Why Back-To-School Ads Are Fading Away
by Sarah Mahoney, MediaPost
Sure, you’re probably noticing some fun back-to-school ads here and there, whether it’s from Target (above), Walmart or The Gap. But what you’re likely not seeing? The massive campaigns retailers once relied on to drive traffic and sales during the critical six-week school shopping season.
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“It’s not that retailers are spending less on advertising overall,” says Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media, “or that back-to-school still isn’t an important part of their calendar. It’s just that they are not investing as heavily in dedicated back-to-school messaging.”
In an analysis of last year’s advertising, Kantar Media detected a 20% decline, with spending on such ads falling to $166.5 million. And this year, he tells Marketing Daily, he expects to see spending dwindle a little more. The report categorizes any ad that specifically mentions school or that demonstrates a clear school theme, like showing a dorm room, school bus or class setting, as a back-to-school ad.
Target showed the biggest drop, hacking its budget by 44% to $38.4 million, followed by Kohl’s, with a 41% decrease to $15.3 million, Payless Shoesource, with a 22% cut in spending, and Walmart, which spent 15% less, or a dip of $20 million.