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Target’s aisles are deserted, save for an errant pencil or two. Yellow buses have replaced ice cream trucks. It’s quiet…too quiet.

You know what that means: school is in session.

This is the first time in 16 years that I won’t be heading back to classes. I was sad to graduate, but I’m happy to leave some aspects of education behind: pricey textbooks (ugh), icebreakers (I’d rather die), and math (nice try, Sir Isaac Newton).

Despite those anxiety-provoking elements, there’s a lot to learn from school—imagine that!—especially from first day protocol. Some of those age-old customs even apply to advertising.

Look nice.

One of my memorable back-to-school looks involved a polo shirt from a mid-2000s mall staple and a sweet skort (a combination skirt/shorts piece that says, “I may be stylish, but I kick butt at kickball”). I (thought I) looked good, which in turn made me feel good and made the day, wait for it, a good one.   

This is a gentle reminder that there are plenty of opportunities for your ads to look good too. Take it from a stationary brand’s handcrafted clock or Apple’s crowd-sourced “Shot on iPhone” campaign or from anything that Favorite Brother has done.

Make an impression.

In school, you sidle up to a non-threatening classmate with cafeteria tray in hand and fear in your stomach. In advertising, this idea might look like YouTube Advertiser’s super condensed summaries or Fox’s six-second ads. These quick clips are the perfect length of time to target the Vine generation. Get in, tell your charming, witty story, and get out.

Do the work.

There were whisperings on my school bus about a teacher who gave homework on the very first day. This seemed cruel and inhumane at the time but became standard by college (Go Blue Streaks!), when readings were passed out with the expectation they would be read by next class.

Whether you want a good grade or good advertising, you have to put in the work. That might mean pulling an all-nighter or placing a pop-up shop 300 feet in the air or going into office hours or slicing bureaucratic red tape to turn your stores into polling places.

Big projects might seem daunting but that A+ or, you know, Cannes Lion, is worth it.

And no shame if you need to break it up and #startsmall—right, Ajoyo?

Have a homework-free, long weekend, everyone!

Your teacher’s pet friends at Brokaw.

Big projects might seem daunting but that A+ or, you know, Cannes Lion, is worth it.

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