Archive for July, 2015


It may seem that summer has just begun, but parents already have back-to-school shopping on their minds. A new Consumer Pulse survey from programmatic advertising company Rubicon Project finds that more than half of the parents surveyed (56%) said they plan to spend more money per child than they did last year to prepare the students for the upcoming school year. K-12 parents plan to spend on average $873 per student, while parents who also have college students are planning to spend more than $1,100 per student. Parents have also started their back-to-school shopping early. Nearly one-quarter of K-12 parents (23%) have already begun and will continue to spread their purchases throughout the summer.

As signs of the improving economy and the growing student use of technology in the classroom, the Rubicon Project survey found that nearly two in five parents (38%) intend to purchase technology products such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones specifically to meet students’ in-class needs and requirements. Mobile phone plans are also commonly re-evaluated during the back-to-school shopping season. More than one-third of parents with college students (35%) and nearly one-quarter of K-12 parents (24%) said they plan to shop for a new mobile plan this summer. On average, elementary and secondary school parents expect to spend nearly $400 on technology products, compared to $278 on apparel.

A separate Harris Poll commissioned by Staples found that 78% of parents of children ages 8-18 plan to buy their school supplies only or mostly in stores. The survey also found that 82% always look for deals and coupons before leaving the house to go shopping. A majority, 53%, said the best time to purchase school supplies is one month before school starts.

In the Rubicon Project survey, 61%of parents said store sales and promotions are the top determinant of when they conduct their back-to-school shopping. 74% said they prefer to shop at a big box retailer or large chain store if it meant getting a better deal. 83% of the parents said they decide where to go back-to-school shopping. Across all product categories, moms overwhelmingly lead these outings, even among college students. While 75% of parents say their college student has a paying job either during the summer or the school year, a whopping 72% of their parents expect to foot the bill for all or most of their college student’s back-to-school items. Of course, the children come along most of the time (73%) and heavily influence what is purchased, especially when it comes to clothes, food and school supplies.


Total U.S. ad spending was down 4.0% in the first quarter of this year, as tallied by Kantar Media—and total television spending was pretty much in line with that, down 3%. Some of that, of course, was due to not having the Winter Olympics on NBC this year, which impacted both Network and Spot TV totals. Excluding the impact of the Olympics and political, Kantar said core U.S. ad spending was down 2.0%.

One bright spot was U.S. Spanish Television, for which Kantar includes 5 Hispanic broadcast networks, 5 cable networks and 80 local TV stations. It shot up 4.8% in Q1. “The number of national brands purchasing time on Hispanic stations continues to expand and this demand contributes to spending growth,” said Kantar. On the English side, Network TV was down 9.2%, Spot TV 6.8% and Syndication 4.9%. Cable TV Networks were up 4.1%.

Kantar is still limited in its ability to count digital media. It added Paid Search this time, showing it up 7.0%, while Online Display (PC only, not mobile) was down 8.7%. Newspapers had another tough quarter, with print ads down 15.4%. Radio was close to flat, down 0.1%, and Outdoor rose 2.9%.

Procter & Gamble, which has stated that it is shifting traditional media dollars to digital, was still the biggest advertiser at $570.9 million, although that was down 24.5% from a year ago. Comcast moved up to second at $464.8 million, up 10.4%. General Motors fell to third with Q1 ad buys down 30.8% to $411.4 million. AT&T dropped 24.6% to $404.6 million and Pfizer rounded out the top five at $400.8 million, up 13.1%.

The biggest increase in ad buying in the top 10 was by Deutsche Telekom for its T-Mobile subsidiary. It increased advertising 34.8% to $269.8 million.

By sector, auto was still #1, but down 11.0% to $3.35 billion. Retail was down 9.6% to $3.09 billion. Insurance declined 8.9% to $1.53 billion.