Monthly Archives: October 2012

Whispering Windows Get Attention

Question: When is a whisper louder than a shout?

Answer: When the whisper is as large a store’s display window!

Music has long been known of as an attractant (or sometimes a deterrent) to engage consumers in shopping. Consider the music heard by shoppers in malls, on street corners, and even the infamous ‘elevator music’ heard during a busy day. All the sounds and music that consumers hear is designed to get their attention. But, often the music is place in the background for shopping activity where it can be ignored. And on displays, small speakers playing music have limited reach and impact. Stores put a lot of effort and money in their displays and windows, but the investment is wasted if people walk past without a second glance.

The product from FeONIC was originally developed for sonar devices by the U.S. Navy. It changes shape in a magnetic field and the force makes structures actually vibrate, producing sound that gets attention. The device can be used with glass windows and other display surfaces. The company claims that independent research has shown that use of the Whispering Windows can increase sales by up to 50%, getting attention and driving customers into the stores. After testing the technology at its flagship store in Rome, Gap plans to use Whispering Windows in conjunction with its new “Denim Moves You” campaign – converting windows into a speaker that projects the sound from a new video.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Show the Gap video that will be used at the company’s flagship stores:

2. Next, show the videos explaining FeONIC’s whispering windows technology. There are three videos showing the application, the technology, and live demonstrations:

3. Divide students into groups: What are applications of the technology for stores and displays? What products and stores would benefit from using this in their displays?

4. How could this technology be combined with other experiential marketing approaches?

Source:, 10/10/12

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Born to Be Wild, But Willing to Ride a Trike


Baby Boomers really don’t want to grow up. Really, they don’t. Despite gray hair, receding hairlines, aching joints, and other physical limitations, Boomers still seem themselves as free spirits riding their motorcycles into the sunset. However, despite their vision of themselves, physical issues are forcing changes in their habits. Among these changes, adding an extra wheel to their beloved rides.

Known as ‘trikes’, the three-wheeled motorcycles are safer and steadier machines to ride, and the market has expanded to accommodate the Boomers changing size, shape, and wallets. Prices for the trikes can be close to what it costs to buy a luxury sedan – a new Harley Davidson trike starts at than $30,999. Add-ons and extra options make the rides smoother, easier to travel (Boomers like their stuff, and like to take it with them), and gives female riders new options to ride on their own as well.

Born to be wild. Maybe. But the times they are a changing.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group list 20 factors that are involved in this new product (environmental scan).
  2. Have the teams group the factors into 5 categories: Social, economic, technological, competitive, regulatory forces.
  3. Have teams research three-wheeled trikes on the Web. Ex:
  4. Have students outline the buying process used for buying trikes, including problem definition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  5. Finally, have students develop a marketing campaign for the trikes.

Source:  New York Times, 9/14/12

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The Greatest Sponsorship Ever! Red Bull Stratos and Felix Baumgartner Leap into History


Wow – like many people in the world, I was glued to the monitor watching Red Bull’s Stratos project as Felix Baumgartner took a record-breaking jump from more than 24 miles above the Earth! Sponsorships and events have been taken to a new high (no pun intended)!

On October 14, Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver and daredevil, made history’s highest and fastest jump. After ascending to more than 128,000 feet in capsule tethered to a helium balloon, Baumgartner jumped and became the first human to break the sound barrier as he fell at a rate of 833 miles per hour and had a free-fall of more than 4 minutes! I’ve watched the video a dozen times, each time with my mouth falling open in admiration and disbelief at the feat.

The event was sponsored and funded by Red Bull – a company known for pushing the envelope of crazy and risky sports. The company doesn’t consider this a stunt though, preferring to characterize the program as a professional flight test program. Red Bull spent more than five years on the project with an expert staff of scientists, engineers, and physicians – many of whom had experience with NASA programs. The cost to Red Bull has not been disclosed, but estimates on the return to the company in regards to visibility, branding, and goodwill tops $8 billion.

If you haven’t viewed the video yet, you watch it now. By the way, the view estimates on YouTube and the Red Bull site exceeded 50 million in the first 48-hours, setting another new record for viral videos.

Once again, wow. Well done to Mr. Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss with students the value of sponsorships. Why do companies sponsor events – oftentimes events that seem to have little to do with the products? What do companies gain? What do they risk?

2. Show the video clip of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump:

3. As time permits, show additional videos:

4. Divide students into teams: Have them discuss how this fits into Red Bull’s branding and messages. Describe Red Bull’s target market.

5. Have teams choose a company and develop an outrageous sponsorship or stunt. What would the goal be? How does the stunt tie into the company’s brand?

Source:  New York Times, Ad Age Daily,, various news agencies, 10/14/12

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