Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Internet Changes the World

Make no mistake – technology use is a global economic and communcation force. Consider that today more than two billion people use Facebook – that’s one-quarter of the world’s population! And, one in every five minutes online is estimated to be spent on Facebook. It’s potentially a juggernaut of massive proportions. With the extensive reach of Facebook and other technology companies such as Google and Apple, it is also a challenge to many countries’ governments control over their own citizen’s information sources and habits.

Whether it is politics, music, business, or education, the reach of global technology companies represents a challenge for businesses and marketers. This is particularly true when technology companies in essence subsidize connectivity in developing nations. Economies of nations rest on profit-driven technology companies based in Silicon Valley.

The Internet has a reputation of being a free-wheeling, anything-goes system that cannot be contained by nations. Or at least, not easily contained even in countries such as China and Vietnam. In the U.S., technology companies are facing new scrutiny by the government when it comes to politics, advertising, hacking, and controlling news. More than 50 counties have passed laws in the last five years to increase control over how their citizens use the Internet. And, in particular, digital privacy is a growing issue throughout European nations and the United States.

Where is the Internet going? And, how should marketing use it?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role that technology companies play in global economies and policies.
  2. Show the New York Times video: https://nyti.ms/2y8o8WC
  3. Discuss recent news about politics, hacking, news, bullying, privacy, and advertising buys.
  4. Divide students into groups. Have each group discuss what their experiences have been online.
  5. Task each team to come up with standards for how companies should use the Internet.
  6. Task each team to come up with five recommendations that could be implemented to improve online use and privacy.

Source: New York Times

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The Danger of Celebrity Endorsements

Brands and marketers love to use celebrities to help endorse companies and products. Consumers think that if a product is good enough for someone famous, then it’s good enough for us as well. Using a celebrity’s image in advertising campaigns helps to promote products and raise its awareness. Marketers hope that the positive response to a celebrity will be passed on to the products or brands.

There are advantages to this approach. Celebrity endorsements help consumers remember advertisements and makes a brand more memorable than a brand that lacks a celebrity. But it doesn’t always work; it can backfire on both the brand and the celebrity when things go astray. Since by their very nature, celebrities are often in the news, and are monitored constantly, a celebrity who takes an unpopular stand risks damaging his or her image, as well as the brand. Scandals can immediately provoke a negative consumer perception and harm the brand.

Recently, Cam Newton (quarterback for Carolina Panthers) offended sponsor Dannon with his off-hand remark to a female sportswriter that “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes” in reference to his football play. Newton was quickly censored by several groups who viewed the remarks as disrespectful to women, and Dannon ended its relationship with him to promote its Oikos Greek yogurt. (Newton has since apologized for the remark.)

How difficult is it to use celebrity endorsements?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance that celebrities play in brand endorsements.
  2. Have students list all of the celebrities-brands links they can remember.
  3. What makes these pairings successful?
  4. View Cam Newton’s remarks: https://youtu.be/HYVa0wuEjjk
  5. Poll students as to their opinion.
  6. Divide students into team. Have each team select a product or brand and then find a celebrity who could successfully endorse the brand.
  7. Debrief: Poll students about their opinions about the suggested pairings. Why were the celebrities selected?

Source:  New York Times, other news sources

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China’s Great Firewall

While many people and countries view the Internet as a place of total freedom to say whatever they want – often without fear of reprisal – inside of China’s Great Firewall there exists an extensive system of filters and controls. The system is often quite subjective, and at times even contradictory. Nonetheless, for the 700 million Chinese, use is growing exponentially.

This summer, China’s fast-growing digital media sector set 68 categories of material that are censored. The guidelines ban material that include excessive drinking or gambling, sensationalizing criminal cases, ridicules historical revolutionary leaders, current members of the military, police, judiciary, or anything that promotes and publicizes “luxury life.” Also banned are material associated with prostitution, rape, affairs, partner swapping, and sexual liberation.

Despite the restrictions and bans, China’s Internet continues to expand. While China bans Facebook, Twitter, and Google apps, the use of WeChat in the country is expanding. In China, WeChat is a super-app that does virtually everything a user needs, all from within the app itself. Need a service? Want to schedule a lunch? Transfer funds? Post a review? Buy something? It is all contained within the app, making it powerful, and also a little scary. Advertisers love it, but all data must be shared with the Chinese government.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the freedoms of the Internet. Are there downsides to this?
  2. View the NYT video on WeChat in China: https://nyti.ms/2jZdURP
  3. How does the Great Firewall impact global marketing?
  4. Show the TED Talk about China’s Great Firewall: https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_anti_behind_the_great_firewall_of_china
  5. What are the implications for global commerce?

Source: New York Times

 

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