Monthly Archives: February 2013

He Loves Me – He Loves My Pet, too!


On Valentine’s Day we spend a lot to shower our loved ones with gifts of love and passion. And by loved ones, it is not limited to our two-legged lovers – we also love our four-legged friends. People love their pets. I mean, they REALLY love their pets – and spend lots to show Fido and Kitty how much they are loved. How much you might ask? Check out these numbers for Valentine’s Day spending brought to us by the National Retail Federation, UPS, and American Express.

  • $4.4 billion on jewelry – diamonds, gold, and silver
  • $1.9 billion on flowers
  • $1.6 billion on candy
  • $1.5 billion on gift cards

On average, U.S. consumers spent roughly $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts, and more this year. The average woman spent $88.78, less than half of the $175.61 men spent on jewelry, flowers, and romantic dinners.

Wait – what about spending on our furry friends? There was an estimated $815 million spent on pets this Valentine’s Day. What did you buy your favorite furry friend?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students on Valentine’s Day spending? What did they buy and how much did they spend on their loved ones?
  2. Next, ask students how many have pets in their families? How many have pets where they live now?
  3. On average, how much do students spend on their pets?
  4. Have they ever bought a gift for their pet? What was it? How much did they spend?
  5. View Amazon’s pet store site:

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 2/14/13

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Track Shoppers by Mobile Phone Signal


How much do you think retailers know about your behavior? If you said “a lot” you are correct – but few shoppers know to what extent retailers know and gather data about them on every store visit. With new technology from retail-tracking start-up company Nomi, retailers will soon be able to track the amount of time shoppers spend in stores, the departments that are visited, and even the displays that cause shoppers to stop in their tracks and perhaps make a purchase.

Nomi uses technology that captures the shoppers’ mobile-device IDs as they enter store locations. The retailers’ WiFi network tracks the mobile phone signals to a 1-3 meter distance, then uses machine learning to calculate spatial relationships. The product can track several metrics of consumer shopping patterns, including: window conversion (% of customers who walk into store off the street), customer loyalty (% of customers who have been to store previously), visit duration (average amount of time in store), bounce and engagement rate (% of customers who leave immediately or stay for a while), visit frequency (how often customers enter store), and device type (type of phone customers are using).

Retailers are already testing Nomi’s product to test window displays and determine which display garners the higher window-conversion rate. Other retailers use the software to track how long it takes for customers’ orders to be filled.

There are possible privacy implications to the tracking software, even though Nomi stated that the unique device IDs it tracks are never tied to personally identifiable information. However, there is no notification given to consumers that their phones and movements are being tracked. This seems to contradict the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires that mobile application providers obtain parental consent when mobile apps are aimed at kids under the age of 13. Nomi counters that it is working on an opt-in system that will allow shoppers to identify themselves in return for getting coupons and deals from the retailer.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Nomi’s company information:
  2. Examine competing products from RetailNext ( Path Intelligence (
  3. How do these products assist retailers with understanding consumer behavior?
  4. In teams, have students identify stores that could most benefit from using this technology.
  5. How can the data be used in the short-term? In the long-term?
  6. Discuss in class the privacy implications of this tracking software.

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 2/11/2013

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Super Bowl 2013 Advertising Extravaganza


With roughly 108,000,000 viewers worldwide, the Super Bowl has become one of the premier venues for marketers. The thrills, the chills, the laughter, the tears – and that’s just the advertisements! At a cost of $3.8 million for 30 seconds of air time, the Super Bowl is also the most expensive advertising placement of any event or show. Add the costs of designing and producing ads, plus the integration into other marketing tactics, and a company can easily spend upwards of $5 million at a single event.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Super Bowl advertisements have become a talking point during and after the game. It’s a big stage, and can also be a big risk (consider the reactions to Go Daddy ads!). Several companies bought multiple units including Anheuser-Busch In Bev with 4:30 of air time, Audi at 60 seconds, Doritos with two 30 second spots, Go Daddy with two 30 second spots, and Coca-Cola (using an innovative social media outreach campaign) bought one minute in the first quarter, followed by 30 seconds later in the game.

Coke’s campaign launched on Facebook with a contest between three rival groups – showgirls, cowboys, and badlanders – racing through a desert scene in quest of a giant bottle of Coke. Fans could vote online as to the winners, and throw race challenges in front of the competing teams. Based on fan input, Coke then determined the final commercial late in the game showcasing the winning team.

Watch the ads – which company do you think did the best, and worst, job on their advertisements?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads. These can be found on,,,, and other sites.
  2. Divide students into teams of two. Have each team select a Super Bowl ad to analyze and present in class.
  3. What is the target market, key message, and offer from the ad?
  4. How does the ad integrate with a company’s other advertisements?
  5. Are the messages integrated with a company’s Web site and social media?
  6. As a class, after each commercial have students assign one to five starts for the advertisements. Which ad won your class votes?

Source:  Ad Age Daily,, other news sources, 2/5/13

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