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Aug 30, 2023

Best back to school ads for 2023

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

With Labor Day around the corner that means kids are headed back to school.

Back to school is, well, back and that means even more ads to analyze. This year the round-up of school commercials isn’t too surprising, with many familiar brands taking the top spots for expected items like notebooks and pencils. 

One thing that is notable, however, is that less essential items like clothing and electronics are taking a back seat this year. With money so tight for so many, retailers are targeting their programmatic strategies to fit their customer’s changing needs. 


Savings are at the center of back to school 2023

Similar to last year, savings are the name of the game and according to Marketing Drive, “brand loyalty is out the window” with ongoing economic stress causing many customers to shop with price at the forefront of their decision-making process. This means marketers are getting creative with their advertising, finding new ways to grab the attention of new, and existing, customers. 

The most prominent feature of back to school ads this year is savings, which means specific features and the quality of items aren’t the main focus. Instead, many major retailers are focussing on essentials, sometimes going to far as the show how they can help customers buy less. 


The best back to school ads from 2023

These are some of the top ads from this year’s selection of back to school commercials. 

Amazon – Spend less on your kids


Money is at the center of this back to school ad from Amazon, which highlights the retailer’s lower prices on school supplies. While this ad uses less music than usually seen in back to school ads, it retains the traditional bright colors and upbeat aesthetic. Randal Park is also a hit in this ad, bringing a sense of humor and a familiar face that is sure to grab its audience’s attention


Staples Canada

This ad uses comedy and nostalgia to highlight Staples’ product offerings this back to school season. Staples tells a relatable narrative with this ad too, something that’s not as frequently seen in back to school commercials. With its bright eighties colors, and a notable appearance from Howie Mandel, this ad is an eye catching success. 



Macy’s releases an upbeat and attention grabbing ad for back to school every year, and 2023 is no different. This ad is short and sweet. While it uses more traditional back to school imagery and audio, it’s short enough to still hold its audience’s attention the whole way through. 

Like other ads on this list, it does a great job at highlighting the retailer’s current discounts, trying to get an edge on the competition this season. 


DoorDash – Don’t Go Back 

This hilarious ad from DoorDash is full of self-reflective comedy that’s as funny as it is effective. By referencing common tropes from traditional back to school advertising, this ad is refreshing,  helping highlight the company’s unique service – delivering back to school essentials right to customers’ doorstep. 


Key Takeaways 

These ads from 2023 includes a lot of expected content, from sales items to color palettes. This familiarity draws in financially stressed parents, hoping to save some money this year. 

  1. Savings are at the center – With pockets tighter than in recent years, retailers are opting to highlight their cost-effectiveness this back to school season. 
  2. Celebrity – Not surprisingly, many of the back to school ads this year feature familiar faces.
  3. Bold colors are back – The classic back to school color palette has always been bright and bold and this year is no different. 

Want to see more of the best and most viewed back to school ads? Check out our top picks from 2022 and 2021.


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