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Jansport plans to use Twitch, social media to connect with Gen Z ahead of the back-to-school season

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Backpack brand JanSport wants to get ahead of the back-to-school shopping season by marketing a few months early targeting Gen Z students with TikTok influencers. And for the first time ever, the brand has back-to-school marketing with Twitch influencers.

Early marketing for back-to-school is a tactic other brands have adopted, such as Shipt with a virtual back to school shopping experience in the metaverse with Roblox, to OshKosh B’gosh with YouTube and connected TV ads. In the wake of the pandemic, there was an increase in back-to-school spending. A record high of $37 billion is expected in back-to-school spending this year according to the National Retail Federation.

Jansport has focused on influencer marketing for this campaign and hired gamer and Twitch ambassador Krysta Eason, (username Krystalogy) who has more than 117,000 followers on the streaming platform. Details of the agreement was not disclosed.

JanSport is also working with Gen Z social media influencers like NYC thrift icon Emma Rogue, indie rock band DWLLRS and skater Eunice Chang to promote the backpack brand through their own TikTok accounts. The financial agreement between any of the parties was not disclosed.

In addition to Twitch and TikTok, JanSport will use YouTube Shorts to highlight real consumer iPhone videos, bringing its audience up close and personal with the brand through user generated content.

The videos are expected to show an authentic look at how backpacks are used in the wild, said Alex Reveles, JanSport’s vp of global brand management.

“The future of marketing will rely heavily on video content, and continues to move towards creating organic and authentic videos,” said Courtney Bagby Lupilin, CEO and founder of Little Red Management, a talent and influencer management firm. “In this case, using the iPhone was a touch of naturalism that will make the ad stand out amongst the competition.”

It is unclear how much JanSport is spending on its campaign, as the brand declined to share exact figures. According to MediaRadar, the brand spent $3 million so far on advertising in 2023.

For this campaign most its ad spend will go to TikTok because the target audience is younger and they spend more time on that platform than the others, said JanSport’s brand communications director Brandon Vance explained, without providing exact figures. As a result, he added it would be a mistake to spend “excessive” marketing dollars on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram while TikTok is still growing.

“We see our consumers age out and get a little bit older and we continue to target that younger consumer, which typically is a little bit more eager to adopt something new and and be on those platforms that are not necessarily mom and dad will be on,” Vance said. “So we have to make sure that we’re continuing to influence them and the spaces that they’re in.”

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