Amazon 'Spend Less' Message For Back-To-School Ads Is A Sign Of The Times

Amazon on Monday debuted its 2023 back-to-school campaign starring actor Randall Park, known for his role in “Fresh Off the Boat."

Getting kids back to school can become expensive, especially in a year of high inflation. Amazon decided to take a little different approach this year, though they have used a similar message in the past.

Campaign spots including ones that are 30, 15 and 6 seconds in duration feature Park encouraging parents to spend less on school supplies by taking advantage of Amazon’s deals. 

In the ads -- which will run on TV, online video, digital and social media throughout the summer -- Park conveys the idea of spending less on kids this year as they go back to school.

Back-to-school spending this year is expected to reach $41.5 billion -- up from $36.9 billion last year, and the previous high of $37.1 billion in 2021, according to the annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.



The NRF also notes that back-to-school spending for college is expected to hit $94 billion -- about $20 billion more than last year’s record total.

Amazon’s spots center on saving money and received support from the young children in the ad, including one who notes that the concept is “fiscally advantageous” to which Park responds: “I don’t even know what that means."

The spots were developed by creative directors Tom Pettus, Vince Feliciano, Ken Slater, and Jo Shoesmith, as well as director Jody Hill, known for “The Righteous Gemstones.” With one click, the campaign also is intended to promote Amazon’s Back to School shopping guide.

The campaign follows Amazon Prime Day, where about 76% of Prime members planned to shop for school-related products, compared with 42% of non-Prime members who planned to shop for back-to-school items during Prime Day, according to coupon website RetailMeNot.

This year’s Prime Day proved to be memorable, with record-breaking ad spending boosting sales by 486%. Marketing platform Skai shared data based on analysis of Amazon Marketing Services spend hosted on its platform. Findings showed that ad spend rose 409% on July 11th and 12th during the average of the previous 30 days. Last year spending only increased by 300%.

Skai said that the average shopping cart size grew 76%, from $36 on average for the 30 days before Prime Day to $61, and return on ad spend (ROAS) grew 14%.

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