Time For (serious, budget-minded) Back-To-School Advertising

Recession-conscious print promotions.

The back-to-school spendfest that marks the end of summer is the second-largest consumer blitz of the year, after the holiday season. But this year? Less kids are going to college, and according to market-surveyors, more kids are going to be wearing last year's gym shoes.

According to a feature in AdAge this week, spending per family on school supplies will be down 8% this year, which means down, approximately, fifty bucks per family. So does this mean retailers should be advertising less? Nay. Rather, the challenge is to advertise differently.

Instead of creating back-to-school print ads that look like posters for a rock concert or a Disney sitcom, the focus this season has to be on savings, and making the most of your money. Postcards and door hangers will be a valuable resource for getting the word out about special sales and bargain offers.

The ad campaigns that will do the best this season are those that promise both savings and value. The tone of much back-to-school advertising will be fairly serious, advocating 'smart spending' and the like. However, retailers that can infuse some fun into their brand will offer harried consumers a welcomed relief from the stress of constant budgeting.

No family, struck in the last year by hard financial times, wants to feel like they are sending their kids back to school with junky, shabby stuff. So if a print ad can convey the message that it is possible to stretch that budget, while still getting quality stuff, AND feeling good about purchases, that ad has the potential of hitting all the right notes.

Don't just spend smart, you might say, invest in the future.

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