Back To School: The Most Glamorous Time Of The Year?

Kids may lament the end of summer vacation, but back-to-school season offers up a kind of excitement that's not available any other time of year. It's not just limited to the school-lovers, either. Back to school offers something for everybody—a fresh start, an opportunity to be something new. Each year is filled with so much potential, manifested in empty notebooks, unsharpened pencils, and shiny new first-day-of-school shoes.

Marketers know this, too, and aren't afraid to tap into those feelings. Mainstream retailers design elaborate campaigns around buying clothes that help kids fit into one niche or another. This year's JC Penney campaign, titled, "New look. New year.  Who knew!" is the latest riff on this common theme, which capitalizes neatly on kids' desires to fit in and on their feelings of heightened anticipation around the start of school.

Of course, kids aren't the only people susceptible to early September stirrings. After spending twelve or more years heading back to school, with all the feelings that evokes, adults often find themselves longing for a new start just as the leaves start to change. Marketers know this, too, which is how we end up with commercials like this one, my new favorite from Target:

Kids get a new look. Grownups get a new hat. And we all get a new start.