According to Kantar Media, in 2016 advertisers spent $251 million during back to school season, up 12% from $224 million in 2015. All the more reason to start thinking about potential back to school sales promotions for your brand. Read our blog on Building brand loyalty with students 3 back-to-college campaigns

To help you with some inspiration, we’ve picked some of our favourite back to school promotions from around the world.

Back to School promotions

1. Staples – Staples for Students

The Staples For Students campaign really hit the nail on the head in terms of targeting families but also the sometimes forgotten audience of teachers.

Staples offered two massive enticements: Customers who spent $25 in a Staples store got the chance to win a trip to meet Katy Perry in LA or the grand prize of an opportunity to meet Perry AND a $50,000 scholarship.

In addition to partnering with the pop star, Staples teamed up with to generate support for teachers and students. The company pledged a $1 million donation to DonorsChoose and leveraged their social platforms to encourage others to donate.

The campaign is a winner in our eyes not only because of the star power of Katy Perry but also because it directly benefits teachers who might otherwise struggle to afford all the necessary classroom materials.

2. Boogie Wipes – Back to School Giveaway

Boogie wipes, the nasal and wipe solution to avoiding germs and ‘boogies’ for kids, came up with a great giveaway back in 2015.

Kids got the chance to take home a backpack loaded with school supplies, including, of course, lots of Boogie Wipes. Plus, a mommy clutch full of everything needed to make the start of the school year as easy as possible for mammy including a $25 Target gift card, a $25 Starbucks gift card, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus, a Dreft Stain Stick and Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator.

There was no requirement of a purchase of any Boogie Wipe products, consumers simply had to fill out a form on Boogie Wipe’s website and the lucky winners were selected randomly. The great thing about this sales promotion is that it not only appeals to kids, but to the Mammys who usually have the final say in these decisions (Sorry Daddys!)

3. IHT Spirit System & Adidas – Unleash Your Best Spirit

IHT Spirit System, developer of wearable technology and physical education assessment software, teamed up with the sports brand Adidas to create the IHT Spirit Challenge.

Obesity in children has become somewhat of an epidemic and both brands looked to combat this as kids returned to school.

To enter, participants needed to submit their email and post to Twitter saying they were “committed to doing 1 healthy thing today” using hashtags such as #UnleashYourBestSpirit and #PhysEd, in addition to mentioning @IHTUSA.

The prize was a complete spirit system for the whole school valued at over $10,000. Nice initiative of the part of both brands and a great example of Brand Partnerships.

4. Smiles Dental – Kids go free!

This was a simple initiative by Smiles to drive footfall in the run up to Back to School. Smiles Dental offered a free dental check for kids with a paying adult. If you’re due a check-up, you can bring your kid to receive the same check up completely for free. Nice.

5. Prismacolor Pencils – Back to School Artwork Competition

Prismacolor, who specialise in producing colouring pencils for artists, ran a back-to-school competition with prize packages on offer worth between $250 and $900. Participants were encouraged to upload pictures of artwork they created using Prismacolor markers or pencils, along with a testimonial explaining why they enjoyed using Prismacolor products and the public could vote for their favourite. Because the competition ran around back-to-school time, it ensured parents and children alike kept Prismacolor top-of-mind when shopping art supplies.

6. The Sunday Times & Pick ‘n’ Pay – Back to School Offer

In 2017 in South Africa, the Sunday Times partnered with retailer Pick ‘n’ Pay to offer free stationery gifts with every Sunday Times newspaper purchased. Customers could also text to win 1 of 80 opportunities to have their school fees paid. Lovely example of partnership marketing used effectively to drive revenue for both brands.

7. SuperValu – Back to School Survival Kit

SuperValu launched their web-based Back to School Survival Kit. This comprises of several links and videos on everything you need to help you kids on their return to education including back to school lunchbox recipes, school dinner recipes, after school activities, cost saving tips and promotional offers that help the family make the successful transition back into school for the year.


Back to school season is big business for companies. Planning a great sales promotion to coincide with this time of year is a great way to increase sales and keep your brand top of mind with consumers. It can also be a great opportunity to make a connection with families as they start their school journey in which your company could be part of into the future! As you have seen, the possibilities are endless and these promotions are not restricted to just companies that you may typically associate with school goers,  the sky really is the limit!

Posted in Sales Promotions