As parents flood social media with perky first-day-of-school photos, Classroom Central and Eric Mower + Associates hope to inject a bit of gloom.
It’s for a good cause: The ad campaign features grim-looking kids reminding viewers that many families can’t afford school supplies. The goal is to boost donations to Classroom Central, a nonprofit group with a “free store” on Wilkinson Boulevard that provides supplies for low-income students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and five nearby districts.
The ad agency did the campaign at no charge, and hopes to raise awareness on social media “at a time when all the proud parents will flood Facebook with pictures of smiling children headed back to school.”
Point person on the campaign is Peter Smolowitz. Some of you might recognize that name: He’s a former Observer reporter who joined me on the education beat before leaving for public relations several years ago. He’s also the father of three CMS students, so he’s familiar with the first day of school social media blitz.
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As I recently reported, many schools have long wish lists of back-to-school supplies that can add up quickly. CMS says those lists are a recommendation, not a requirement. Classroom Central and other groups do their best to donate supplies to cover what families can’t afford, and to make sure teachers don’t have to spend their own money covering the gaps.