How Brands Aim to Advertise Over Spring Break

If you go to any popular spring break destination city such as Miami, FL, Panama City Beach, FL, or even Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you will probably encounter some sort of company trying to get you to purchase their products.


Companies for years have spent money and time targeting college students. In an article by The New York Times titled: “Marketers Follow the Flock to Spring Break,” it states: Marketing to students on spring break used to be simple: a company would set up a stand on the beach, hand out product samples and let the message spread itself. But now, spring break has become a stage for increasingly expensive and sophisticated advertising campaigns.” This is because companies are now moving to a more interactive advertising campaigns  to get students to hear about and use their products.


These campaigns include throwing parties, sponsors of popular events, and ensuring that their products are on every social media platform during spring break. Through the years, companies have learned that by associating good memories with their product, people are more likely to use their products.


For example, in the article, it mentioned how brands like Axe are now hosting parties where they are giving out popular products such as: hair shampoo, deodorant, and perfume. This allows college students to create a positive and inviting memory of their product so when they have a choice between Axe and something else, they are more apt to choose Axe.
Brands have targeted college students during spring break because of their popular demographic, and they will continue to because of how much retribution comes from making students aware of each and every one of their products.

images provided by: studentuniverse , frat music  , and wikipedia 

—  Stephanie Spencer

36 thoughts on “How Brands Aim to Advertise Over Spring Break

  1. Stephanie,

    I can definitely see where brands will take advantage of college students trying to have fun on spring break. Their is an expectation that college students have for themselves where they want to have an awesome spring break, full of fun trips and stories to remember for years to come. Brands can definitely take advantage of this expectation.

    Whereas I have not taken a big trip for spring break (I typically go and visit family or stay at the beach here in town), I can see where certain brands will take advantage of students already willing to spend big bucks on a great trip. For beer brands, specifically, they can take advantage of the fact that a lot of 21-year-old college students will want to party over the break. I have also heard of brands like Red Bull, who market themselves to college students a lot, taking advantage of this time of the year.

    I think it would be crazy for brands that can help “enhance” the spring break experience to not take advantage of marketing and selling to college students over spring break.


  2. Thanks for sharing-
    I found this article very interesting and even more relatable. I was just in Miami and Cozumel over spring break and noticed a heavy amount of advertising in the two locations. These marketing strategies are effective but unfortunately take away from the overall experience of visiting a new place, in my opinion.

  3. Stephanie,
    I found your post very interesting. I knew that companies usually hand out free samples to college students all the time, but never realized they did much more than that. I have seen events that target college students hosted by all sorts of different brands but I never made the connection. I think it’s a really smart marketing idea to have their brand be associated with that memory of their event. I agree, I would also be more likely to purchase a product from a certain brand that had hosted an event I attended and enjoyed.

  4. I really enjoyed this take on spring break. I haven’t gone to any of these places before on spring break but many of my friends have and I have always seen these types of promotional parties but didn’t know what they were. I appreciate the insight on what they are!

  5. This is blog is quite interesting. Now that I take a step back and take a closer look at the idea of specialized advertising for spring break, I see the wild advertising stunts pulled by different brands and brand ambassoders to help get the product to a certain demographic. I wonder how successful the advertising stunts are, I believe anyone could dump money into a party and show people a good time, but is the time and money really worth it? Does the product “stick”?

  6. Wow! This is really interesting! I always knew certain companies will throw events for college kids on spring break, but I never really thought about it. It is so true how I am more likely to buy a product because of the positive memories I have associated with it. Next time I go to Panama City Beach for spring break I will be more aware of just how these companies are advertising to spring breakers.

  7. When I went to LA this year for spring break, I was able to witness first hand all the brands that were appealing to us solely because we were there for spring break! For example, there was a pool party at our hotel sponsored by Heineken where they were giving out free beer merchandise.

  8. Before reading this BLOG I never really connected the idea of marketing and spring break. However, my eyes have now been opened, or more accurately fine tuned. The advertisements are there right in front of you to see. These companies have realized that through spring break they are able to strongly reach the niche market of college students. This time serves as prime real-estate to sell their product and they’re not afraid to take advantage of it.

  9. This blog post is very relevant since it is spring break season. I always thought it was interesting how companies market to large groups of intoxicated college students who may or may not remember their product. Not to mention students spend so much money on spring break, they seldom have enough money left to purchase anything else. However, I think it is also extremely smart since the spring breakers will associate the good times with that particular product and that will generate a lot of revenue for the company.

  10. I personally think free giveaways are a great way for brands to promote/advertise their product, specifically for college students. The word “free” is sure to grab someones attention. I think hosting parties are a unique way to get students to buy their product.

  11. Stephanie,

    I find it appalling what brands will do in order to market their product to the younger, rambunctious generation of spring breakers. But I do believe they miss one important detail — they’re using the flashy advertisements and “party scenes on the beach” strategy, and in doing so they are mistakingly marketing themselves to the stereotype that so many college students attempt to avoid becoming. Just as many of us would rather stay inside and entertain ourselves instead of getting dangerously intoxicated in an exotic location 🙂

    – Noah

  12. I think it’s crazy how much companies spend to help throw a party for spring breakers. I feel like the kids will remember their trip and probably the companies who sponsored it but not go out and buy the product just because of the party. They hand out free things that most kids end up loosing before the end of the week. It is smart a smart way to get your name out there by getting a snapchat filter or sponsoring an event, but I don’t think their sales would increase that much.

  13. I went to Miami for spring break this year and I was amazed by all of the commercialism that surrounded the crowds. The restaurants went out of their way to approach people on the streets to get customers, beer companies sponsored parties, and even mix taps were being thrown at people on every street corner. Even though it definitely drew me back a bit when we first arrived, it doesn’t surprise me that companies want to sell to spring breakers. It is one of their biggest opportunities to make a lot of money in a small amount of time. The companies are being more smart about how they advertise such as throwing parties for them to promote their product, like Axe or beer. I think it is definitely interesting to notice the change of the placements of advertisement throughout the years and how more or less effective it has become.

  14. When I think spring break I associate it with a party. Images like the ones above of bikini-clad college students with a drink in their hand are what comes to mind. When you see an event like the ones pictured above they undoubtedly are being sponsored by some brand. Sponsorships are really powerful and allow for maximum saturation into the minds of the attendees. I have been at festivals and concerts where free samples are given out and the brand name is plastered on everything. There really is truth to the effectiveness of making your brand visible and building brand loyalty with those exposed to it.

  15. Interesting blog post! I was in Miami over spring break and I encountered a lot of commercial. I feel like advertisers try to take advantage of every kind of holiday or event to sell their products.

  16. I never really thought about how much marketing goes in to things like spring break destinations. It definitely makes sense to give away free products in order to promote brands because what broke college kid doesn’t like free!

  17. I never thought of companies advertising for spring break but now that you’ve mentioned it, it makes a lot of sense! For Spring Break in highschool, I went to Myrtle beach with a few friends and had such great memories! I got “souvenirs” from the trips too, to help me remember what happened or why it was such a fun break.

  18. I enjoyed reading this post because I agree with 100% of it. If I was a campaign leader/manager, I would do the same thing as well and target college students. Because what college student doesn’t want to have a great time and unforgettable memories? It was stated above that these campaigns include “throwing parties, sponsors of popular events, and ensuring that their products are on every social media platform during spring break,” and I don’t know any better way to aim towards college students. It’s a fact, college students LOVE parties and LOVE social media.

  19. It’s actually very logical to point out that students are more likely to by a product associated with good memories, as soon as I read that statement I did the whole “oh yeah… that totally make sense” face. Not to mention, it’s a smart marketing technique to target college students, who are a huge demographic, especially in the era of millennials. Most of the students who range from 18-20 want the newest and most popular things. So of course if you throw a huge party at a famous beach with celebrities and alcohol who endorse your product, they are most likely going purchase it and become a loyal consumer.

  20. I had never really thought of the marketing brands do that go into spring break. The biggest take away for me is the idea that students out of spring break will associate the brands they see with the good memories with the brands they see and will be more likely to use their products down the line. I had initially only thought about brands just advertising and getting out there, but never really considered any reasoning behind it. I find it interesting at how it used to be easy to market over spring break but now it’s gotten harder and how big the spring break culture has grown.

  21. I think brands are smart for hosting parties and giving out free items to spring breakers. When people are having a good time they are going to often remember who sponsored that event, and the next time they go shopping they will spend there money on their product rather than one they might have used in the past.

  22. I personally experienced this type of marketing to college kids over my spring break last year, and I believe it is a very ingenious and effective way of making students aware of certain products. When I went to Daytona Beach, Florida last spring break, my friends and I found ourselves near a large stand where there was a DJ and plenty of young people around our age dancing to the music and having a great time. My friends and I wandered over, of course, to see what all the hype was about. Sure enough, it was a group advertising Banana Boat sunscreen, and they were handing out little tiny sunscreen samples and free waters/sodas midst playing fun beach music. It certainly had an effect on my friends and I, as we left the party scene saying things like “wow Banana Boat is cool for doing that,” and the positive memory with the brand of sunscreen from that day had us buying Banana Boat sunscreen for the remainder of our trip.

  23. I’ve never heard about his new “good time association” way of advertising but it makes complete sense. It should work much better than just handing something out at a booth. Like our involvement fair every year. Personally it didn’t have any effect on me, I just wanted the free sunglasses. Sure the company had its logo on them but I never read it, I didn’t care because i had no real reason to care. However, if there had been alcohol along with poor choices and lowered inhibitions that come with it, I’d be much more likely to have a favorable attitude towards anything really.

  24. I especially took note of this trend this year on my spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. There were companies advertising all over the city and the beach, and handing out free samples of their items!

  25. Before reading this article I have never thought Spring Break would be a good way of advertising. During spring break, all students are trying to do is have a good time while being safe. At the common spring break places mentioned in the article, sunscreen companies would be a great way to advertise. You could have tents handing out free sunscreen, tents with free water, and just things that students would need.

  26. I think this post is really interesting because I have never really thought about this, even though I have witnessed it countless times. I thought back to my spring break this year, and I remembered several different occasions when this marketing scheme was thrown at me while I was in Miami, Florida. Everyday on South Beach, there was planes flying with banners, boats with screens on them, and people just walking around advertising their brand. Even though there were thousands of college kids, I saw a lot families with young children; however, all of the advertisements going around were primarily aimed towards college students. I noticed one advertisement that was promoted on a plane banner throughout the entire week. Being said, Trojan condom advertisements are not typically aimed towards families with younger children. Trojan company knew college spring breakers were coming to town, they most likely had a sales increase from their advertisements during that week!

  27. Stephanie,

    I found your article very interesting! In Italy, where I come from, there’s no such thing as spring break, so I experienced my first spring break this semester and I went to Miami and Cancun. While I was there I was too overwhelmed to realise how much I was surrounded by advertisements. Now, thinking about it and looking back at my pictures, I definitely notice that and, I have to say, It is a really effective marketing strategy! Everyone has the time of their life during spring break, and now that I discovered that “good time association” is a thing I totally get why companies do that!


  28. This is such a good way to advertise because college students are way more likely to spend money and think about spending money on spring break. College students spend all their time complaining about how they have no money but it’s usually because they are saving money for their extravagant spring break trips.

  29. Very interesting that you mention this, because i encounter a lot of this during spring break. I actually went on a cruise leaving out of Miami, Florida and went to the British Virgin islands and the Bahamas. While we explored each location there were always people trying to get you to buy something whether it was from a popular item that was new these days, all the way to hand made objects. It was almost so miserable that it took away the excitement of the experience.

  30. I enjoyed learning a little bit more about marketing and spring break. I can see that the advertising had to change to suit the new generations. Even in Wilmington you can notice that companies had to change from their old advertising campaigns. There are parties and events just to get students to come and sign leases. I highly doubt companies were throwing parties for students 20 years ago.

  31. I never been anywhere like that for spring break or experience parties like that either. However, I have been to beach blast where sponsors will give us free giveaways if we followed one of their social media apps. Personally, I never liked that so much because of how long the lines are. Parties though sound a lot more interesting because the party is somewhat the free giveaway.
    If you can sneak in I guess.

  32. I think that there are pros and there are cons about advertising at popular spring break destinations. In a way I feel that these advertisers are taking advantage of students because almost all of them are drunk when they are introduced to them. But in a way it is good because advertisers do not worry about these kinds of things because there main goal is to get people to buy their things.

  33. There are pros and cons for advertisers using spring break as a marketing tool. It makes your brand seem like you are marketing to a bunch of drunk college students, which is a useful tool. The big con in that type of marketing, is that people will look down on your brand.

  34. When I was reading this, I instantly thought of Bud Light, and their advertisements on “where there’s Bud Light, there’s a party.” Spring break is a huge drinking culture, and Bud Light is a part of that drinking culture. Seeing a commercial like that can make you excited about your soon to be spring break, and then once you’re there, what do you do? You order a Bud Light!

  35. As a student who went to Panama City beach last year, and Okeechobee music festival for this years spring break, I have personally seen thousands of products be marketed to me while on these trips. Products ranging from different brands of alcohol, to different brands of condoms, are posted from wall to wall. Even the stages that big-name artists perform on advertise some product, with their logo posted bigger than the actual artist’s. This form of marketing definitely works though, as these drunk college students tend to buy anything that you tell them will get them a little drunker or make sex a little bit better, and just place right under their nose.

  36. I enjoyed this portrayal of spring break. I haven’t noticed the way brands advertise party themes until reading this post!

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