Monthly Archives: January 2017

Most Marketable Athletes of 2016


Athletes and sports events play a major role in marketing. An individual celebrity who endorses a product can often be seen as an effective spokesperson.  But not always… Think back on athletes who have been dropped as spokespeople after a fall from grace (Tiger Wood, Lance Armstrong…).

What does it take to make the public view an athlete as a positive role-model, and when do companies employ these people? According to Nielsen Research’s N-Score Talent Tracker, in order for a celebrity to be marketable he or she needs to be likeable, influential, stylish, savvy on social media, and have a strong public following. Not an easy feat to achieve when the athlete is not on their home court.

The following is the list of the top marketable athletes in the U.S. in 2016:

  1. Peyton Manning – for his Super Bowl 50 victory.
  2. Michael Phelps – for his record-breaking Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
  3. Simone Biles – the world’s top gymnast in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
  4. Serena Williams – an enduring tennis great and the highest paid female athlete in the world.
  5. LeBron James – who brought Cleveland its first NBA Championship in 2016.

It’s not always easy for any celebrity to become an effective brand ambassador. The celebrity’s built-in fan base usually comes with specific consumer behaviors and purchases.

Who is your preferred athlete to be a brand spokesperson?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the communication process: sender, encoding, message, medium, decoding, and receiver.
  2. What role do celebrity endorsements play in the communications and marketing roles?
  3. What features make an athlete an effective spokesperson for a product or brand?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team identify 10 different athletes that they have seen endorse products.
  5. Are these successful, or unsuccessful, spokespeople?
  6. Finally, select a number of industries or products and have students discuss which athletes best fit the product.

Source:  Nielsen Research


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Self-Driving Minivan from Waymo and Chrysler


It seems that we can’t get enough of self-driving vehicles. The technology keeps advancing rapidly, and now technology and automotive companies are teaming up to bring self-driving cars to the roads as soon as possible. Recently, Waymo (the self-driving car company spun-off from Google) and Fiat Chrysler announced that they are ready to deploy a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans at the end of January.

Waymo is making all of the technology itself, building the cameras, sensors, and mapping technology. This work is bringing technology costs down by approximately 90% – from $75,000 in 2009 to $7,500 today. Working with Fiat Chrysler to integrate technology with the car’s architecture, the minivan is built with the specific mission of driving itself. Vehicles will take to the roads in another month in Mountain View, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz. (The roomy, seven-person minivan does have a steering wheel though as it is required by many state laws.)

The van is equipped with three rings of 360 degree LIDAR sensors to give the vehicle both long and short range vision, allowing vehicles to see objects that are very close as well as spot tiny objects that are farther away. Waymo stated that it has more than 2.5 million miles on self-driving cars, and an additional one billion miles in simulations.

Ready for a ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video of the Waymo/Chrysler minivan:

  1. Another video of an interview with the CEO of Waymo:
  2. Discuss competition: What are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Waymo’s minivan with a competitive product. What are the points of difference (what makes the product different from competition)?
  4. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  New York Times, The Verge, CNBC, CNET, other news sources

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Good Things Come in Large Packages


It’s an oft-repeated phrase that “good things come in small packages.” But sometimes, a large package can be just as much fun to open. A new campaign from Hyundai in the U.K. illustrates how easy the company wants to make it for consumers to buy its cars, right down to having it delivered to the driveway.

The campaign, called “Click to Buy,” was launched in January in the U.K. to promote how easy it can be to buy a new car. Instead of going to a car dealership and getting confused by all the options, let alone all the price haggling with sales reps, Hyundai aims to make car buying as simple and easy to buy a car as the rest of your online shopping.

From the comfort of home, customers go to Hyundai’s Web site and get quotes, configure the car, apply for financing, and make a deposit. How does it work?

  1. Determine how much to spend.
  2. Configure cars and compare price quotes.
  3. Select the dealership.
  4. Apply for financing and pay a deposit.
  5. Pick up the car – or have it delivered (without the box unfortunately).

The campaign is geared to make car buying, simple, transparent, and free of price haggling. With six models of cars, various options can be configured and explored.

Now if only it really came in the large box!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of packaging in marketing.
  2. Poll the class about their car buying experiences. What do students like? Dislike?
  3. Show the advertisement video:
  4. Show Hyundai’s U.K. Web site:
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a car manufacturer and model. What is the process for buying a car, and obtaining pricing, from the different manufacturers?
  6. Debrief the exercise by having students develop a process for other car manufacturers.

Source:  Ad Age Daily

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