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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

However You Tech

Entered in Insights & Trends, Paid & Amplification, Technology


Lenovo was coming off a record year of e-commerce PC sales. But they are always looking to outperform themselves and their competitors. (Overachiever alert.) So our two ambitious objectives during 2022’s prime Back To School sales period were to increase both site visits on and revenue generated there by 25% year-over-year (YoY), during our 5-week promotion. Challenge accepted.

On top of that, the previous year had a record high for electronics sales across the category (according to NRF). And a large portion of our target audience was not looking to buy again so soon (assuming average laptops last 3-4 years).

With back-to-school being one of the biggest sales periods of the year, our focus was on students from Kindergarten through College.

Strategy and Execution

This is where we tell you about how we arrived at our strategic creative idea.

Students and parents have always looked forward to Back to School as a prime time to get great deals on tech. But after two years stuck at home, students were drained from endless hours online. This shift meant the adjustment back to in-person learning was met with more stress than excitement.

Our insight was clear: Students’ former tech obsessions had turned into tech burnout. That was not good for Lenovo, who has always relied heavily on this period to meet revenue goals.

Meanwhile, traditional promotional marketing had always focused on deep discounts and used increased media spend to get in front of as many shoppers as possible. But Lenovo has always done promo marketing differently than everyone else, and this campaign was no exception.

Our creative needed to feel different than the competitors’ e-commerce promotions focused purely on product and price, with cliche ad tropes of smiling students in classrooms and hallways. And to turn around the burnout students were experiencing, we realized we had to bring the joy back to tech. With that, we finally had a unique, creative way in.

From there, we made sure we really understood our audience and the ways they actually liked spending time online. Because the reality is: This generation of students doesn’t just use tech for schoolwork. They grew up on it and use it to explore every facet of their unique identities. And while everyone in our audience wanted the most bang for their buck on tech that meets their needs, each of their needs, wants, and interests are obviously vastly different.

This led to us tailoring creative executions to 3 different audience segments: Parents of kids K-8, high school students, and college students. Because you talk to teenagers very differently than the parents of 3rd graders.

The entire campaign focused on the unique, realistic ways students use their tech. Each piece of creative showed a student using their laptop to explore and discover their interests both inside and outside of the classroom. And we celebrated their individuality by saying “However you tech, Lenovo has you covered”. This all humanized our promotion while teeing up the vast selection on that lets you do it all. From creating new realities, to binging reality TV.

From there, we strategically delivered the work by focusing on four key tenets. The first was to create short videos tailored uniquely to each of our target audiences, to increase the relevance of our creative.

Second, we stayed top of mind by delivering them in places our audience spends the most time online. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, of course.

Third, we ensured that we appealed to the increasingly commerce-minded behaviors online, creating fully shoppable units to collapse the path to purchase and drive product discovery right in feeds.

Finally, we made sure to prioritize tailored targeting practices. Creating both student and parent audiences and interest-based audiences. And retargeting hand-raisers with cleverly repurposed, yet totally unique ad units, to help us zero in on and encourage those most likely to purchase.


To say this campaign was a wild success would be an understatement.

Our initial goals were to outperform the previous year's back-to-school campaign while meeting ambitious sales targets for YoY growth. And we far surpassed both, delivering a 66% increase in traffic YoY (a whopping 38% over our initial goal of 25%) and a 123% increase in revenue YoY (that’s 85% better than our goal of 25%). 

And we did it all without increasing the 50% off promotional discount from the year before. In fact, this campaign saw a 2.7x better return on ad spend compared to the previous year, and a 3.7x lower cost per visit to YoY. Woohoo!

In the end, uncovering students’ tech burnout and addressing it head on helped us stand out from our competitors, influence consideration, and drive purchases during the back-to-school period.

And just like that, Lenovo was back on the honor roll.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Agency Confidential, Lenovo


Entry Credits