Marketing

Marketers focus on low prices and value in back-to-school ads

Concerns over inflation and a recession are reflected in ads for Amazon, Old Navy, and American Eagle.
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Amazon

· less than 3 min read

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Back-to-school season often means splurging on $30 water bottles and denim hauls. But this year, with inflation high and a recession (maybe, maybe not) looming, families are more cost-conscious. Just 36% of parents said they could pay for back-to-school shopping without any issues this year, compared to 52% last year, according to Morning Consult.

Brands are taking notice, promising low prices and price freezes to help parents in their efforts to keep their kids clothed and backpacks packed going into the new school year.

  • In April, Old Navy promised to not raise prices on children’s apparel. More recently, the retailer announced a price freeze on denim.
  • Last month, Amazon put out a campaign showing actress Kathryn Hahn in a school hallway confessing that “kids are expensive,” while praising the retailer’s low prices (and making jokes about gas prices).
  • American Eagle Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers recently explained its “dual-shopper strategy” for back-to-school shopping to Ad Age. The brand is homing in on Gen Z’s passion for music by leaning on TikTok and IRL events while “communicating value” to parents through performance marketing on Google, Facebook, and email.
  • “Gen Z is trying to march ahead—they’ve been through so much so we’re trying to be positive and optimistic, whereas the parents are definitely feeling the [inflation] effects and are concerned about where this might head,” Brommers told Ad Age.

Zoom out: Messaging that preaches low prices amid high inflation isn’t just happening in back-to-school campaigns. Brands from Walmart to the RV rental company Outdoorsy have also adapted their marketing as of late, per the Wall Street Journal.—JB

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