Monthly Archives: August 2016

Hanging Out in Hammocks


Aww, sweet summer days, just lounging in a hammock with a book and a glass of lemonade. It doesn’t get much better than that. And lest you think that hammocks are just for grandma and grandpa, there has been a strong resurgence among Millennial shoppers for the 1,000+ year old product.

Sales of hammocks have increased 30% compared with the previous year, growing to sales of more than $53 million. Even Amazon has gotten into the action, including a discounted hammock n its Prime Day sale in July and selling out 24,000 units. Other retailers are in on the action too, including L.L Bean, Moosejaw, and Wayfair.

Why hammocks for Millennials? This is a product that is relatively inexpensive, can be shared with friends, and a way of hanging out on campus with friends, or in a forest with nature, or just in your own backyard. If camping, try out the tent-hammock hybrid.

Want to hang out?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the different stages of the product life cycle. What stage are hammocks?
2. Show some of the hammocks online: L.L. Bean –; REI –
3. Divide students into teams. Have each team find develop a marketing mix for selling hammocks to college students.
4. What are the key factors?
5. What are the issues and concerns?

Source: Ad Age Daily

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Viral Videos for August 2016


It is always interesting to see which videos make it to the top of the viral chart. This week’s chart seems to have several themes about women, athletes, and achievement. With, of course, a little humor mixed in. In #4, a prank by beverage company Smith & Forge reminds viewers that appearances can be deceiving, portraying competitive athlete Kenneth Leverich as an old man who takes on the younger athletes at California’s Muscle Beach (Uncle Drew style). And, in #5 – Hart Serena – Nike adds a little levity to tough workouts.

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. It might be YouTube, and more often now, it’s on Facebook and other social media. Check out this week’s top videos and discuss what makes them “go viral.”

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

Bring up Ad Age’s weekly Viral Video chart:

  1. How effective is each video at getting the company’s brand and message across to viewers?
  2. 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

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Texting and Driving – NO!


We hear it every day – don’t text while you drive. Yet, a billboard in Toronto, Ontario seemed to encourage people to text AND drive. What??

The message on the billboard reads “Text and Drive” with the name “Wathan Funeral Home” at the bottom of the sign. That’s rough – but it wasn’t real. The billboard was sponsored by an agency as an effort to discourage texting and driving. When viewers brought up the Wathan Funeral Home Web site, they were greeted with a message about getting Canadians to stop texting while driving.

Why the billboard? Simple, we tend to ignore the routine message, or think it applies to someone else. But the shock value of the sign, combined with the presumed advertiser of a funeral home, made drivers stop and think. According to site statistics, drivers who text are 23 more times likely to be involved in an accident.

Text and drive? Nope.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their habits texting and driving.
  2. Show the Web site:
  3. Make sure to click on the icons on the right-hand side for more information.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for an issue about which they are passionate.
  5. Have each team post its PSA on the board and discuss what makes an effective PSA.

Source: Canadian New Service

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