A Supersonic Hairdryer


Some of the most commonplace, everyday products are also some of the oldest and inefficient products in our households. After all, if it works, and it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. After all, designing a new product is tough – and expensive.

Take Dyson’s new Supersonic hairdryer as an example. Development took four years, 100+ patents, 600 prototypes, 103 engineers, 1,010 miles of human hair, and 7,000 acoustic tests before launching in the marketplace this month. In total, the company’s investment is estimated to be $72 million (including a state-of-the-art hair laboratory).

Is it really different? The product uses a high-speed 13-blade motor the size of a quarter, and the motor is located in the handle rather than the traditional placement in the barrel. The air temperature is monitored 20 times per second and regulated by a microprocessor to prevent extreme heat damage. Dyson claims that the Supersonic is 300% more powerful than those hair dryers currently on the market, and carries a price tag reflecting that improvement – $399.

As to the potential marketplace size – well, according to research firm Mintel, 92% of British women, 75.5% of U.S. women, 24.5% of U.S. men, 97% of Japanese women, and 30% of Japanese men dry their hair with dryers every day, often taking up to 20 minutes to style tresses.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show a video of the new product:


  1. Dyson’s Web site: http://www.dyson.com/
  2. Discuss the various types of innovation: continuous, dynamically continuous, and disruptive innovations.

Also discuss how the level of consumer learning impacts product adoption rates.

  1. Where does the Dyson hairdryer fit in these scales? Why?
  2. Divide students into team. Have teams define the barriers to product adoption. What can marketing do to overcome these barriers?

Source: New York Times, Brandchannel.com, other news sources


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