Monthly Archives: July 2012

Mission Possible: Running across France

Launching a new product is tough. Now imagine what is required to re-launch a product. How do marketers get the attention of the target market for an existing product when there is so much clutter in the advertising arena for athletic shoes?


In this creative campaign from Adidas to re-launch Climacool shoes, every time a young person in France tried on a pair of the shoes, they had a chance for an adventure of a lifetime running in the Climacool shoes! The runner would be kidnapped (by realistic looking scary men!) and then assigned a secret mission by world judo champ Teddy Riner. With only one-hour to solve the mission, the runner took-off across the city to solve clues and find the goal.

The runners were directed by Riner via an earpiece, and had to complete tasks which included dressing as a mascot, finding envelopes, distracting security guards, and delivering pizza via a parachute jump! At the final destination, the runner was greeted by French celebrities.

The results: a campaign widely covered by influential French blogs and a 500% increase in the shoes tried on by prospective buyers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video to students:
  2. Divide students into teams: Have each team break down the 4 Ps for this product.
  3. What is the target market for this product?
  4. Would this promotional campaign work in other countries? Discuss why or why not.
  5. Are there other examples of similar promotions with athletic apparel?
  6. Teams: Have students choose a product, then develop a storyboard using this approach.
  7. Have teams present their storyboards and discuss.

Source:  Ad Age Daily,, 6/14/12

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Perception is not reality


Do consumers (really, all of us) know what’s best for us? Maybe we do, maybe we don’t. Even if we think know what is best, how do our perceptions affect our actions? Let’s consider this in the light of New York’s new ban on over-sized, sugary soft drinks (larger than 16-ounces). Will consumers buy two 16-oz. drinks to meet their sugar intake needs, instead of one 32-oz. drink? Can we even tell the difference?

A Harvard Business School scholar recently tested the idea that consumers know what is best for them. In a test with 294 people, each was asked to estimate how much liquid was in a range of cup sizes, starting at 12 oz. up to 50 oz. Respondents consistently guessed wrong by assuming that larger cups held 20-40% LESS liquid than the cup actually did hold. Similar studies with jelly beans, popcorn, ice cream, and drinks have shown similar results – consumers cannot perceive serving sizes accurately.

According to The Cornell Food and Brand Lab, studies have shown that people dramatically underestimate just how many food-related decisions they make every day. On average, we make roughly 221 decisions about food every single day. These decisions are also significantly impacted by the environment – everything from ads, package sizes, plate sizes, and more impact our food and shopping choices.

Some of the findings from the Cornell Lab include:

  • Spoon size can alter your perception of medicine consumption.
  • People unknowingly serve themselves more when they use a larger plate.
  • Heavier people exhibit different eating and sitting habits at a Chinese buffet.
  • People frequently over-consume foods labeled as “low fat.”
  • Children who use cash to pay for lunch often make healthier choices.

The human brain has a difficult time with geometry and cannot often accurately judge when an object has doubled, or even tripled, in size. When we double the size of something, it rarely looks twice as big – it seems only 50-70% larger.

Do you still want that 50-oz. soda?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students to write their estimate on how many decisions they make about food every day. Include “how many, who, what, where, when, and how much” decisions they made for a typical snack, beverage, and meal – and how many meals, snacks, and beverages they ate during a typical date.
  2. Tally the numbers on the board. Discuss results – what were the surprises?
  3. Next, ask students how well they can judge serving sizes.
  4. Then, have students take the serving size quiz at .
  5. Discuss the results of the quiz. What can these results indicate for marketing products?
  6. Discuss other packaging options. Example: snack sized (100 calories) packages for cookies, chips, crackers, etc. Why do companies have these various packaging sizes?
  7. Since consumers are not good judges of sizes (given the quiz results above), do companies use this psychology to the its advantage? What are the responsibilities of companies in this matter?
  8. Have students review the Cornell Food and Brand Web site:
  9. What data could be used in marketing of food, drink, and restaurants?

Source:  New York Times, 6/21/12

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A Moveable Feast for the summertime

In the summer, there is no sweeter sound than the jingle of the ice cream truck! This is the food truck we are most used to seeing in our neighborhoods, but it is far from the only option for providing moveable feasts via truck. Consumers across the U.S. are coming into more contact with food trucks than ever before.

Not only are food trucks growing across the U.S., they are also starting to span the globe by taking American-type of fast dining and combining it with local cuisines. One of the recent expansions is even in a city famed for its high-end gastronomy – Paris. Among the offerings from the mobile restaurants are food trucks which sell tacos stuffed with organic meat, a burger truck, fries, burritos, coffees, and more. Food trucks are also taking to the streets in London where the vendors offer affordable eating made from fresh local ingredients.

While street food is hardly a new concept, the improved ingredients – combined with the reach of social media to let customers know where you are – is taking the food trucks down a new road.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by showing a video from the New York Times:
  2. Next, have students discuss about food trucks as a business. What are the positive and negative points about this business model?
  3. Ask students what food trucks they have seen? Where and when?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team research food trucks – they are numerous companies that can found on the Internet. Some of the sites that can be used are:
  1. For each company, have the teams analyze the marketing mix: target market, products, price, promotion, location, etc.
  2. What are considerations for companies to open a food truck network?
  3. Assign one team the task of analyzing the overall food truck industry. ( is a useful site for industry analysis.)

Source:  New York Times, 5/4/12,, 6/7/12, other news sources

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