Top Ad-Spend on Back-To-School and Holiday campaigns

Part
01
of six
Part
01

Electronics BTS Ad Spend 2

To determine the consumer electronics brands that spend the most on advertising during the back-to-school shopping season, we began our research by searching through marketing resources such as Adage as well as research media resources such as Forbes and USAToday. Our initial search only produced information on the total amounts spent by consumer electronics companies during the season and some insights into key trends.
Next, we searched through statistics sites such as Statista and research resources such as MarketsandMarkets and Deloitte. We found statistics on the overall back-to-school marketing budget as well as yearly changes but nothing on the brands that spend the most in the U.S.

Third, we looked for academic resources and journals in the hope of finding any information on the subject. Also, we considered marketing analytics sites such iSpot and CMO. These strategies did not provide any information that would enable us to answer the question. Still, there were no breakdowns of marketing spend for either the consumer electronics sector or any other sector.

As a last resort, we decided to use the garnered data to triangulate the required information. Our research had established that Dell, Microsoft, and Amazon are among the largest ad spenders with consumer electronics offerings. It also established that Nintendo is among the largest ad spenders in the United States. A resource by YouGov verified that the four companies' products are among the most popular and famous in the United States. Our logic was that the products could only be famous and popular if the companies employed comprehensive marketing strategies, and that require high spending. We also established from Media Radar that the ad budgets for the consumer electronic products offered by Microsoft and Amazon are substantial. We found Dell's and Nintendo's U.S. ad budgets from a resource provided by Adage.

From YouGov, we established that Whirlpool is the most popular and famous brand apart from the four already provided above. Further research established that Whirlpool also has a high ad spend budget in the United States. Notably, we divided Dell's U.S. ad spend of $509 million by three since its annual report mentions that advertising budget is distributed among its three key segments. Therefore, Dell's U.S. ad spend dedicated to its consumer electronic segment is about $170,000. We have used Nintendo's total U.S. ad spend in our calculations since it is primarily an electronic consumer brand.
Additionally, we had found the amount of money spent on back-to-school marketing in the United States and the overall ad spend in the country. We used these data points to calculate approximate ad spends during the back-to-school season for the five companies. In 2017, the total amount spend on back-to-school advertising in the United States was 166.5 million. In the same year, $205 billion was spent on advertising in the United States. Below, are our calculations.
Percentage of back-to-school ad spend = ad spend during back-to-school season/total annual ad spend X 100 = 166,500,000/205,000,000,000 X 100 = 0.08%
Considering the total U.S. ad spend for each company:
Company U.S. ad spend Back-to-school ad spend
(0.08% X U.S. ad spend)
Amazon $300 million (approx) $240,000
Nintendo $234 million $187,200
Microsoft $200 million (approx) $160,000
Dell $170 million (calculated) $136,000
Whirlpool $100 million (approx) $80,000
We then researched and provided the descriptions of the companies and their respective back-to-school campaigns. Kindly refer to the attached spreadsheet for more information. These figures should be treated as estimates since they were calculated using estimates and with the assumption that all companies would use almost similar ratios of their ad spend budgets on back-to-school marketing. Kindly refer to columns A-F, rows 7-11 of the Consumer Electronics tab of the attached spreadsheet for more information.
Part
02
of six
Part
02

Electronics BTS Ad Spend 1

To determine the consumer electronics brands that spend the most on advertising during the back-to-school shopping season, we began our research by searching through marketing resources such as Adweek and Adage as well as research sites such as Deloitte and Pew Research. Our initial search only produced information on the total amount spent by companies on back-to-school advertising in the United states, but nothing specific to the consumer electronics sector.

Next, we searched through statistics sites such as Statista and media resources such as Forbes and Reuters. From this strategy we managed to find the total spend on back-to-school marketing in the United States and some insights on the best back-to-school campaigns as well as information on back-to-school trends. Third, we leveraged resources that provide marketing insights such as CMO.com and those that measure advertisement metrics such as iSpot.tv. We also considered academic journals and studies in the hope that some studies have been conducted on the subject. Again, our efforts were fruitless as there were no breakdowns of marketing spend for either the consumer electronics sector or any other sector.

Our fourth strategy was to try to use the garnered data to triangulate the required information. During our research, we had established that the top-five consumer electronics by overall ad spend in the United States were Samsung, Apple, Sony Corp, LG Electronics, and HP. Also, we had found the amount of money spent on back-to-school marketing in the United States and the overall ad spend in the country. We used these data points to calculate approximate ad spends during the back-to-school season for these companies. Notably, we have used 2017 statistics since they were available for all three data sets.

In 2017, the total amount spend on back-to-school advertising in the United States was 166.5 million. In the same year, $205 billion was spent on advertising in the United States. Below, are our calculations.

Percentage of back-to-school ad spend = ad spend during back-to-school season/total annual ad spend X 100 = 166,500,000/205,000,000,000 X 100 = 0.08%

Considering the total U.S. ad spend for each company:

Company U.S. ad spend Back-to-school ad spend
(0.08% X U.S. ad spend)

Samsung $2.4 billion $1.92 million
Apple $896 million $716,800
Sony Corp. $790 million $632,000
LG $396 million $316,800
HP $202 million $161,600

Again, these figures should be treated as estimations since they were calculated under the assumption that all companies would use almost similar ratios of their ad spend budgets on back-to-school marketing. We then researched and provided the descriptions of the companies and their respective back-to-school campaigns. Kindly refer to the attached spreadsheet for more information.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

CPG BTS Ad Spend 1

In trying to find ad campaigns for 5 CPG brands, we found that the companies that make products geared towards school-age children and young people that spend the most on advertising are Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola. After a very exhaustive and intensive research, we recognized that back-to-school ad campaigns are largely run by retail companies, and even though they all produce ads throughout the year that are geared towards schools and school children, retail companies seem to be the dominant players in this industry at this time of year. In our searches, we realized that when these companies do back-to-school promotions, most are done outside of the US. We did manage to find ad campaigns by these companies, with two promoting giveaways. There was a lack of concrete information for how CPG companies spend their advertising dollars during the back-to-school season, or during any time of the year. Since we couldn't find how much CPG brands spent on advertising during the back-to-school season, we had to do a rough estimate. We discuss our methodology in trying to find this information, and we placed our findings into this spreadsheet.

METHODOLOGY

Our strategy in finding how much CPG brands spent on ads during back-to-school began when we did a straightforward search for the top 5 CPG brands in terms of ad spend in the back-to-school season. In this search, we happened upon many articles that spoke on shopping through the eyes of the consumer, while other articles spoke on ads by retail companies. Because of this, we decided to change strategies.

Our next strategy was to look into how much CPG brands spend on advertising on a whole. In doing this, we thought that there would be some articles that break down how they spend their ad money at different times of the year, which we could use to our advantage as back-to-school shopping season starts in June and ends in September. When we didn't find this information, we then switched our search to find the top companies based on how much ad dollars they spent. This method was more successful, and we found a list from 2018 of about 200 of the top companies by ad money spend. We managed to find companies in the CPG sector by comparing it with a list of top CPG companies. We also excluded companies which would have no money geared towards back-to-school, such as Anheuser-Busch and L'Oreal. When we got the top 5, we then knew we had to get advertising spend in 2017 for those companies and find ad campaigns for them. It was 2017 because even though the list was compiled in 2018, the results of the ad spend were from 2017. When we did a search for the ad spend during the back-to-school season, we came up empty, even when searching for monthly breakdowns per company. Also, this was very inefficient, so we had to think of another way to get this information.

When we realized we couldn't get advertising spend during back-to-school season information, we looked for ways in which we could calculate it. We thought that by getting a percentage of the money spent by these companies during the back-to-school shopping season, we could get this information. However, we realized that the percentage could not be found either, so we decided to calculate a general percentage by dividing the total ad spend during the back-to-school season by the total amount of advertising money spent in the year. We got a percentage and used that to calculate very rough estimates for advertising spend for each company.

Afterward, we moved on to finding ad campaigns for each company, which was tricky, as each company had many brands beneath them. After thorough searching, we managed to find ad campaigns that either focused on back-to-school or ran relevant ads during back-to-school. This search was trickiest for Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, and Nestle. We recorded our findings in the spreadsheet, and detail our calculations below.

CALCULATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS

Without any information on the percentage of ad money CPG brands spend during BTS season, we needed to find it another way. By finding a percentage through finding the average BTS ad spend in the US and the total ad spend in the US in 2017, we could get a percentage that would represent an average ad spend during the BTS season. To calculate the percentage of back-to-school ad spend
= Back-to-school ad spend 2017 / Total US ad spend 2017
= 0.081%

Procter & Gamble BTS ad spend = $4.387 billion * 0.081%
= $3,550,000

Nestle BTS ad spend = $2.128 billion * 0.081%
= $1,720,000

Johnson & Johnson ad spend = $1.926 billion * 0.081%
= $1,560,000

PepsiCo = $1.381 billion * 0.081%
= $1,118,000

Coca-Cola = $899 million * 0.081%
= $728,190

INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATIONS

There are several factors that need to be considered when looking at this data. First, each company's spend varies, and the 0.081% average we calculated may not accurately portray all companies. However, because it's an average, we decided to use this percentage to calculate the ad spend for each company. Also, based on research, back-to-school seems to be a bigger boon for retail companies, which may explain why we found it hard to obtain the information that we needed. Here is a summary of interesting information that we found:
  • Takis, a brand that belongs to a PepsiCo subsidiary, ran an ad campaign during the back-to-school season in 2017 called "Are You Takis Enough?"
  • Johnson & Johnson brand Healthy Essentials did a back-to-school giveaway where students could win $40,000.
  • Coca-Cola brand Powerade ran a "Power Your School" campaign which gave student-athletes a chance to win $1 million for their school's athletic programs.

Part
04
of six
Part
04

Retail BTS Ad Spend 2

Our team found that Ikea, Best Buy, Staples, JCPenny, and Payless Shoesource were the next 5 top brands in terms of their advertising spend during the back-to-school shopping season. Details have been included in the project spreadsheet as requested. Below is a deep dive into our methodology.

METHODOLOGY

To determine the top five retail brands in terms of advertising spend during the back-to-school season in the United States, we sought after the resources of Media Radar, a SaaS company that provides research around retail brands, as well as real-time advertising insights and more. Based on its most recent research, Media Radar’s report focuses on over 4000 retail brands, ranking the top seven by ad spend during the 2018 back-to-school period. According to the findings of the report, retailers spent an estimated $600 million on advertising across national TV, print and online, with over one-third of the overall spend ($210 million) coming from the seven brands including Ikea and Best Buy. Unfortunately, the researcher does not disclose the amount spent by each brand through the report's findings available to the public.
In addition, we scoured reports from sources such as Insider Radio and Kantar Media for additional companies. While we were able to find a comprehensive list for 2016, our initial search only lead us to a paywall through Kantar Media that most likely has all the requested data. Unfortunately, there was no additional data ranking the companies for more recent years. We then found a report by Insider Radio from 2018 that detailed the year of year change of the companies that spend the most on ads for the Back-to-school season. This provided us with the additional three companies which were Staples, JCPenney, and Payless Shoesource.
Our next step was to determine from the brands' financials (annual reports, SEC Fillings, quarterly reports, and proxy statements) their 2018 back-to-school advertising costs. Since the top advertisers belong to publicly-traded companies, we studied their financial reports to find out how much detail they included about their advertising budgets. This proved insufficient for our purposes since each company that does provide spending only provides details for the entire year, not by channel. This meant that we could not even narrow down their advertising spend to the 2018 holiday season, let alone to their back-to-school campaign. In addition, some companies have not released their 2018 financials yet.
We launched to search for any metrics, primarily the percentage of share of each brand against the overall back-to-school expenditure for 2018 ($600 million), which would enable us to triangulate their advertising investment. Therefore, we combed through other research databases, such as Deloitte, National Retail Federation, and more, with surveys regarding the amount used by retail brands to advertise through the holiday season. Unfortunately, there was no data that broke down spending by percentage for each company.

As a last resort, we changed tactics to search credible media sites for any leaks, expert estimations or trends around the brands' historical or future campaign costs targeted at the back-to-school shopping season. The publications we searched through include Marketing Dive, Kantar Media, Alabama Media, Ace Metrix News, Rakuten Marketing, and more. Aside from some experts giving likability scores for the "most likable back-to-school ads," or details about the growth in revenues (+35%) during the period and other details. Unfortunately, none of these source provided any metrics that could be used to calculate current ad spend against any of our previous findings.
Part
05
of six
Part
05

Retail BTS Ad Spend 1

Our team found that Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohl's, and Amazon were the top brands in terms of their advertising spend during the back-to-school shopping season. Details have been included in the project spreadsheet as requested. Below is a deep dive into our methodology.

METHODOLOGY

To determine the top five retail brands in terms of advertising spend during the back-to-school season in the United States, we sought after the resources of Media Radar, a SaaS company that provides research around retail brands, as well as real-time advertising insights and more. Based on its most recent research, Media Radar’s report focuses on over 4000 retail brands, ranking the top seven by ad spend during the 2018 back-to-school period. According to the findings of the report, retailers spent an estimated $600 million on advertising across national TV, print and online, with over one-third of the overall spend ($210 million) coming from the seven brands. The report goes ahead to rank the top 5 by back-to-school ad spend as Target (#1), Walmart (#2), Macy's (#3), Kohl's (#4), and Amazon (#5). Unfortunately, the researcher does not disclose the amount spent by each brand through the report's findings available to the public.
Our next step was to determine from the brands' financials (annual reports, SEC Fillings, quarterly reports, and proxy statements) their 2018 back-to-school advertising costs. Since the top advertisers belong to publicly-traded companies, we studied their financial reports to find out how much detail they included about their advertising budgets. This proved insufficient for our purposes. For example, Walmart states only that, "Advertising costs were $3.1 billion, $2.9 billion and $2.5 billion for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively," but does not provide a breakdown by channel. In fact, their quarterly reports contained no data on their advertising spend at all, meaning that we could not even narrow down their advertising spend to the 2018 holiday season, let alone to their back-to-school campaign. The other top contenders provided similarly low levels of detail about their advertising budgets; in fact, some have not yet released their 2018 financials, further compounding the problem.
We launched to search for any metrics, primarily the % share of each brand against the overall back-to-school expenditure ($210 million), which would enable us to triangulate their advertising investment. Therefore, we combed through other research databases, such as Deloitte, National Retail Federation, iSpot.tv, and more, with surveys regarding the amount used by retail brands to advertise through the holiday season. A research conducted by iSpot.tv, which was cited by TV (R) EV Media, ranked brands according to their ad spend during the 2018 back-to-school season; however, this was specifically for TV commercials and did not include print and online. For example, Walmart and Target lead the way in TV advertising spend at 29.4% and 19%, respectively, followed by JCPenney (13.9%), Macy's (11.4%), and Kohl's (10.9%). As a result, the available data was not enough in extrapolating Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohl's, and Amazon back-to-school ad expenditures across the three platforms combined: national TV, print and online.

As a last resort, we changed tactics to search credible media sites for any leaks, expert estimations or trends around the brands' (Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohl's, and Amazon) historical or future campaign costs targeted at the back-to-school shopping season. The publications we searched through include Marketing Dive, Kantar Media, Alabama Media, Ace Metrix News, Rakuten Marketing, and more. Aside from some experts giving likability scores for the "most likable back-to-school ads," or details about the growth in revenues (+35%) during the period and other details; for example, "IKEA increased its spend across TV, print and online by 46%, while Amazon increased its total spend by 42% and Target by 8%. Walmart (16%) and Kohl's (3%) decreased there advertising spend while Macy's remained flat," there was a lack of data to directly provide us with details on any of the brands ad cost for the historical (last 2 years), current (2018) or future (speculated) back-to-school shopping season.

Part
06
of six
Part
06

BTS Ad Spend Overview

In this Back-to-School Ad Spend project, three major product segments were reviewed in order to determine the top brands advertising during the back-to-school season. The three segments reviewed were retail, CPG, and consumer electronics. A separate completed research report has been compiled for each product segment of this project (sent separately from this report) and an overview of each segment's findings is included below and in the attached spreadsheet.

Retail

The top five retail brands in terms of advertising spend during the 2018 back-to-school season were Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohl's, and Amazon. Combined, the five companies spent a total of about $210 million. Although we were unable to find a breakdown of the spend per company, we were able to determine that in 2018, Target increased its back-to-school spend by 8%, while Amazon increased its seasonal spend by 42%. In addition, both Walmart and Kohl's decreased their back-to-school advertising spend by 16% and 3% respectively, while Macy's spend remained nearly the same. Other top retail advertisers during the back-to-school ad season are IKEA, Best Buy, Staples, JC Penny, and Payless ShoeSource. Though creative research tactics were employed, the determination of additional retail brands that spent significant advertising dollars during the back-to-school season proved to be fruitless, even though we can speculate that other office supply or clothing stores were among the top spenders due to the types of merchandise they sell that are in demand during the back-to-school time frame.

CPG

The top five CPG brands in terms of advertising spend during the 2018 back-to-school season Proctor & Gamble Company, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and CocaCola. These brands spent between $728,000 (CocaCola) and $3.5 million (Proctor & Gamble) on advertising for back-to-school. Unfortunately, as it appears that back-to-school is primarily a retail season, we had to make several assumptions to provide even an approximate spend for these companies. The breakdown of spend by CPG brand just is not available in the public domain for the back-to-school time frame. It is likely that except for some brands that are geared toward children and adolescents, this is not a heavily advertised time of year for CPG brands in general. Publicly available data made the determination of additional brands' spends during the back-to-school season virtually impossible since most companies do not publicly disclose a breakdown of their advertising spend by holiday or season. Moreover, the back-to-school time frame does not appear to be a heavily studied time of year for advertising, at least in relation to the bigger holidays to follow.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

 Back-to-school ad spending in the consumer electronics arena was led by Samsung Electronics, Apple, Sony Corp., LG Electronics, and Hewlett Packard. These companies' ad spends during this time of year ranged from about $161,600 by Hewlett Packard to about $1.9 million by Samsung. Other top consumer electronics spenders on ads during the back-to-school season were determined to likely be Amazon, Nintendo, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, and Whirlpool. However, we were not able to confirm this fully because as with CPG spending, there was very little publicly available data on back-to-school ad spend for consumer electronics companies. We used some broad assumptions to select the companies most likely to spend significant parts of their advertising budgets on back-to-school ads in lieu of actual hard data. As with the research surrounding the other product segments, further determination of top ad spenders was virtually impossible as most companies do not break down their ad spend by season and the back-to-school time frame has not been as heavily studied as other times of the year.

Ultimately, a determination of the top 20 companies and brands in the three product segments that spent the most money during the 2018 back-to-school time frame was unable to be completed. However, the total of 25 companies we were able to identify provide a comprehensive look into which types of companies spend the most during this season. Retail clearly leads the way, with Target and Walmart the front runners.

COMPLETED RESEARCH REPORTS WITHIN THIS PROJECT

Sources
Sources

From Part 04