Monthly Archives: September 2014

Apple Watch Finally Arrives


The wait is finally over! Apple has finally announced its highly anticipated smartwatch, joining current smartwatch vendors such as Pebble, Samsung, and Sony. The new product, named Apple Watch, includes health and fitness monitoring tools, along with many standard iPhone apps such as calendar, navigation, texting, and music. And don’t forget Siri – also available on the watch and eager to help you find movies, food, and answer questions. The smartwatch is, in essence, a mini computer that is strapped on a wrist and links to the wearer’s iPhone.

Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 and requires that the wearer use one of the recent iPhone models. The product will have a strong focus on health, including tracking statistics for exercise, movement, and heart rate. The watch is also stylish with six different types of straps including stainless steel and leather.

Pricing for Apple Watch will start at $350 and vary depending on the model. Overall though, sales of smartwatches have been lower than originally expected; 19 million smartwatches, low compared to 1.2 billion smartphones sales. Will this product increase the desire for smartwatches?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video:
  2. Bring up Apple’s Web site for additional product information:
  3. Poll students about their attitudes about smartwatches. Why do they think sales are so low?
  4. Discuss the potential market for smartwatches and define several target markets.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have team select a target market for Apple Watch.
  6. Develop a campaign that will address consumers’ concerns about smartwatches.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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Pay for Burgers using Cans!


In a nutshell: Hungry, but short on cash while in Stockholm, Sweden? Forgot your credit card? No problem – McDonald’s in Stockholm are using metal, in the form of cans, as a currency to pay for those burgers and fries.

The campaign used outdoor media to launch and placed billboards announcing that the Golden Arches would accept payment for food with “cards, cash and cans.” For 10 cans, a customer could buy a hamburger, 20 cans are needed for cheeseburgers, and for a mere 40 cans one could get a Big Mac.

Sounds like a great way to recycle and still satisfy a craving for fast food!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss payment options that retailers use.
  2. How can payment options be re-created to impact society? Use the white board to list ideas and encourage creativity.
  3. Next, explain the McDonald’s solution in Stockholm. What are the implications of the campaign?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each select a retail chain. Have each team develop a socially-responsible payment campaign for that retail chain.
  5. Debrief the exercise. What are the common elements used in the campaigns?

Source: Ad Age Daily, Creativity-online

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Social Media at its Best: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


In what is the best viral video of the year, the Ice Bucket Challenge has become a powerful fund-raiser for the U.S. national ALS Association. Combining social consciousness with the power of social media, the viral video sensation shows participants being dumped on with a bucket of icy cold water – who then challenge others to be dumped on or to contribute $100 to the ALS Association.

Most of the challenges result with both the ice water followed by generation donations. From July 29 to August 15, the national ALS has received $6.7 million compared with $34,800 during the same period a year ago! The challenge was created to a former Boston College athlete, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 1012. He started the challenge and it quickly turned into a phenomenon embraced in social media. Check out the “ice bucket challenge” on social media and see some of the unique approaches to the icy bath.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing the power of social media. Have students provide examples of positive social media, and even a few negative examples.
  2. Discuss the various elements that made these examples go viral. Can these be replicated?
  3. Show ice bucket challenge videos on YouTube.
  4. Poll students: how many had heard of ALS prior to the ice bucket challenge? After?
  5. What are the elements of this campaign that made it go viral?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a social issue, concern, disease, or public service area. Develop a potentially viral campaign for this given the aspects of viral campaigns previously discussed.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, other news sources

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