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Keeping Catch Phrases Out Of Search Ads

Shopping with mom for back-to-school clothes usually turned out to be in my favor, but there were frequent disagreements on what I could wear and how much she would spend for my new wardrobe.

Apparently, not much has changed when it comes to how teens shop with their parents -- including the catch phrases that parents just don't want to hear. Money and searching for the perfect "stuff" create the greatest tension, according to the survey conducted online in June by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates, a Rakuten subsidiary that provides cash-back incentives.

Keep the message in ads positive. The study, fielded among 1,024 adults and 501 teens, showed that not being able to afford everything, at 46%; not being able to find what the child needs, at 45%; and waiting in line, at 44%, were the top three things adults dread when going shopping for back-to-school clothes. For teens, the top three were not being able to what they need, 60%; not agreeing with their parents, 43%; and not being able to afford anything, 43%.

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Between teens and their parents, careful negotiation of back-to-school shopping remains key. In fact, there are a few key phrases that parents just don't want to hear, according to the study. Keep them out of ads and marketing materials. Here you go: Some 49% rated No. 1 as "I have to have it — literally everyone has one." No. 2 came in with 45% of the vote, "I promise I won’t ask for anything else." And No. 3 at 42% was "My teacher told me we need one."

Marketers really need to make back-to-school shopping a better experience. And it all starts with the paid-search ad. Start with rethinking the message. Focus on how the brand or retail store can alleviate these fears, similar to the way the ads focus on touting free shipping during the holiday season.

Some 52% of parents and teens anticipate the most tension when shopping for stylish name-brand clothing; 20%, off-brand clothing essentials; and 16%, technology.

This tension around clothes shopping may be due to the fact that fully half of teens admit to feeling embarrassed by a clothing-related purchase their parents made last year.

Teens said the most embarrassing things their parent bought last year for back to school were dorky clothes, gym clothes or shoes, 50%. An old cell phone followed at 20%; new glasses, 11%; and cooler lunchbox, 7%.

The survey also asked parents how they planned to ease the stress of back to school shopping. Half of parents said they will skip the chaos of the mall and shop online, and another 30% will indulge in some retail therapy such as buy some clothes or accessories for themselves.

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