings in an Ikea-outfitted dorm room. The slow nature of ASMR video also lets Ikea deliver a lot of information about its products – a rare opportunity in a digital information landscape that is otherwise starved for time and attention. However, the brand could have shown more due diligence by partnering with an influencer from the existing ASMR YouTube community.

Our monthly Pop Culture Round-Ups can help you stay up to date with online media formats. For more on gifs, see Five New Channels for Social Media Marketing.