Monthly Archives: March 2015

Done Drinking Coffee? Eat the Cup.


Look around – how many discarded coffee containers do you see? Plenty, we bet. And this is a wide-spread problem acknowledged by coffee and food vendors. Many coffee shops encourage customers to bring reusable cups and mugs for refills, and often provide a discount for this practice. But despite best intentions, it can be easy to forget the refillable mug, or just not have it available at the moment caffeine is craved. Is there another solution?

The answer by Kentucky Fried Chicken is “yes.” KFC is launching edible coffee cups later this year in the United Kingdom. The cups (called Scoff-ee Cups) are not made with traditional paper, but are instead crafted out of a cookie. Yum. The Scoff-ee Cup is made of cookie, wrapped in edible sugar paper, and includes a layer of heat-resistant white chocolate that is not only delicious, but keeps the coffee hot, the cookie crisp, and makes the coffee a little bit sweeter to imbibe. This is not the only edible cup product, but it is the first to be distributed in fast food restaurants.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss sustainability issues in products and marketing. What are some examples of sustainability in packaging? Non-sustainability (Hint: Think Keurig)?
  2. Show the video of Scoff-ee Cup:

  1. Poll students: How many would use this or similar products?
  2. Identify products or packaging that are damaging the environment due to lack of sustainability.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team brainstorm how products/packages could be improved to promote sustainability.
  4. What is the target market for such products?

Source: CNET, USA Today, Minneapolis Star Tribune, other news sources

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Too Much Trash from Coffee Pods


Americans love coffee, and love easy-to-use products, too. Combine coffee with easy-to-use packaging and it is estimated that one in three U.S. households currently has a pod-based coffee machine such as Keurig, Tassimo, Nespresso, or other models. That means a lot of coffee pods are bought, and they all need to be discarded. Although companies claim the pods are recyclable, they do not appear to be so. Most pods are manufactured from number 7 plastic, include aluminum in the packaging, and are quite small – meaning the pods are not easily recycled.

With sustainability in products and packaging becoming a more compelling topic in marketing, what should companies do? The K-cup inventor, John Sylvan, originally intended the product for use in offices. He left the company in 1997 and now estimates that the single-cup brewing products product 10 times more solid waste than a cup of coffee made in a more conventional drip machine. Sylvan has gone as far as stating that “I wouldn’t do it now…. The world has changed in 15 years.”

Consumers and advocacy groups are calling for solutions to the problem. Even the pod-manufacturers realize that an environmentally-sound approach is needed, vowing to make the pods recyclable by 2020.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the difference between legal issues and ethical issues.
  2. Poll students: How many have a Keurig or other pod-type of coffee maker? How do they dispose of the waste?
  3. Go to the Web site for “Kill the K-Cup”:
  4. View the mockumentary about pod invasion on the site.
  5. Also, view CBS video about how green the coffee pods are:

  1. Discuss ethical considerations for non-sustainable packaging.

Source:, CBS News, East Bay Express, other news sources

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Viral Videos for March 2015


Every week Advertising Age, in conjunction with company Visible Measures, publishes a list of the week’s top performing videos. The weekly chart highlights viral video ads that appear on online video sites. Each ad measures viewership of brand-syndicated video clips as well as social video placements that are driven by viewers around the world. True Reach™ quantifies the total audience that has been exposed to a viral video campaign. There are three key factors for viral video success:

  1. Reaching the tastemakers.
  2. Building a community of participation.
  3. Creating unexpectedness in the video.

Regardless of the type of product or service, the country of origin, or the importance of the message, what matters is reaching the audience in a way the both entertains and informs.

Check out this week’s top videos and discuss what makes them “go viral.”

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Ad Age’s weekly Viral Video chart:
  2. Have students examine how the ads are measured by Visible Measures.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an ad on the top video chart and analyze the ad.
  4. What is unusual?
  5. Who will it interest?
  6. What is the key message?
  7. How effective is the ad at getting the company’s brand and message across to viewers?
  8. In teams, have students design a viral video for a product of their choosing. What are the elements that are needed to go viral?

Source: Advertising Age, Visible Measures – weekly update

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