- Walmart is hosting a shoppable livestream concert to build excitement for the back-to-school season, per a press release.
- Musician Kane Brown will perform at a free livestreamed and in-person concert in his hometown of Oglethorpe, Georgia, on Sept. 7. Viewers tuning in from home can unlock special shoppable content and back-to-school deals. The livestream is part of a larger concert series this month called "Homecoming," in which Imagine Dragons and Chance the Rapper will each perform a free concert in their hometowns of Las Vegas and Chicago to celebrate teachers and their school communities.
- A TikTok challenge rounds out the effort, allowing participants to share why their favorite teachers deserve to be recognized. Together, the initiative is Walmart's latest to bolster its digital retail presence around back-to-school.
Walmart's shoppable livestream sees the retailer channeling its growing interest in e-commerce to promote the back-to-school season. A Kane Brown concert hosted by actors Noah Schnapp and Madison Bailey — held at Brown's alma mater in Georgia — will offer viewers watching through Walmart's live commerce site the chance to win prizes and deals, a move that could help to drive traffic to the retailer and position it as a one-stop shop for back-to-school. The virtual event will also be available through Walmart's YouTube and social media accounts, without prizes and shoppable content.
The livestream concert arrives as Walmart works to strengthen its digital retail presence. The company earlier this month appointed Publicis as its U.S. media agency of record, which could bring new brands to advertise on its online properties. Walmart Connect, its advertising business, grew 95% in sales year-over-year in the second quarter, including 6% in e-commerce, per the retailer's most recent earnings call.
In addition to the livestream event, Walmart is hosting two in-person concerts as part of a larger "Homecoming" series to celebrate teachers and schools as classes resume. By landing notable names like Imagine Dragons and Chance the Rapper and setting the concerts in the artists' hometowns, Walmart may appeal to more consumers than it could in a neutral city.
A TikTok challenge extends the effort to social media, letting participants submit posts via the hashtag #MyTeacherWins and share why their favorite teachers deserves to be recognized. To incentivize engagement, Walmart will select 100 teachers and award them a $5,000 gift card and school supplies, as well as award the nominators a supplies-filled backpack. The hashtag had 1.7 billion views as of press time.
Despite Walmart's effort to channel back-to-school excitement, the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 delta variant could thwart elements of the campaign. The in-person concerts may be disrupted given that artists and conferences are again beginning to cancel scheduled tours and events as COVID infections rise. The series closeout with Kane Brown's livestream event is likely to continue unaffected, suggesting why many brands are sticking with digital channels for their back-to-school campaigns this year.