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PRWeek
May 29, 2020 // PRWeek  //       //  Agency News

This Years Back-to-School Campaigns are Going to Look a Lot Different

Can you even call it a “back-to-school” campaign?

With a big question mark hanging over whether kids will be physically at school in September, back-to-school campaigns will look a tad different this year.

It’s almost June, which means brands have been planning their BTS efforts for months. After all, it’s each July when people find themselves asking the TV why back-to-school ads are starting already. 

Backpack brand JanSport usually begins preparing 11 months out and starts its back-to-school efforts in June. Danimals, a kids’ brand in the yogurt aisle, typically starts getting ready a year in advance.

Yet the coronavirus pandemic has put brands in the same uncharted waters as parents: figuring things out on the fly for the lucrative sales season. The National Retail Federation estimated that the combined amount spent on BTS season for K-12 and college surpassed $80 billion last year. 

"Parents aren't the only ones making things up as they go,” says General Mills chief communications officer Jano Cabrera.

Allison+Partners has been helping JanSport with its BTS programming for the past two years. Agency president of consumer brands Lisa Rosenberg explains that its campaigns have been very product-focused. “But if kids do not go back physically to school, there will be less need for new backpacks, initially,” she says.

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