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Retailers Suck the Fun Out of Summer With Back-To-School Ads

Too soon? Office Depot's back-to-school collection with pop band One Direction
Too soon? Office Depot's back-to-school collection with pop band One Direction

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Enjoying your summer break? Stop it right now. Though it's barely the first week in July, retailers like Walmart and Apple are here to remind you that it's not too early to start shopping for next year's school supplies. (Also, you should probably start stressing about your course load and final exams, too.)

Retailers are encouraging customers to get a jump on the the back-to-school shopping season, which accounts for $84 billion in sales and is the second-biggest season for retailers after Christmas, AdAge reports. The Walmart.com homepage is currently advertising college dorm supplies under the tagline "More college for your money," while Apple's homepage shows a guy wearing Chucks and fiddling away on a MacBook. The tagline reads "Make a brilliant college entrance" and the brand also offering up free shipping for school gear. And Office Depot has teamed up with UK pop band One Direction to create a back-to-school collection—available now—including notebooks, folders, pens, and nail polish.

"In seven and a half years, I've never once seen so much emphasis put on back-to-school before July 4," National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis told AdAge.

A few stores are showing slightly more restraint. AdAge reports that Staples will begin setting up back-to-school displays in early July, while Target and JC Penney are waiting until later in the month. Amazon's got the best approach, however. A note on their landing page reads, "Shopping for back-to-school supplies already? We hate to tell you ... you're early."
· Back-to-School Shopping Season Starts Now [Gawker]
· Back-to-School Ad Campaigns Start Jarringly Early as Marketers Seek Tight Budgets [AdAge]
· So, What Are The Beloved School Supply Brands of Our Youth Up To Now? [Racked]