Monthly Archives: January 2020

Google’s Year of Search for 2019

Everyone has a hero in their lives – and if lucky, they have multiple heroes from around the world. What did the world search for in 2019? Well, besides our usual searches for love, the meaning of life, and how to vote, the citizens of the world used Google’s search engine to keep current on topics including sports, celebrities, world events, food, entertainment, and more.

Google tracks searches on an individual country basis as well as globally. Lists are based on search terms that had the highest spike this year as compared to the previous year. Globally, some of the most searched for topics included the Notre Dame Fire, ICC Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup, Sri Lanka, Area 51, and Greta Thunberg.

Top searches in the U.S. also included the Baby Yoda, Baby shark, and the royal baby (plus other babies of famous folks).  Canada’s top queries included the Toronto Raptors (and the players), plus plant-based diets, and Game of Thrones. Australia was interested in Cricket Australia, Rugby World Cup, as well as how to watch Game of Thrones.

Google processes two-out-of-three Internet queries made each day. These queries give marketers a good snapshot of trends around the world. This research gives us a good idea of what people are thinking, and what they like and need. Often, past trends can also be predictors of future trends.

Take a look – which of these topics did you search for in 2019?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Before showing the Google results, poll students as to what they think the top searches were in 2019. Why those topics?
  2. Next, show the Google site: https://trends.google.com/trends/yis/2019/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 2019.

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Aira Service at Target Stores to Help Visually-Impaired Shoppers

At this busy holiday season, consider the (seemingly) simple task of shopping done by an able-bodied consumer. Now consider the same shopping task for someone who has a visual impairment. It must be a much more complex and time-consuming process, and is likely often frustrating waiting for assistance from store employees. After all, not everything can, or should, be done online. For many purchases, shoppers want to feel materials, sniff the freshness of produce, or have more information about the item.

Enter a service from technology company Aira and combine it with Target’s retail stores. Aira connects people who are blind or have impaired vision with highly-trained professionals who help provide visual information on demand via smartphones or wearable devices. The service blends wearables and smart phones with artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Aira’s mission is to make visual information accessible to anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

Target’s accessibility team worked with Aira to deploy a pilot program to 600 Target stores in 13 different markets. Shoppers in those areas can use Aira for free on a smart phone to receive on-demand information while shopping. Shoppers sign on with the Aira app and connect with customer service agents working remotely. The agents use the phone’s camera to guide shoppers through the store and describe items in detail.

The Aira service is also available at more than 40 airports and major public transit systems and college campuses. Not only can Aira agents provide direction and information, they can also read ingredients on boxes, understand color options, and have graphics described.

Now that’s progress.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the consumer buying process.
  2. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  3. How does the process change for visually-impaired consumers?
  4. Show information about Aira: https://aira.io/
  5. Videos are available on the Aira video channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvTWpoo6BVrn2pOFreWQGGw
  6. Information on how to use Aira at Target: https://aira.io/target
  7. How should the Aira services be marketed?

 

 

Source:  Kumar, K. (6 December 2019). Target offers free service for visually impaired shoppers at 600 stores for holidays. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

 

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Peloton’s Holiday Ad: The Peloton Wife

 

It must be the time of year for controversial advertising campaigns. Earlier this month we wrote about South Dakota’s “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign, which provoked many people to post their reactions on social media. The “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign was designed to focus attention on combatting the prevalence of meth in South Dakota and starting conversations about the problems of meth addiction.b

But now, with a seemingly straightforward advertising campaign, Peloton has entered the social media collective consciousness and has generated a lot of negative buzz. The company’s new holiday campaign features a woman receiving a Peloton bike for Christmas, and chronicles her experience over the next year.

At first glance, the ad shows a lovely holiday scene of a husband giving his wife an exercise bike for Christmas. However, viewers quickly made their negative opinions known on social media, criticizing the company for being sexist as well as being elitist. The wife is thin and attractive; the house looks large and luxurious. (A Peloton bike is priced at $2,245, plus a monthly video subscription for interactive classes at an additional $39/month.)

Peloton has stated it stands by the ad and that it hears regularly from customers about how the bike has changed their lives for the better. The actors also stated that the commercial was a very positive experience, despite the pushback from social media. So why the criticism? And what should happen when a company offends people?

One company that quickly followed up on the controversy was Aviation Gin, owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The same actress was cast in a humorous commercial that seemed to show her a little shell-shocked after the first commercial and in need of a little relaxation.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Show the Peloton Website: https://www.onepeloton.com/
  3. Show the original ‘peloton Wife’ video: https://youtu.be/pShKu2icEYw
  4. What are the students’ opinions? Have the students use their phones and devices to search for commentary about the campaign online.
  5. Next, show the same actress in the Aviation Gin commercial: https://youtu.be/H2t7lknrK28
  6. What are student’s opinions about this ad and message?
  7. How does this ad play off the original ad?

Source:  Advertising Week; Bloomberg News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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