The Big Blue Bag

If you have ever been to IKEA – or even seen a catalog – you are probably familiar with the iconic FRAKTA bag. It’s big, sturdy, easy to clean, lightweight, inexpensive, with handles, and is blue. It lasts a long time, stores in small spaces, and has virtually unlimited uses. And to top it all off – it only costs $0.99!

A few months ago though, high-end fashion house Balenciaga started selling another big blue bag that looks suspiciously like FRAKTA. But, that bag is priced at a whopping $2,145! As often happens in situations like this, people went crazy with hacks to show how to turn the blue bag into other items. Some of the creative ideas included shoes, hats, face masks, baby bibs, capes, blankets, wallets, and more.

IKEA then took the idea and ran with it by improving the FRAKTA bag with patterns printed on the bag and instructions on how to repurpose it (no tools included). In fact, the company even has additional uses posted on its Web site.

Since it would be crazy to cut up a thousand dollar bag, Balenciaga’s bag is not very likely to have multiple uses, thus leaving IKEA free to innovate on a common product.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding for companies and products.
  2. What happened when Balenciaga came out with its shopping bag? How does this affect both brands?
  3. Show the videos about the bag from IKEA:

  1. Also show the Web site:
  2. Bring several of the blue bags (the cheap one) to class. Divide students into teams and have each team create a new use for the bag/material.
  3. Are there other common inexpensive products that could be repurposed?

Source:  Mashable,, other news sources   

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World’s First Nutella Café

Fans of the hazelnut spread Nutella are very happy right now – at least they are if they live in or are visiting Chicago. While the company has often had pop-up stores in locations, it now has its first permanent café located on Michigan Avenue opposite Millennium Park in Chicago. This is the first restaurant that is owned and operated by the company, but it surely will not be its last.

Customers enter the store through a Nutella jar-shaped door, with light fixtures shaped like hazelnut flowers, and waves on the ceiling.  The new café has a specialty menu of food items that demonstrate the ways in which the beloved spread can be used. Picture (and smell) warm grilled baguettes with Nutella, roasted hazelnut and blueberry granola with yogurt, along with other dishes including salads, Paninis, and more.

The company view the new café as both a revenue stream as well as a prominent advertisement for the many qualities of Nutella spread. While other cafes are being considered in various locations, none have been formally announced.

Are you hungry yet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss favorite foods. Any Nutella lovers in the room?
  2. Discuss how food companies are expanding their reach in various ways (ex: pop-up cafes, Wienermobile, etc.)
  3. Show the Nutella Web site:
  4. Show the Nutella Café Facebook page:
  5. Ask students their opinion of the new café. How does this fit into an integrated marketing campaign.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a favorite food and come up with a similar way in which marketing could be expanded into consumer experiences.



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NBA Uniforms Take Sponsors

People love sports. We watch sports on TV, listen on the radio, read about victories and defeats in the news, and emulate those athletes who represent our ideals. We buy tennis racquets used by Serena Williams, golf clubs hit by Tiger Woods, and basketball gear worn by LeBron James. Sports and athletes are a common component in many companies’ marketing campaigns.

Thus, it seems only natural that the NBA, one of the largest sports franchises, is now going to allow companies to sponsor teams and have their logos emblazoned on team jerseys. Starting next season, new logo patches will be added to jerseys, with brands paying premium price for the NBA exposure.

So far, only six teams have signed sponsors:

  • Philadelphia 76ers have a three-year deal worth $5 million per year with StubHub.
  • Sacramento Kings signed with Blue Diamond Growers for a $5 million per year, three-year trial run.
  • Boston Celtics have an $8 million per year, three-year agreement with GE.
  • Brooklyn Nets also have a deal worth $8 million/year for three years with Infor.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers have a multi-year sponsorship with Goodyear that includes a $1 million donation to Cleveland and Akron public schools.
  • Utah Jazz has a $4 million sponsorship deal with Qualtrics, but will not use the company logo. Instead, it will use a logo for “5 For The Fight” campaign promoting cancer research.

Which companies do you want to see on your home team jerseys?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of branding and sponsorship of sports.
  2. Ask the students their opinions about the NBA jersey branding.
  3. Show the video of Goodyear sponsoring the Cavaliers:

  1. Divide students into team. Have each team select a company and brand to represent. Using company information about values and mission, have each student team select a sports team to sponsor.
  2. Explain how the company and team fit.
  3. Set metrics to measure the effectiveness of the sponsorship.

Source: Forbes,  

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