A&W Canada: No more plastic straws

Look at the photo above. What do you notice about? Yes, it states that “Change is good.” That’s a good thing of course. But, notice what the entire sculpture is made out of – plastic straws! These are the last of A&W Canada’s stock of plastic straws. The Canadian chain has been moving to paper straws over the last few months, and to celebrate the transition, it used its last 140,000 plastic straws to make the 35-foot sculpture.

Last summer, A&W Food Services of Canada promised to reduce landfill by eliminating the plastic straws. It was the first quick-service restaurant chain in North America to make such a bold promise to improve the environment.  The company estimates that the change will keep 82 million plastic straws from littering the oceans and land.

The ban on the plastic straws is one part of the company’s environmental initiatives which include food sources, packaging, energy, water usage, and waste.

Indeed, change IS good.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of environmental concerns on companies.
  2. What are companies doing about these concerns?
  3. View A&W Canada’s Web site values section: https://web.aw.ca/en/our-values
  4. What does this move do for the company’s brand?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the environmental values of a competing fast-food restaurants (e.g., McDonalds’, Wendy’s, etc.)
  6. How does A&W’s commitment impact its positioning in the marketplace?

Source:  Griner, D. (11 January, 2019). A&W Canada used the last of its plastic straws to make a sculpture announcing the change. AdWeek.

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Cool Tech Products from the Consumer Electronics Show

Most students are unaware of it, but the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the United States for introducing innovative products from around the globe. This year, CES exhibited more than 4,500 companies, including manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, robotics, automotive, and more. The show is produced by the Consumer Technology Association which represents the $398 billion U.S. consumer technology industry.

This year, CES was held in Las Vegas, Nev., and hosted 182,000 attendees who viewed products in categories such as 3D printing, gaming, robotics, sports, drones, fitness, health and wellness, retailing, wearables, and a variety of other product groupings. CES regularly announces thousands of new products, including many that we all know and use, such as:

  • High Definition TV
  • Satellite Radio
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Blu-Ray DVD
  • OCED TV and 3D HDTV
  • Tablets, notebooks
  • Virtual reality

This year’s show provided a lot of great new products and technologies, including foldable phones, scooters, roll-able TV screens, flying cars, robots, and even an elevated walking car. While not all of the products at the event will make it into full production and into our homes and garages, they are nonetheless interesting to consider and think about.

What would you like to see at CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. View the CES Web site: https://www.ces.tech/
  3. Show a summary video about CES from the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/the-best-stuff-we-saw-at-ces-2019/E4A868A0-AEC6-4EFB-8A09-97E51993C57B.html
  4. Additional summary videos can be found on YouTube: https://youtu.be/mHreov2zl1U
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  6. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product.
  7. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace?

Source:  Pierce, D. & Bindley, K. (8 January 2019). The craziest and coolest technologies that might even matter. Wall Street Journal.

 

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YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2018

Starting a new year is a good time to examine the winning campaigns from last year. The most compelling advertisements and videos are ones that have a strong story, humor, inspiration, and excitement. They build a bond with the audience, and inspire thoughts and action. It’s not easy to create a short video that engages audiences and inspires them to share the video and view it more than once, so it is worth examining the top ad videos from 2018.

Here are the most viral brand videos posted to YouTube in 2018. Combined, these top five videos generated more than 172 million views last year!

  1. Amazon – Alexa Loses Her Voice (50+ million views)
  2. YouTube – Music (39+ million views)
  3. OPPO F7 (India)– Real Support Makes Real Hero (31+ million views)
  4. Nike – Dream Crazy (27+ million)
  5. Turkish Airlines – Safety Video with the LEGO Movie Characters (25+ million)

Remember, these are the ads that people choose to watch. An algorithm factors in organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention.

Which ads do you watch online?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding and brand management. How do the videos fit into branding?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze one of the following videos with respect to target market, key message, type of appeal, etc.
  3. All ads are available at: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/youtube-leaderboard-year-end-2018/
  4. When teams have completed this, have each team show the video and discuss their analysis with the rest of the class.
  5. What are the commonalities between the videos? What are the differences?
  6. What should other companies do to replicate the success?

Source:  Think with Google. YouTube ads leaderboard: Global year-end 2018.

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