Check out the top-performing brands among this year’s back-to-school advertising lineup.
The back-to-school advertising season is, well, back, and as students (and teachers) return to their classrooms and campuses, retailers and other brands are rolling out their Fall campaigns. In years past, it was typical to see top-performing back-to-school ads coming from major retailers such as Walmart, Macy’s, and even Staples. But while some smaller retailers are dialing in their advertising to appeal to younger audiences, others, like office supply stores, are scaling back their media spend. The result? This year’s lineup features some unexpected top performers.
Using our in-market advertising measurement solution MarketCast Brand Effect, we did a vibe check on the top back-to-school ads hitting our screens this season.
Mixing Things Up
Old Navy claims the top two spots in our back-to-school lineup with “Written by the Internet: Back to School” and “Hands in the Air.” Most notable are the ads’ high Brand Linkage scores of 70% and 71%, respectively, compared to the 52% category norm. (Reminder: Brand Linkage refers to the percentage of viewers who remembered the advertised brand out of those who also remembered the ad’s content.) Old Navy has been working hard to ensure that its branding and creative styles stay consistent throughout its spots, and as a result, viewers have no trouble attributing their colorful, eye-catching ads to the brand.
Another retailer making a surprising splash on our list is Famous Footwear with their ad “Fit Whatever You’re Famous For.” The spot, with its striking visuals and catchy tune by singer-songwriter John Legend, came in fourth on our list, (third for retailers- more on that later.) The occasional TV advertiser began airing this ad back in early July, which gave it plenty of time to wear in and generate breakthrough.
New Players in the Game
This year, a surprising entrant into the back-to-school advertising scene is online childcare, Care.com, with their latest ad, “Back to School: Kids Say.” Admittedly, we were a little surprised to see a non-retail advertiser snag the number three spot on our list, but given the ad’s Brand Linkage score of 60%, it made sense. It also further opens up the market for non-traditional advertisers in the back-to-school category, reminding viewers that there is far more to the season than purchasing supplies and apparel.
Consumer goods brands also made an impact this year, with deli meat and cheese company Boar’s Head in the sixth spot with “Back to School: Reason to Celebrate” and Nature Valley hitting the average with “Nature Valley and Box Tops for Education.” The Boar’s Head spot delivered some of the best Ad Memorability (percentage of viewers who remembered the ad’s content) of the lineup, as well as the most delicious and well-crafted school lunches we’ve ever seen.
Of course, just because we’re seeing some unexpected players in the top lineup doesn’t mean that the regulars are sitting on the bench. Retailers like Amazon and Macy’s are running back-to-school ad campaigns that are still hitting the norms, while Walmart is running a majority of its content in online video formats (a smart move as more consumers shift to digital-first media consumption.)
While the back-to-school season is wrapping up, the Holiday advertising gauntlet is just around the corner. In this increasingly crowded market, it’s more important than ever for brands to deliver the right advertising messages to engage and break through to consumers.
For more information about our advertising measurement capabilities or how MarketCast can help you optimize your next ad campaign, drop us a line!