Amazon destigmatizes spending less on kids in back-to-school ads


    • Amazon debuted its 2022 back-to-school campaign featuring actress Kathryn Hahn, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.

    • A playful 30-second spot and three 15-second spots show Hahn urging parents to “Go ahead and spend less” on their kids while keeping up with trends and changing needs. It was created by Amazon’s internal cross-channel marketing team and will run across national TV and digital channels. 

    • Aptly centered around low prices, flexibility and convenience as inflation continues to soar, the effort could represent a theme for this year’s back-to-school campaigns as brands search for ways to meet consumers’ needs.


    As inflation hits a 40-year high, Amazon’s back-to-school campaign is sending a message to parents that preparing for the school year doesn’t have to break the bank. The back-to-school shopping season is an important one for retailers and this year’s arrives amid widespread concern about rising prices for many items, with parents worried that they won’t be able to afford school shopping this year. 

    In 30-and 15-second spots, Hahn, who is well-known for comedic roles in movies including “Bad Moms,” “We’re the Millers” and “Step Brothers,” is seen walking the halls of a school and addressing hypothetical scenarios, like replacing supplies for a destructive child or buying clothes after a growth spurt, alluding to the e-commerce giant’s one-stop-shopping positioning.

    Customer Growth Partners predicts the back-to-school season will reflect fears of a recession this year, with sales expected to grow 5.5% year-on-year, a stark difference from 2021, which saw 13.1% growth. As economic uncertainty persists, more brands launching back-to-school campaigns could frame their strategy around affordability. In early July, Target announced its back-to-school sales that included increased student and teacher savings.

    Choosing Hahn to star in the campaign adds light-hearted relief to what could be a concern for parents and may help destigmatize the idea of spending less on children without sacrificing quality. After two-plus years of turmoil, consumers are looking for humor from brands, according to recent research. Other brands have turned to celebrities to support their product or purpose. For example, Manscaped recently announced “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson as its brand ambassador and featured the comedian ad-libbing in a commercial promoting its Lawn Mower 4.0 grooming product. 

    In addition to featuring Hahn, Amazon also compiled a back-to-school shopping guide with lists specially curated by other celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, Busy Phillips and Mindy Kaling, which may add a layer of interest for parents as they search for products.


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