School promotions are hard, partly because the promotion period is in summer, when routines are disrupted. But every year, the average cost of supplies, clothes, etc. increases, and can put a lot of stress on families. This creates a promotion opportunity. Take a winner for a day of Back to School Shopping.

This can be targeted to different audiences and life-groups depending on your audience and format.

Back to School Shopping Promotion

This can start as a topic on the air, talking about the total amount it costs to send a child back to another school year.

If you’re targeting adults with young kids, cover all the angles including clothes (they’ve outgrown last year’s) and all those supplies, etc.

If you’re targeting teen-agers, there’s a lot of anxiety that they’re going to fit in and look right. You can focus on hair styles, clothes, etc.

The typical approach most stations would take is to simply give away a shopping spree. They’d get a sponsor and give them $500 to spend. Put a winner on the air and there you go!

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But this is far better.

Tell a Story!

Find a listener with a great story. Try to get someone who can express themselves well, and can communicate the emotions they’re going through preparing for school.

Then, don’t just send them on a shopping spree. Take them shopping, helping them pick out their clothes and talking them through every stage!

Make the promotion an experience by going with them, capturing the event on video and getting before and after photos.

If it’s a full family (a mom and her kids), go shopping, and pay for everything! If it’s an older kid, include a clothing consultant, stylist and basically give them an entire makeover.


I love this promotion because it creates content and makes the listener a star. You can get extra mileage from it by following the story through the first day or two of school to find out how it’s going.

The key to making this work is experiencing the emotions they go through and take it to the listeners.