Back To School Shopping - A Learning Curve

OUTFORM Industry Trends

Back to School is traditionally the second largest shopping event of the year, next to the winter holiday (NRF). This year as the crisis in the United States continues to affect everyday life and the plans for re- opening change by the day, retailers are scrambling to pull together a relevant Back To School message to go with new merchandise.

JanSport, the popular backpack brand launched a back to school campaign with the theme of mental health titled #LightenTheLoad. The campaign’s mission is to connect young people with real tools to cope with the mental health issues they may be dealing with surrounding the coronavirus. Whereas the big box retailer Kohl’s is choosing to pace out its marketing campaigns depending on the current context, this week their back to school message takes a neutral approach: “Heading back or logging in, the new year starts here.”

Deloitte in a recent survey reports that 66% of parents are anxious about sending their child back to school because of COVID-19. As consumers are grappling with what the new year will look like retailers are trying to create messages that resonate with these audiences and don’t ring tone deaf to the situation at hand.

“It might be back to home school instead of back to school, we want to make sure we’re relevant no matter what happens. We’ve shot a bunch of different creative that’s ready for any context, that way we can add in creative for whatever the moment may require.”
Greg Revelle – Marketing Officer, Khol’s


NRF, AdAge, Deloitte


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