As college students prepare to return to class, Textbooks.-com and other online services are vying for their business with ad campaigns and on-campus promotions.
More than 250 representatives of marketing firm Student Advantage here will hit colleges to hand out mugs, T-shirts and other giveaways imprinted with the retailer’s Web ad-dress and tag, “College just got easier.”
That tag also will appear in $8-10 million worth of print, outdoor, Internet and radio ads created by’s agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York.
Ads for the New York-based client, a unit of Barnes & Noble, will continue through the first few weeks of fall classes and be reprised for the new semester in January, when the second round of book buying begins., whose site went live July 2, has launched a $23 million push via DeVito/Verdi, New York. The campaign, now airing in Boston and elsewhere, includes a TV spot featuring a desperate young man on the phone demanding a ransom from the parents of a college student. The “kidnapper” is revealed to be the student himself, unable to afford books.
Another ad for Lexington, Ky.-based shows a destitute student frying his goldfish for dinner. The effort promises that the site provides “textbooks and stuff” at low prices and with less hassle than college bookstores., a unit of Follett Corp. in River Grove, Ill., just broke its own $10 million multimedia campaign, created by Tom Reilly Advertising in Evanston, Ill. Other online competitors include independent sites and