Monthly Archives: February 2017

Super Bowl 2017 Advertising


With hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, the Super Bowl has become one of the premier venues for marketers. The thrills, the chills, the laughter, the tears – and that’s just the advertisements! At a cost of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time, the Super Bowl is also the most expensive advertising placement of any event or show. Add the costs of designing and producing ads, plus the integration into other marketing tactics, and a company can easily spend upwards of $6 million at a single event.

Love them or hate them, Super Bowl advertisements have become a talking point during and after the game. It’s a big stage, and can also be a big risk. With an audience of 111.3 million viewers, the 51st Super Bowl is now ranked as the third most watched TV program in U.S. history. And, days later, we are still watching ads and measuring results.

Watch the ads – which company do you think did the best, and worst, job on their advertisements?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads:
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a Super Bowl ad to analyze and present in class.
  3. What is the target market, key message, and offer from the ad?
  4. How does the ad integrate with a company’s other advertisements?
  5. Are the messages integrated with a company’s Web site and social media?
  6. As a class, after each commercial have students assign one to five stars for the advertisements. Which advertisement won the class vote?

Source:  Ad Age Daily,, USA Today, other news sources

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‘Bank in a Can’ in Rural Africa


It can tough to get to the bank, especially when customers are located in rural areas that are remote from urban financial centers. Many rural areas lack access to quality banking and important financial services that the population needs. This is the case in rural South Africa where people face challenges in getting to banks and getting sound financial advice.

“Bank in a can” is an innovative solution that is now being used in South Africa. A product of a joint venture between South African FNB Bank and design firm Architecture for a Change, the pre-manufactured units are made from shipping containers and can be located in any rural (or urban) community. The nature of the pop-up units allow organizations to become operational quickly in less than three months. The new pop-up bank branches include teller windows, offices for opening accounts and applying for loans, along with separate ATM areas.

FNB is not the only bank to try pop-up locations. Canadian Tangerine Bank also has opened pop-up locations in shipping containers across Canada as a way to introduce customers to direct banking.

Reusing shipping containers are a clever way for companies to expand their reach into new area.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of distribution for products and services.
  2. What are creative ways in which companies can expand their reach?
  3. Show photos of the pop-up banks:

Architecture for Change site (South Africa):

Tangerine Bank (Canada):

  1. Have students discuss how these solutions can expand a service’s reach and market access.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team select another service and work out how a pop-up site might benefit the service.


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Dads Who Play Barbie


There has been a lot of football this winter, and we are used to seeing the usual advertisements for cars, trucks, beer, and snacks. But, did you notice an unusual ad during the NFL playoff games? Perhaps an ad for a toy not usually directed at men? Any guesses?

If you guessed that Mattel has been airing Barbie doll ads during football, you are right! What – Barbie and football? Yep. Mattel’s new campaign is focused on dads who play Barbie. But, why focus on Barbie for dads? Research shows that an active engagement with their daughters by dads can help promote independence and achievement.

The new campaign is a follow-up to the “Imagine the Possibilities” campaign that Mattel ran several years ago to promote diversity of cultures and bodies. With the campaigns, the company has made the doll more relevant and engaging with young girls – and their dads.

Go ahead – you’re never too old to play with dolls and imagine the future!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Have students develop the target market for Barbie dolls. Odds are that they select girls and women as the target market.
  2. Next, show the video of dads playing Barbie:

  1. Now have students define the target market. Has it changed?
  2. Have students discuss the effectiveness of the new campaign. How does it change the marketing of Barbie?
  3. Also show the previous campaign ad:

  1. Bring up a research report from
  2. In teams, have students review the findings and then apply the findings to additional toys or products for dads and daughters.


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