The Deconstructed Brief

First Day Feels

First Day Feels

Brand: Converse

Agency: Big Spaceship

Campaign: First Day Feels


  • Break through the deluge of back-to-school advertisements and reach young consumers
  • Communicate product benefits — a classic pair of Chuck Taylors goes with any outfit and any style


Gen Z (also known as Centennials, iGeneration, Post-Millennials, Plurals or the Homeland Generation — the demographers are still out on this one] is unlike its older generational siblings, the Millennials, in several significant ways. Its relationship with technology, particularly mobile internet access, marks it as a generation that expects everything on-demand, whether looking for information, staying in contact with a network of friends or ordering breadsticks from Dominos. Because of their inundation with information, those in Gen Z are far more skeptical of traditional advertising than even Millennials, so when it comes to engaging with them on social, the message has to be authentic and delivered on their terms.

One Thought:

All the back-to-school feels.



Excitement. Anxiety. Sadness. Joy. Heading back to school is a storm of emotions for students everywhere, and going back to school is the number one topic of conversation in the last weeks of summer. But why tell your friends how you’re feeling when you could show them? If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a GIF is worth 1,0002 words.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Simplicity — Ultimately, Converse’s message is very simple: Whatever your back-to-school feels, Converse offers the classic kicks that will make you look great.
  • New visual language — GIFs have become a significant form of self-expression for teens, so Converse and Big Spaceship opted to use the new visual language to reach their Gen Z target. For students looking to articulate their feelings on the first day of school, Converse has supplied 32 options for just the occasion.
  • Dark social — Gen Z consists of heavy dark social users, meaning that they prefer to use social media to engage with their network privately, through one-to-one messaging. In order for brands to reach this next generation of consumers, they will have to learn how to share their message through these private channels. In this case, Converse and Big Spaceship actually created a branded visual language that Gen Z-ers can use on their own terms.
  • Nostalgia — The campaign leans into nostalgic aesthetics — from the 80s-inspired wardrobe to the classic desk and lockers — to endear the Gen Z audience by reminding them of a simpler time [even if they weren’t alive during the simpler time].
  • Secondary targets — Although the concept and executions are geared toward younger consumers, Converse’s message clearly extends to a secondary target: any adult who has experienced the same emotions on the first day at a new job or the first night in a new place. The message has a halo that reaches more than just Gen Z-ers, and the campaign is supplemented with a traditional media buy to support the message and reach its secondary target.