Monthly Archives: September 2012

Women and the NFL

It is football season in the U.S. – each week brings us games and stats and each week the teams and their results get discussed in depth. But is football a game that appeals equally to the different genders? Nope – and it’s not even close. While athleticism might appeal to both genders, the genders view the game experience quite differently.

Enter the National Football League’s new campaign called “It’s My Team.” The target market for the new campaign is women; to be more exact, the estimated 85 million female football fans (more than 45% of the NFL fan base).  According to the NFL, female fans look at the whole stadium experience, not just the game itself. For teams that want to gain more female fans who actively proclaim their team alliance, they need to consider the team’s logo-apparel as well.

The new female-oriented campaign shows famous women as spokespeople for their teams, including Serena Williams for the Miami Dolphins and Condoleezza Rice for the Cleveland Browns. Advertisements for the female-oriented apparel are now appearing not just in Sports Illustrated magazine, but also in Seventeen, Vogue, and Women’s Health magazines as well.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1.  Start with a poll of students. Ask questions about football: how many are fans, how many games do they watch, what are favorite teams, how much money do they spend on football, what are viewing habits, what are the social habits of game day, etc.?
  2. Compare the answers by gender: women’s habits vs. men’s habits. In particular, see how the spending habits of men differ from the spending habits of women.
  3. What are the differences? Why are there differences?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine and analyze the messages and products that are on the NFL Web site: www.nfl.com.
  5. Have student teams develop a plan to increase female interest and participation in the NFL. Consider factors such as viewing habits, stadiums, partnerships, merchandise, etc.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, 8/16/12, Associated Press, other news sources

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Breakfast at Taco Bell

This one is guaranteed to have students to pay attention! Just tell them that Taco Bell will soon be serving breakfast and see how they perk up. (This is a promise – ask students who would go to TB for breakfast and you’ll see an immediate show of hands.)

Taco Bell has long been thought of for the “fourth meal” or last one of the day for college students heading home after a late night out with their friends. Now, the company wants to be your “first meal” as well and enter the highly competitive breakfast market.

Taco Bell has been working on the move for some time now. After nearly five years of testing, the company has finally launched the new menu this year in roughly 800 restaurants. With 11 items in the breakfast line (called “First Meal”), the offerings include not only traditional morning foods such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, tortilla and hash browns, but also features new additions such as iced coffees and miniature cinnamon buns. But the real winner might just be a new drink called “Mtn. Dew A.M.” – a combination of Mountain Dew and Tropicana Orange Juice mixed up in the restaurants! With prices from 99 cents to $2.79, the new menu is bound to be a hit with the college crowd.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their love of Taco Bell and ask who would go to TB for breakfast. Why?
  2. Have students bring up the Taco Bell Website and examine the products and menus offered by the company.
  3. What is Taco Bell’s target market? How does the company appeal to this target?
  4. Discuss the role that market research plays in determining how a company expand their product offerings. List on the board the types of research companies need to do – customer profile, geography, food choices, pricing, competition, product selection, etc.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team outline a marketing research project that they would do if they were Taco Bell considering a new breakfast menu.
  6. Next, have each team select another company whose products they buy.
  7. Have each team design a similar research project for another company. Have each team define a research objective, research strategy, population, sample, and data gathering plan.
  8. Debrief the projects by comparing the research plans.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Biz Journal, and other news sources, 9/6/12

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Innovation Zaps Bugs!

Use the word “stealth”  in conjunction with a product and a first guess might be the U.S. Stealth Bomber planes. Quiet, sneaky, hidden from obvious sight, and capable of striking at foes. While Ecolab’s new “stealthy” product is not quite in the same category as military defense, it does have sneaky connotations as it quietly kills flies by the thousands in restaurants across the nation.

Lest we think this is just a small issue (after all, it’s just a little fly), consider the wider implications for business. The pest-control industry is worth roughly $329 million per year. And flies, as well as being annoying, can carry more than 1.9 million bacteria, accounting for illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli. Even small numbers of flies can contaminate food and risk illnesses to restaurant staffs and customers. To a restaurant, a fly represents serious food safety issues.

Ecolab’s new product – the STEALTH Fly Station – looks like a common flat-screen TV. The black screen attracts flies with odor and color, and then kills them using a surface-based pesticide.  The device can be placed near common fly areas, such as dumpster corrals, to discreetly keep flies from interrupting daily operations. The product also helps reduce pesticide use, resulting in a lower impact and more sustainable approach for the environment.

The product has won accolades including the 2012 Kitchen Innovation Award from the National Restaurant Association. Watch the video and see how it works in action.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1.      Show the product video to students: http://youtu.be/rATU3Rn6O5Y2.      Divide the students into teams and have them determine the following: target market and marketing mix (4Ps).
3.      Have teams determine that marketing strategy that Ecolab is using for this new product (market penetration, market development, product development, or diversification).
4.      Have teams discuss and list the environmental scanning process that could be used to determine the success of the product.
5.      What types of research would be needed to develop and market this product?
6.      Information on the Ecolab products for pest control can be found at http://www.ecolab.com/solutions/pest-elimination/large-fly

Source:  Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, other news sources, 7/30/12

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