Monthly Archives: December 2018

Christmas is in the Air!

Can you smell it? It’s that time of the year when Christmas is in the air! Oh, lift your face and smell the scent of fir trees, pine cones, fresh cold air, and KFC fried chicken in the air! Wait, what, KFC fried chicken in the air? That’s become a Christmas scent?

Yes, KFC decided that Christmas needs more food smells, particularly its famous fried chicken with 11 herbs and spices. To that end, the company recently sold out of its five-pound fire logs that were scented with fried chicken. Relax though, no chickens were harmed and none are burned as part of the fire logs, which are made out of recycled materials. The logs burn up to 2.5 to 3 hours and have a caution applied – burning it may result in a crazing for fried chicken (plus it may attract hungry bears or neighbors).

KFC isn’t the only company applying scents to the holidays. General Mills is also using scents in movie theaters to entice consumers for its Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. General Mills is using scent machines at 200 theaters to push out a subtle scent of freshly cooked cinnamon rolls during pre-show commercials.

Why the emphasis on scents in marketing? Studies have indicated that smell is strongly linked to memory recall. Consumers link scents to memories, making them more inclined to purchase products that generate happy memories.

What smells do you like?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are the scents of Christmas?
  2. Show the KFC yule log site: https://www.kfc.com/fire-log
  3. Show a video about KFC logs: https://youtu.be/b-4Yh8_4vZI
  4. Show the Pillsbury cinnamon theater commercial: https://youtu.be/z_ie4wdXyXM
  5. Divide students into teams.
  6. Have each team develop a marketing tactic using “scents” to improve branding and sales.
  7. What are the drawbacks to this type of marketing?

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Entrepreneur, Ad Week, Fox News, other news sources

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“Bear Resistant.” A Label that is Rigorously Tested.

Truth in advertising is important. Consumers today have a built-in detection system to weed out unrealistic and over-hyped claims that aren’t true. If a product makes a promise, then it should live up to it. We question claims such as organic, natural and others. These labels and promises are important, especially when it comes to the backcountry and using gear labeled ‘bear resistant.’ A broken promise for ‘bear resistant’ products means that both bears and people are in danger! (A saying in the mountains is that “a fed beer is a dead bear” – meaning that bears habituated to human foods are in danger from the humans.)

How does a product earn a ‘bear resistant’ badge? It’s simple. The bears are the actual product testers. Yes, 600-pound, hungry grizzle bears are the product testers at non-profit organization The Grizzle and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana. In order to keep bears and people safe, containers are put through rigorous testing by bears at the rescue center.

Picture it: Seven grizzles. Smart, large, and the ultimate sniff machines. Products are baited with the bears’ favorite foods. Coolers are padlocked (bears can open handles and latches), then placed in the bears’ enclosure. Bears go at it in their habitats, trying to break in and gain a food reward!

Once the bears start their “testing” process, the timer counts an hour to see if the bears can get into the coolers. Biting, smashing, bouncing, basically anything goes by these diligent product testers. If it passes – it gets certified as “bear resistant.” And if the bear gets in, then manufacturers review the video footage to see how the product fares with the grizzles. Some of the products that earned bear resistant badges are Bare Boxer, Bear Keg, Wise Backpack, Big Daddy, and more food canisters.

This has to be the ultimate in product testing.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Put students into groups. Have each group come up with common product labels and claims (e.g., organic, all natural, etc.). What is their opinion about how the claims are verified?
  2. Show the bear testing video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/296016960
  3. View the Web site for product testing: https://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org/research/product-testing/
  4. List of bear resistant products: http://igbconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181026_Certified_Products_List.pdf
  5. Have students develop positioning maps for outdoor products.
  6. How should the certification be used in marketing the products?

Source: Housman, J. (20 November 2018). This is how bears decide if gear deserves the ‘bear resistant’ tag. Adventure Journal; Outside magazine.

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Segway: Innovation and Re-Innovation

Perhaps you have ridden a Segway at some point in time, but it is much more likely you have not. First introduced in 2001, Segway was promoted as the world’s first self-balancing human transport vehicle. The product hype was enormous. People around the world clamored for the product that was supposed to revolutionize transportation, particularly in the last mile. But the hype never came to fruition. What happened?

Industry analysts had originally predicted that the innovative Segway would quickly reach $1 billion in sales. However, by 2007, it had reached only a fraction of that amount and growth appeared to stall out. Why? One key reason was the hefty price tag of $4,950, placing it outside the reach of most consumers. Another reason was that, well, people looked like geeks when riding it. It wasn’t cool, nor was it especially safe. Even then-President Bush was filmed on it while falling. And later, the company owner died while operating a Segway near his home.

This pushed the vehicle into the area of mall cops and tourists. However, in 2015, Chinese company Ninebot bought the company to use in developing other markets and products. Ninebot is a leading manufacturer of today’s electric scooters which are seeing strong acceptance in the marketplace, even as they too face safety issues.

But still, there are problems in the last mile. How do you navigate?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle.
  2. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  3. Poll students: Who knows anything about Segway?
  4. Where is Segway on the PLC? Where are electric scooters?
  5. Show Segway’s Web site: http://www.segway.com/
  6. Show Ninebot’s Segway site: http://uk-en.segway.com/
  7. Ask students what happened to Segway? Why wasn’t the product a hit?
  8. Show video story of Segway: https://youtu.be/U-l4Kf9NUJo
  9. What is the company doing now to re-invent itself? Can it succeed

Source: CNN Business

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