Parents of Kindergartners Heading Off to School Will Ugly Cry at This Oscar Mayer Ad

A twist on back-to-school

Ow! Our heartstrings!

Real kindergarteners and first graders star with their moms in Oscar Mayer's back-to-school campaign from Olson Engage.

Our story beings with three young mothers prepping their kids for the first day of school. "It can be heart-wrenching," says one mom, while another adds: "It makes me a little sad … That's my baby. The time's going by too fast." There's a tremor in her voice, but she won't really get teary-eyed until after the big reveal.

Before viewing the clip, you'd better grab a Kleenex. Maybe two. (Three would probably be too many—it's not that intense).

Awww! The tykes picked outfits for their moms, and packed them lunches made with branded cold cuts! And the secret ingredient was—you guessed it—love!

"We wanted to turn the typical back-to-school preparations on their head," client brand director Whitney Shaw tells AdFreak. Running in its full 100-second format and 30-second edits on Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms, the video is designed to emphasize that "moms can look to Oscar Mayer Natural for one less thing to think about during hectic school planning," she says.

In terms of production logistics, she adds: "We sent mom, and in some cases both parents, out of the house for a few hours while we worked with dad or a babysitter to do all the prep. Some moms were a little hesitant at first, not sure what sort of surprise their kids had in store, but once they saw the hilarious outfits and heartfelt lunch notes, they were completely taken aback and appreciative."

Predictably, "the kids got creative with their brown-bag lunches for Mom," Shaw says. "One of our favorite sandwiches featured turkey, popcorn, cheese, carrots and mustard."

Awww! That sounds … positively vile. Hope the crew had some Kleenex handy so Mom could discretely dispose of that sandwich.


Client: Oscar Mayer

Head of Marketing: Gregory Guidotti

Brand Director: Whitney Shaw

Brand Manager: Jeremy Truxal

Lead Agency: Olson Engage

Executive Creative Director: Josh Lohrius

Creative Director: Molly Cournoyer

Vice President: Emily McMahon

Account Director: Katie Cosgrove

Production Agency Optimus:

Director: Mark & Amanda

Editor: Mike Berg

Producer:Patrick Fischer

Media Agency: Starcom

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.