I scream, you scream, we all scream for Mustard Ice Cream?

It is summer and we crave ice cream. Perhaps you are an ice cream addict. Perhaps you have tried virtually hundreds of flavors over the years. But, have you ever tried ‘mustard ice cream’? How have we lived without this flavor?

It’s not as strange as one might think. After all, there have been other crazy flavors of ice cream over the years: goat cheese ice cream, cilantro lime ice cream, curry and mint ice cream, sweet corn ice cream, lavender honey, and many more! And before you ask, yes, there is a ketchup-flavored ice cream which was created in honor of musician Ed Sheeran (who sports a ketchup tattoo), but it appears to only be available in Ireland.

The mustard ice cream was created by French’s and Coolhaus Ice Cream to celebrate National Mustard Day on August 3rd.  Unfortunately for all the mustard fans, the ice cream had a limited run of only a few days in New York and California locations. But, there is still good news – the recipe is available online for home chefs. The tart concoction is best served with a pretzel cookie to compliment the flavor.

Race you to the freezer!

P.S. Look at the fine print at the bottom of the container!

 

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss brand extension products (ex: Cheerios, Tide, etc.).
  2. What makes a brand extension successful? A failure?
  3. Divide students into team and have each team name five brand extensions.
  4. Show French’s Mustard Ice Cream site and video: https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/mustard-ice-cream
  5. What are the students’ response to the product?
  6. In teams, have each team develop an idea for another unusual food product that is based on popular flavors.
  7. Since the ice cream is not widely available, ask for a volunteer to make the ice cream – perhaps for extra credit? https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/recipes/dessert/no-churn-frenchs-yellow-mustard-ice-cream?utm_source=ice-cream&utm_medium=landing-page&utm_campaign=recipe-link

Source: Ad Week, CNN, USA Today, other news sources

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Is Privacy a thing of the Past?

Privacy. It is such a critical topic, yet it is also one that many consumers feel helpless about fixing. Who knows what we buy? What we want? Where we go? Well, as it turns out there a great number of companies, and government agencies, tracking us. And it is not limited to our purchasing behavior. There are a number of companies that can and do track the daily activities of employees also.

Everyone says they want privacy, but many people are unwilling or don’t know how to protect their online privacy. The issue is one that reaches beyond the individual and extends to the larger society. It encompasses devices including home security, smart phones, wearable devices, facial recognition, home speakers, smart TVs, automobiles, maps, social media, and more! And the crazy thing is that we often give permission to be tracked without realizing the implications to our privacy.

This is an issue that extends beyond consumer behavior and can also encompass how companies track employee behavior, beginning when we wake up and check our work email at home, and continuing monitoring activities throughout the day to track physical and online movement. Granted, some of the tracking is useful to protect against espionage and theft, but does it go too far?

Who’s watching who do what?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the issue of privacy in the Internet age. What are students’ concerns?
  2. There are several very compelling interactive graphics and videos that help illustrate this topic. Show these in class and have students take notes on each.
    1. It’s time to panic about privacy: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/opinion/internet-data-privacy.html?emc=edit_ct_20190411&nl=technology&nlid=6570397720190411&te=1
    2. Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he work up today: https://www.wsj.com/graphics/company-tracking-employees/?mod=djemfoe
    3. Microchips for employees video: https://youtu.be/eX1KNlI40V8
  3. Discussion: Is privacy important? What can be done to protect individuals?
  4. Consider assigning students to research this topic. A number of interesting reports can be found at various sources.

Source: Bentley, E. and Krouse, S. (19 July 2019). Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he woke up today. Wall Street Journal; Manjoo, J. (11 April 2019). It’s time to panic about privacy. New York Times.

 

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Naming a New Brand is Tricky!

How important is naming a new brand? It is absolutely critical – and also exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Marketers have to come up with a new name that represents the product’s value and attributes, AND be attractive to customers, AND it must not be taken by another company, AND is not too common a name, AND is not offensive to any population. Whew. No wonder so many companies use made-up words as brand names.

A recent case about the perils of naming a new brand was the ‘Kimono’ shapewear brand developed by celebrity icon Kim Kardashian West. Although the branding was rigorously researched, the ‘Kimono’ name was criticized globally as being offensive and profiting from a traditional clothing article that was a cultural symbol of Japanese heritage. The name had to go, along with the Kimono Web site, logo, labels, and more. More than two million garments will need to be relabeled so that no products are wasted.

The stakes are high for the new brand. The global women’s underwear industry is valued at approximately $83.3 billion and is still growing. It is also fragmented with new comers gaining market share at the expense of older more established brands. To her credit, Kardashian West listened to criticisms and has decided to change the name prior to releasing any product. (The new name has not yet been announced.)

What’s in a name? Everything!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their viewpoints on the Kimono name. Do they agree with the decision to change the name?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. For ‘Kimono’ put students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    3. Opportunities: What is going on in the marketplace that is positive?
    4. Threats: What factors should the company be wary of?
  4. Put students into teams. Have each team develop a new name for the Kimono brand.
  5. Post the names on the board and vote on a winner.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, other news sources

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