With the critical back-to-school and back-to-college season looming, Target is expanding its offerings for students as well as doubling down on digital experiences and campus events.
The season marks the second-biggest shopping period of the year, accounting for $84 billion in sales and ranking behind only the winter holidays. Between June and August, Target spends about $160 million on measured media, according to Kantar Media.
"We are very excited and optimistic going into the back-to-school season," said Rick Gomez, Target's senior VP-marketing. "Looking at the assortment, it's broader than we've ever had before. …So we're well positioned."
Target says it has added about 200 additional items to its school-themed area in more than half of its U.S. stores, compared to a year ago. In store, there's an emphasis on apparel and matching accessories, as well as fashion-forward school supplies, like glittery calculators and slap-ruler bracelets.
The retailer said it plans to invest heavily in broadcast TV -- it has six ads -- followed by print and radio. There will also be a program with Instagram. Ads focus on celebrating kids' sense of style, a departure from the campaign that has run for the last two years featuring teachers and opening with a salutation to parents. The ads, created by 72andSunny, will air in select markets beginning July 14 and roll out nationwide on July 28.
For back-to-college, there will be a significant presence in digital. "The most important thing we can do is reach millennials where they are, and where they are is the digital space, so we invest quite a bit of our marketing across digital, social and mobile," said Mr. Gomez. "On-campus events are fun, but really the back-to-college marketing cornerstone is digital."