Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Amazon Pulls Forward BTS Advertising

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As a general rule Back To School/Campus advertising used to start in late July and run through late August.  During that period US retailers would spend hundreds of millions to draw mom and dad into their stores for new clothes, tech, dorm furnishing and classroom supplies.  But this year something different has happened with BTS advertising – it’s already started.

Several national retailers began aggressively promoting BTS specials last week, a full 2-3 weeks earlier than last year.  This is happening because Amazon’s Prime Day is changing the way we gear up for the school year.  Unless you’re living under a rock you know Amazon Prime Day started yesterday afternoon and is running through tonight.  (Yes, the “Day” is now 36 hours long to boost YoY totals, but who’s counting?)  Since many of the items featured during APD are also BTS staples, advertisers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and JC Penney preemptively started their BTS marketing earlier than ever.  The logic is simple – since Amazon already moved up the BTS starting line competitors must get ahead of it or risk losing consumers who have made their purchases before the traditional window would have started.

Interestingly, the National Retail Federation isn’t expecting consumers to spend any more on BTS this year – their forecast is actually -1% vs. 2017.  It’s just that the marketing window is much earlier this year . . . all thanks to Amazon.

 

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