Monthly Archives: June 2013

Direct Mail Campaign Combats Doggie Poop


We’ve heard it said that direct mail is not very effective. While it is true that a direct mail sent to the wrong person is just ‘junk mail’ there are other examples of extremely effective direct mail campaigns. By using direct mail, companies (and other organizations) make a direct one-to-one contact with a target market. When correctly targeted with the right message to the right audience, a direct marketing campaign can be a powerful tool.

Case in point: Combatting a rise of doggie poop in the town of Burnete, Spain, on the outskirts of Madrid. Doggie poop? Yes, you read this correctly. The town Burnete had seen an increase in unwanted dog mess. They had combatted it with clever, broad campaigns in the public such as motorized – and plasticized – dog poop (you have to see it), but after a while, the effectiveness decreased. What to do next? A direct mail campaign aimed right at the offending dog owners was developed by agency McCann Madrid.

With a limited budget to fight the growing mound of – well, you know what was growing – 20 volunteers patrolled the streets watching for offending dogs and owners. Politely asking the dog’s name, then matching the name with the town’s database, owners received hand-deliveries of special packages containing their pet’s poop. The end result was an estimated 70% reduction in the amount of doggie poop on the streets of Brunete.

Watch this creative campaign and consider how direct mail can be used to implement public service campaigns.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1.  Show the video:
  2. How does the direct marketing approach contrast with broader PSA campaigns?
  3. What was effective with this campaign?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a PSA type of campaign. (Ex: responsible drinking, smoking, seat belts, litter, etc.)
  5. Have each team develop a direct marketing campaign for their selected PSA.
  6. What are the key messages? Target market? Packaging for mail campaign?

Source:, 6/7/13

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Amazon – Every Company’s Competitor


Everyone freely acknowledges that Amazon has changed how global retailers operate. In a video from Jim Tompkins, CEO and president of supply chain company Tompkins International, he addresses how Amazon is every company’s biggest competitor. “Every company’s competitor” seems like a big claim, but when we examine the breadth of Amazon’s offerings, it makes sense.

Remember, Amazon not only sells its own products online, it also acts a broker for others to sell their products through its Amazon Marketplace, taking a percentage with each transaction.

The scope of the company continues to grow as it acquires companies in pet care, health and beauty, clothing, books, crafts, entertainment, and more. And, when it comes to loyalty programs, Amazon Prime membership is the largest program of its kind.

Keep your eye on Amazon!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the changing structure of retail with online competitors.
  2. Ask students which companies they view as the guerillas in retail.
  3. Have students examine Amazon’s Web site and the various companies that it runs:
  4. Show Tompkins’ video at
  5. What can companies do to compete with Amazon?

Source:  Manufacturing Business Technology


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Female Athletes Want More Than Pink


Women are a powerful and large market segment for sporting goods and sports apparel companies. Marketing to the female demographic requires companies to rethink their marketing mix – starting with the products. And don’t just color the products “pink” as that type of approach just irritates female shoppers! Female athletes are in search of products that are specifically developed to meet their unique needs for exercise.

Case in point: Oakley Corporation. In 2005 Oakley had a cursory approach to women and did primarily just color its products pink to appeal to female shoppers. Not any more. Today, the company says it has “improved its designs, placed more women in leadership roles, launched women-specific ad campaigns and started an education program dubbed ‘Female Speak’ in stores.”

Although the female segment comprises only 10% of Oakley’s overall sales, more than 65% of women in the U.S. say that exercise and fitness are important parts of their lifestyle. Fitness apparel and accessories is a $14 billion industry and is growing twice as fast as general fashion retail. If companies want a share of the growing market, then their products need to be designed specifically for female athletes – and NOT colored pink.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss the differences in marketing sports apparel and equipment to men and women.
2. Have students list what they believe are the top 10 factors for each gender when purchasing sports apparel.
3. Show the Oakley videos: Discuss the change in the campaign. What are the key messages? What was changed in the marketing mix relative to the products?
5. Bring up Oakley’s Web site for women: How does this compare to the company’s Web site for men?
7. Have students examine  female sports apparel from other companies such as Nike, Puma, Adidas, and others.
8. Finally, divide students into teams. Have each team develop a product and a marketing campaign for female athletes.

Source:, Ad Age Daily, 6/4/13

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