Monthly Archives: February 2018

Will You Be My Valentine?

Love is in the air. And, it is also in the aisle (store aisle that is). When true love is on the line, Americans are ready to spend. According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Valentine’s Day this year is projected to be nearly $19.6 billion! That’s an average of $143.56 for each American.

What kind of love tokens will be given? Well, roughly 19% will give (and receive) jewelry for a total of $4.7 billion, and 35% of us will go out for a romantic dinner. Sigh…

Other statistics that show how much we love:

  • 55% give candy to loved ones (especially chocolate)
  • 114 million Valentine’s cards will be given
  • 9 million marriage proposals offered

And it doesn’t stop with our beloved partners. It extends to schools, where we spend an average of $7.26 on children’s classmates and teachers, and on our pets who receive $5.50 worth of goodies. Even our co-workers get in the action with an average of $4.79 spent.

Finally, “gifts of experience” such as concert or event tickets are popular and 24% of people plan to give such a gift. Lest we forget about mobile, more than 50% plan to use their smartphones to help with decisions, and 36.9% will use smartphone to research gift giving.

What did you give and receive?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What did they give, and receive, on Valentine’s Day?
  2. Show a video on spending for Valentine’s Day:
  3. Show NRF graphs on spending:
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a unique promotion for a Valentine’s Day experience gift.
  5. Have students vote on the most creative idea.

Source:  National Retail Federation

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Super Bowl 2018 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 103 million viewers, the 52nd Super Bowl is one of the most watched TV program in U.S. history. And, days later, we are still watching ads, arguing about them, and measuring results.

Watch the ads – which ad is your favorite?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads:
  2. Divide the 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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Stereotypes and Sports: Chief Wahoo to be Eliminated

Names and brands represent a significant investment for all organizations, no matter if they are corporations, private organizations, higher education, or athletics. Brands and logos are often loved and worn proudly by consumers. However, just as often a logo can be seen as offensive to individuals and groups.

Case in point: The Cleveland Indians recently announced that it will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo beginning in 2019. Major League Baseball’s position is that the logo is no longer appropriate. Some team supporters view the logo as traditional (Chief Wahoo has been used since 1948), while opposition characterizes the name as offensive to Native Americans.

Cleveland is not the only athletic team that has been criticized for its logo. A few years ago the University of North Dakota officially dropped its Fighting Sioux nickname in favor of the Fighting Hawks. However, other teams, such as the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Braves (with the “Tomahawk chop” motion), have resisted pressure to change.

Some team supporters view the logo as traditional (Chief Wahoo has been used since 1948), while opposition characterizes the name as offensive to Native Americans. Regardless, logos have the power to motivate consumers, or to repel them.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show a video about the issue faced by the Cleveland Indians:
  2. What are the essential elements of this issue?
  3. What have been the experiences of other athletic teams in similar situations?
  4. Have students research the number of athletic teams with nicknames that could be detrimental to a race or ethnical group.
  5. What is the impact of a new logo on sales of apparel?
  6. How important is brand to athletic teams?

Source: Waldstein, D. (29, January, 2018). Cleveland Indians will abandon Chief Wahoo logo next year. New York Times.

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