Monthly Archives: January 2018

My Special Aflac Duck Helps Kids with Cancer

Aflac’s cute mascot, the talking duck, does more than just try to sell insurance. The company has been committed to caring and treating children with cancer for more than 22 years; donating $120 million over that period. In its latest effort, Aflac worked with digital design and story-telling firm Sproutel to create My Special Aflac Duck, giving a stuffed toy the robotic treatment to help the duck comfort children’s cancer patients and make a positive change in the lives of children with childhood cancer.

There are more than 11,000 cases of childhood cancer annually in the U.S., and on average, children go through 1,000 days of treatment. More than most patients, children need emotional support to go through treatments, to communicate their feelings to caregivers, and not feel helpless in the face of cancer.

My Special Aflac Duck integrates social robotics into the field of medicine. With four patents pending (and a design award from 2018 CES), My Special Aflac Duck gives kids with cancer the chance to find joy by playing with it; helps kids engage by playing soothing sounds and calming heartbeats; and helps kids connect by being able to treat Duck just like they are being treated with IV and medicine. A special backpack provided with Duck includes an IV and emoji badges that help communicate feelings.

Duck has five touch sensors that help it connect with children through its facial expressions, sounds, and movements. It also has a special app that lets kids design special places to go to virtually where they can find comfort and joy.

Quack in support of helping children with cancer!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how companies can be socially responsible in their communities.
  2. Show The Verge’s video story about the Duck: https://youtu.be/LQy-qn_JMoM
  3. Show Aflac’s Web site for Duck: https://aflacchildhoodcancer.org/
  4. Sproutel’s Web site contains additional information on Jerry the Bear (diabetes care for children): https://www.sproutel.com/
  5. In teams, have students select an illness that affects youths. What could they develop to help these young patients cope with their illnesses?
  6. What companies could partner with them on the initiative. Why?
  7. Finally, as an option, there is a 10-minute TED Talk by the founder of Sproutel about how play can help children to deal with illness: https://www.ted.com/watch/ted-institute/ted-ibm/aaron-horowitz-can-a-teddybear-change-how-children-relate-to-their-own-disease

Source:  Hutchinson, M. (8 Jan. 2018) Robotic duck aims to help kids cope with cancer. Associated Press.

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YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2017

Starting a new year is a good time to examine the winning campaigns from last year. The most compelling advertisements and videos are ones that have a strong story, humor, inspiration, and excitement. They build a bond with the audience, and inspire thoughts and action. It’s not easy to create a short video that engages audiences and inspires them to share the video and view it more than once, so it is worth examining the top ad videos from 2017.

Here are the most viral brand videos posted to YouTube in 2017. Combined, these five videos have generated more than 436 million views last year!

  1. Samsung India Service: 150+ million views
  2. Clash Royale: The Last Stand: 111+ million views
  3. Oreo’s Ping Pong Trick Shot: 100+ million views
  4. MISS DIOR – The new Eau de Parfum: 47+ million views
  5. Budweiser Super Bowl 2017 – Born the Hard Way: 28+ million views

Remember, these are the ads that people choose to watch. An algorithm factors in organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention.

Which ads do you choose to watch online?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding and brand management. How do the videos fit into branding?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze one of the following videos with respect to target market, key message, type of appeal, etc. All ads are available at: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/youtube-leaderboard-year-end-2017/?&YTgenre=ads&ContentType=year-end-ads-leaderboard&feature=Inp-em-ad210-us-a-OT-OT&utm_medium=email-d&utm_source=newsletter&utm_team=youtube-usa&utm_campaign=20171206-youtube-usa-ytr-weekly-a&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTWpVeVkyWTRPRFUzWVRrMSIsInQiOiJTTEp1QVVWTGJKN1RzNmU1Y2tKclpOXC9rTDc4dmw1aG1tOXNqT3N4RWc2elRZUUtJNHNLWkRCUzVpRDlJU25pRUNCWFF5WFdwMmt1Rk5reWZKTXo4eE5xbjJYbUhrOE9ub2p4UXhaUGh6UnhudERDUEorMHVQUVdCSjJGUmpYeWcifQ%3D%3D
  3. When teams have completed this, have each team show the video and discuss their analysis with the rest of the class.
  4. What are the commonalities between the videos? What are the differences?
  5. What should other companies do to replicate the success?

Source:  Think with Google. YouTube ads leaderboard: Global year-end 2017.

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The Year in Search – 2017

It’s important for marketers to keep current on topics of interests and trends around the world. This research gives us a good idea of what people are thinking, and what they like and need. What did the world search for in 2017? Well, besides our usual searches for love and the meaning of life and how to tie a tie, the citizens of the world used Google’s search engine to keep current on topics including sports, celebrities, world events, food, entertainment, and more.

The lists are not only tracked globally, they are also tracked on an individual country basis. Although the most searched terms in the U.S. included Hurricane Irma, Matt Lauer, the NFL National Anthem protests, and Meghan Markle, the U.K. search list looks different, as do lists for France, Germany, Australia, and other countries.

Google processes two-out-of-three Internet queries each day. These queries give marketers a good snapshot of trends around the world.

Take a look – which of these topics did you search for in 2017?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Before showing the Google results, poll students as to what they think the top searches were in 2016. Why those topics?
  2. Next, show the Google site: https://trends.google.com/trends/yis/2017/GLOBAL/
  3. Discuss the importance of market research. What are sources that can be used? Why is tracking trends important?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team examine a different Top 10 List topic. What are the trends from that topic?
  5. How can these trends be used to develop new products?
  6. Debrief the exercise by listing the ideas from each team.

Source:  Google Trends. Year in search 2017.

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