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:      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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Leave a Reply