Monthly Archives: August 2018

Funko Launches Cereal Brand

Successful brand extensions can be a tricky to accomplish. Brands usually have a strong identity, and are often associated with a single or unique product line. Extending the brand into a new area or industry can be difficult, expensive, and not always successful. The best brand extensions stay true to their original brand identity and market spaces. For example, Coca-Cola can take its strong global brand to include beverages other than sodas, but it would certainly struggle to extend its brand to a new industry such as entertainment.

A new brand extension is underway by Funko, known for its Pop! bobblehead toys and characters. The new entry by Funko is for a line of cereals – FunkO’s – that will have a retro flair and (of course) include a toy collectible in the boxes. The first line will have more than 40 characters and each cereal will have an exclusive U.S. retail partner (not at grocery stores).

The cereals arrive this summer with a suggested retail price of $7.99. The cereal product line will continue the Funko tradition of distributing collectible figures with fun designs. Each cereal box will include mini Pocket Pop! figures and the packaging will have activities, puzzles, and games.

The first releases are expected in July and August, and include:

  • Mega man FunkO’s (at GameStop)
  • Cuphead & Mugman FunkO’s (at Hot Topic)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger FunkO’s (at f.y.e.)
  • The Lord of the Ring’s Gollum FunkO’s (at Box Lunch)
  • Beetlejuice FunkO’s (and Box Lunch)
  • Huckleberry Hound FunkO’s (at Funko.com)

Let’s grab a box, munch, and watch cartoons!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who eats cereal? What type? Who buys Funko products?
  2. Show Funko’s Web site and the new product line: https://www.funko.com/blog/article/introducing-funko-s-putting-the-fun-back-in-breakfast
  3. Discuss competition: what are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare FunkO cereal product with a competitive product. What are the points of difference (what makes FunkO cereal different from competition)?
  5. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Guess who’s coming to breakfast? This summer, FunkO’s cereal. (2 July 2018). Brandchannel.com

 

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When is it Necessary to Rebrand?

Everyone is likely to be familiar with the pizza brand Papa John’s. And, many people likely also recognize the image of the head of the company, founder John Schnatter. After all, it’s his face and name on the company and the product. Schnatter’s entrepreneurial story has been a big part of the company’s brand image and his visage has prominently been featured in its marketing and promotion activities.

However, Schnatter’s name and face have been in hot water after he recently made a racial slur on a conference call with its ad agency. (Note: The agency dropped Papa John’s as a client after the call.) This comes on top of Schnatter’s controversial NFL statements a year ago, criticizing football players who knelt (instead of standing) for the national anthem, and blaming them for lower pizza sales.

Eventually, the NFL ended the Papa John’s relationship and signed with Pizza Hut as the official pizza partner of the NFL. Also breaking ties with Papa John’s is Major League Baseball, eliminating its co-branded marketing efforts.

The big question: Should Papa John’s rebrand?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: When should a company rebrand? What is the impact of a visible company leader who crosses a line in society?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team research and discuss what happened with Papa John’s in regards to negative press.
  3. Poll teams: Should the company rebrand?
  4. Have teams list what would be involved in order to rebrand. What should the new brand look like?
  5. View the response from Papa John’s to its customers: https://www.papajohns.com/open-letter/
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source: CNN Money,  USA Today, Brandchannel.com, and other news sources

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Autonomous Luggage Cart Helps in Airports

Ah, the glamor of travel! Jetting off to exciting places, carrying pounds of luggage and goods… Oh wait, that luggage part isn’t very exciting, in fact, it is downright annoying. How many times have you looked forward to a trip, only to be exhausted and sore from lugging around a bunch of suitcases and bags? Unfortunately, that’s the reality of travel, and it is not glamorous.

But now you can relax a little and enjoy the airport experience more. To help out its weary travelers, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is launching an autonomous, self-driving luggage trolley to guide passengers through the airport and carry their bags. The blue cart (named Care-E) greets passengers once they are past security. The passenger will be prompted to scan a boarding pass and will be guided by Care-E to any location in the airport. And, of course Care-E carries all of the bulky and heavy luggage (up to 85 pounds).

Care-E moves at a human walking pace of 3 miles/hour and uses familiar, nonverbal sounds to interact with passengers. The bright blue self-driving trolley can take passengers directly to their gates, even if the gate has changed.

Air travel is so much better when someone else totes the bags!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What has been their experience travelling with luggage in airports? How could airlines improve this?
  2. Show the Care-E video: https://youtu.be/_Hio_YN77EE
  3. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  4. For air travel, who are KLM’s competitors?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for airlines.
  6. How can KLM use Care-E to position itself against competing airlines?
  7. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  8. Debrief exercise.

Source: Brandchannel.com, CNN, other news sources

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