Monthly Archives: February 2014

Google Contact Lens to Combat Diabetes



Google is testing prototypes of a new, smart contact lens that will monitor the glucose levels of diabetes patients by using their tears. While the device looks like a regular contact lens, it uses a tiny glucose sensor with a wireless transmitter – and it is the smallest one ever made. It contains two glitter-specks packed with tens of thousands of miniaturized transistors and ringed with a hair-thin antenna.


The market for the future device is large; the International Diabetes Federation estimates that there are currently 382 million diabetics today, growing to 590 million by the year 2035. Diabetes affects nearly one in every 19 people in the world. Today, diabetics test their own blood glucose levels multiple times a day by using needles to prick their fingers. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause damage to the eyes, kidney, and heart.


The market size is estimated at $16 billion by the end of 2014. Google is currently testing the device, working with the FDA, and is looking for partners who are experts in bringing sophisticated health care devices to market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Show the video:
2. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies (e.g., market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification).
3. Which strategy is Google using for this product? Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the contact lens devices.
4. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.
5. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Google,, New York Times, other news sources, 1/17/14

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What’s in McNuggets?




People are often fairly picky about what they eat – both at home and in restaurants. We can control what is in our own home meals, but it’s a different story when it comes to foods prepared in a restaurant. Many consumers express concerns about “pink slime” in beef products prepared at restaurants and fast food chains, giving all-natural food chains such as Chipotle an edge in the healthy eating market. Consumers want transparency and answers to the question “What in the world is in this food?”


So, what does that question mean for fast food restaurants and suppliers? For McDonald’s, this was an opportunity to provide consumers with a look into exactly what makes up a Chicken McNugget. In several videos, a supply-chain manager for McDonald’s in London, Ontario, gives a tour of the McNuggets production and shows just how the tasty little treats are made. The product is comprised of pulverized chicken breasts, water, modified corn starch, salt, seasoning, and natural rosemary extract – no “pink slime” to be found anywhere!

This begs the question for other restaurants – “What’s in YOUR food?”

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss eating habits. Poll students: who has eaten fast food in the past two weeks? Eaten Chicken McNuggets?
2. Show the videos:
3. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
4. Divide students into teams. Use this information to develop a positioning map for McDonald’s. What are the axis labels? Why?
5. What products are competitors?
6. Have each team draw their map on the board.
7. Debrief exercise.

Source:, 2/6/14

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Super Bowl 2014 Advertising Extravaganza


With roughly millions of 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! (It was a pretty lop-sided game this year between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.) At a cost of $4 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. Ads from Cheerios, GoDaddy, Soda Stream, and Axe hit the nerves of some audience members. But with an audience of 111.5 million viewers the 48th Super Bowl game ranked ninth with a 69% of U.S. households with TVs tuned to the game. And days later, we are still watching ads and measuring results.

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 stars for the advertisements. Which ad won your class votes?

Source:  Ad Age Daily,, other news sources

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