The Advertising Apprentice

August 12, 2009

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 1:14 PM
Tags: , ,

You may not have noticed them, but just as quickly as grade school and high school students were lounging around the house, bored and looking for something to do, the back-to-school commercials started! (When I was younger the sound of  the Staples “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” commercial that was common at the end of July/early August, made me cringe more than the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard! I’m not going back to school in September and I still quickly reach for the remote whenever I see a back-to-school commercial!!)

However with the economy being as hard hit as it has been lately, retailers this year got an early jump on getting the message out for students and parents alike to start thinking about the supplies they’ll need for September. Some of the retailers’ tactics have even been aimed at the students by posting ads and contests on such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. They also began showing back-to-school ads in movie theatres. If you market the products properly, and you’d like to think companies with as large marketing budgets as Wal-Mart and Staples have, then you should be able to make back-to-school products “cool” and desirable for students and in turn create a sense of urgency in them to go shopping.

Related to this, Fortune recently released their global Top 500 list. Wal-Mart was third on the list and Staples was 397. Both companies saw an increase in revenue from 2008,Wal-Mart experienced a 6.1% increase and Staples saw revenue rise by 16%, and yet both have started marketing earlier than usual.

An interesting fact that may be lost on some, including myself until I read the following article, which is the basis for today’s entry, is that the back-to-school shopping period is the second busiest for retailers behind the Christmas shopping season. (If you give it some thought it makes sense, especially with the push for people to pick-up a new laptop and accompanying software. Anyone in the advertising industry knows that a MacBook and the Adobe Suite software, if obtained legally, can easily set a person back $2000 – $3000!) This point in mind, and the effect the recession has had on sales numbers, it is easy to understand why retailers would like consumers to start thinking about the supplies they need as soon as possible. 

Do I think these marketing efforts will translate into increased sales? It’s a possibility. But I also think both parents and students will be reluctant to do any back-to-school shopping until mid to late August. The parents will delay in an attempt to find the best deals and the students will want to delay the trip to the mall because they don’t want to face the reality that it’s time to go back to the classroom.

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