From Writers to Directors to Musicians, Kids Made Target’s Back-to-School Ads

Work launches alongside a new kid-designed line

For retailers, the back-to-school season is especially lucrative, which makes it all the more important to ensure the message is impactful to young people. ​Nipping this problem in the bud, Target's back-to-school campaign puts the kids themselves in charge.

The ads don't just star kids—they were written and directed by kids, who also illustrated the sets. Helping to organize the action was 826LA, dedicated to helping youth develop creative writing skills, and agency Adolescent. 

Seven writers, ages 8-11, developed storyboards for each TV ad, with directors—ages 13, 15 and 17—overseeing the shoot. Even the music was kid-sourced: Girls from the band L2M recorded the campaign's anthem music. And the illustrations will be used in stores, on digital and in social marketing pushes throughout the season.

The campaign launches concurrently with Target's Cat & Jack, a new clothing line "designed with kids, for kids." Target is also offering a DIY collection with YouTube star Bethany Mota, plus decidedly kid-friendly perks, like Embark backpacks and lunchboxes with a one-year guarantee. To simplify life for parents, an upgraded School List Assist tool enables the wallet-holders to buy supplies with a few short clicks.

​A few ​kid-created ​ads have already been released online. Each :15 focuses on how kids can build relationships and solve problems … with the perfect incidental product in hand.

Below are spots for backpacks and pencils (but also friendship, and rebounding from mistakes!). 

Keep an eye out for all seven original spots, which will air on TV starting on July 31.

If you want your kid in on some of this creative action, Target is also touting "kid-directed giving" in partnership with non-profit DonorsChoose.org. It will donate up to $5 million to fund kids' ideas that "help students across the country live healthier, more active lives."​

Submitted projects must cost less than $1,000 to activate and be completed within the 2016-17 school year. The submission deadline is Oct. 1 or until $5 million has been awarded.