Pathmatics Blog

Back To Shopping, How 5 Top Retailers Went Back To School in August

September 06 2016

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Summer has drawn to a close which means your instagram, facebook and snapchat feeds have begun filling up with adorable children, holding up adorable signs of their impending walk back into rooms filled with cubby holes and calculators. And if there's one thing big retail brands can count on, it's that back-to-school means back-to-shopping!
 
You already know their names. They sell shoes, shirts, backpacks and highlighters along with any product that makes the transition back to the classroom a little more cool, if not functional. And as each of these top top retailers let their school spirit flag fly, so do their ad dollars! Retailers continually spend mega bucks on advertising during this time of year, now shifting their spend to digital, to follow the eyes of consumers. Here’s a look at how five of the top retail advertisers were targeting shoppers, from kids to parents.

1. Target

Always a stand-out brand during this season, Target did not disappoint this year with a bevy of fresh-faced new ads targeted (a little ad-humor anyone?) at parents. Spending over $2.5M on digital during the month of August, $1.5+ of that went to desktop. From touting lunch boxes to school uniforms, and everything in between. Here are some of our favorite desktop creatives from this year’s campaign:
 
“Lunchbox BFFs they’ll love."
First seen on August 1st, Target is still running this creative, most likely to catch any of those last minute shoppers lucky enough to start school after Labor Day, which directs followers to this landing page, completely dedicated to lunch boxes and foods to fill them. The top site for this creative, during the month of August, was foodnetwork.com, followed by parents.com, marthastewart.com, and allrecipes.com.
 
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“30% off Kid’s Uniforms"
Waiting will save you money as the retailer started slashing prices halfway through August, launching this creative on August 14, before taking it down on the 28th. Healthline.com, washingtonpost.com, and thepioneerwoman.com were the top three sites for the creative that directed followers to this page featuring only school uniform collections.
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“Save 5% off your school list"
This clever creative touting a discount off your school list, is actually a promotion for the Target RED card, taking prospects to this page. Well played, Target. This creative was launched onJuly 17th and last seen on August 1st, hitting top sites aol.com, yahoo.com, and pandora.com.
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2. GAP, Inc.

With a bevy of brands underneath its umbrella including Old Navy, Athleta, Piper Lime, and its namesake, GAP, heading back to class represents a huge advertising opportunity. From cool denim ads to trendy gym clothes, the GAP collection spent over $1.1M on digital ads for the month of August, with the lions share going to desktop at $995K. Here are a couple of our favorite back to school creatives:
 
Old Navy Active “Gym Class Heroes"
Putting some pep in your school step, this creative for Old Navy’s active line for kids had a flight date of July 31st, running until August 8th. We love that the top site targeted was scarymommy.com, followed by stars.topix.com, and wimp.com
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GAP “Dress Your Kids in Comfort"
Can this model get any more cool? Between the skate trick, slightly worn denim and flannel shirt tied around the waist, we can see why parents might click through this ad. Initially launched on August 4th-18th, consumers were driven to this landing page with Gap’s denim line for kids. Top sites for the creative were leitesculinaria.com, techtimes.com, and cookingclassy.com.
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3. Macy's

The large department store also got in school spirit with a campaign of 90’s themed creatives, spending just over $485K on desktop ads for the month of August. Their primary focus was desktop, leading by spend compared to the $73K Macy’s spent on mobile and $15K on video. Creatives promoting their wedding registry services were also very prevalent throughout the month.
 
“Get back, throw back"
The 90’s are back and as much as it can bring up bad memories of outfits gone wrong, Macy’s is letting parents know that they can save while buying their kids trendy clothes. Multiple creatives in multiple sizes, with similar images and copy, were launched on desktop and mobile, bringing potential customers to this shopping page. This particular creative had a flight date of August 4th and was last seen on the 27th, targeting Refinery29.com, makeupalley.com, and greatist.com as top sites.
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“Finish Line"
Everyone knows that a new pair of kicks are one of the best parts about heading back to the classroom. Macy’s got down to business with these “Finish Line” ads featuring a couple of the top shoe brands. Launched on August 1st, this creative ran until August 22nd on dailymail.co.uk. Shoppers were directed to this landing page with even more shoe options for their kids to decide between.
 
 

4. JC Penney Company

JC Penney pulled out the pocket book this school season, spending over $500K during August, across desktop, mobile and video. The department store even added a philanthropic angle, promising to donate $1 for every pair of Arizona jeans sold to the USA YMCA. Their “Get Your Penney’s Worth” campaign spanned across channels, and even languages. Below, see the same creative in English and Spanish, both running during the month of August.
 
“Back To School"
This desktop creative was first seen on July 14th, appearing on thestir.cafemom.com and cafemom.com. Running until August 9th, traffic was directed to this landing page to promote the different categories of school gear offered. August 8th was the top impression frequency day for the creative over the month.
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“Regreso A Clases” 
The Spanish version of the creative above also ran on thestir.cafemom.com and cafemom.com, but only on August 16th. Directing traffic to a landing page promoting their one day sale, the creative was never published on any other sites.
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5. Kohl's

Kohl’s also combined philanthropy with shopping resulting in a “Kohl’s Cares” campaign, benefiting children’s health charities. Spending $335,000 across desktop, mobile, and video over the month of July, back to school and ‘Friends & Family’ sales creatives dominated their ads. 68.4% of their total digital spend went to desktop. Here are a couple of their top desktop creatives:
 
“Kohl’s Cares"
Featuring a line of books and stuffed animals for $5 in addition to other items, a campaign of similar creatives launched on July 26th, running until August 8th. For “Only $5 Each,” how can anyone say no to helping a children’s health charity…and doing a little shopping on the side. Top sites for the creative were drudgereport.com, gocomics.com, and uberhumor.com.
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“The School Year Starts Here"
This creative directing prospective customers to a landing page focused on cool new clothes for the first day day of school, and was first seen on July 18th. Today.com and msnbc.com were the top sites for the ad which ran until August 1st
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What are your favorite back to school ads? Let us know in the comments. 
 

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