Monthly Archives: February 2021

That Robot Can Dance!

We love robots. They are endlessly fascinating to us as we contemplate the technological advances that make robots useful to humans. They can carry gear, map territories, and enter spaces unsafe to humans. But of all their uses, we particularly like how robots can bust a move and dance (remember Spot the robot dancing to Uptown Funk?)!

Thanks to its incredibly animated robots and technology, Boston Dynamics may be the world’s most well-known robotics company. Boston Dynamics was originally an offshoot of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now owned by Hyundai Motor Group. Its robots include Atlas, Spot, Big Dog, and Handle.

Programming the robots to dance was a daunting task, requiring hundreds of hours of work. The programming had to let robots balance, bounce, and (seemingly) even carry a rhythm. Atlas the robot uses a vast array of sensors, actuators, and a gyroscope to help it balance. It also contains three quad-core onboard computers. The result is an imaginative display of robotic versatility and possibility.

Dancing to the 1962 hit song “Do you love me?” by The Contours, Atlas and friends seem determined to get humans to love them indeed.

But can they salsa?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. First, show the video of Atlas and Spot dancing: https://youtu.be/fn3KWM1kuAw
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site: http://www.bostondynamics.com
  3. Bring up Boston Dynamics YouTube page with videos and show robots in action: https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonDynamics
  4. Dancing Spot can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/kHBcVlqpvZ8
  5. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  6. What are commercial and business applications for each robot?
  7. What companies might buy robots (beyond the military)?
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a business-to-business marketing campaign for robots.

Source:  Associated Press; Boston Dynamics

 

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Doggie Desserts

We love our dogs, always asking them “who’s a good dog?” And then of course, rewarding and treating our very good dogs. One snack that dogs love to munch is ice cream. And now Vermont ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has introduced a new line of frozen dog treats – Doggie Desserts.

Doggie Desserts is the company’s first movement into the growing markets of pet foods and treats. According to the American Pet Products Assoc., the number of U.S. households with pets grew to 84.9 million homes in 2020. During these trying Covid times, pet adoptions are at an all-time high, meaning that more pets than ever are trying to keep their humans sane. From 2015 to 2020 spending on dog treats jumped 44% to $5.5 billion.

Doggie Desserts follow the Ben & Jerry’s model and are made with fairtrade-certified, non-GMO ingredients. The company stated that it worked with a veterinary nutritionist and other consultants to make sure the non-dairy products are safe and easy for pups to digest. No one wants Spot to have an upset tummy!

There are two flavors sold in 4-ounce cups: Pontch’s mix of peanut butter and pretzel swirls, and Rosie’s Batch of pumpkin and mini cookies. Prices at $2.99 per cup (four for $4.99) and the frozen treats will be placed near popsicles in the frozen food aisles, conveniently located near Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. That’s one pint for us, and one for our dogs.

Now, who’s a good human?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Show Ben & Jerry’s website: https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/doggie-desserts
  3. A video can be found at: https://youtu.be/h2lzIEeRVsQ
  4. Which strategy is Ben & Jerry’s using for this product? Why?
  5. Discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team set three SMART objectives for this strategy.
  7. How would these objectives change if a different market strategy was used?
  8. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Minneapolis Star Tribune; Washington Post; other news sources

 

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2021: Super Bowl 55 Advertisements

Winter is cold, but the Super Bowl always pumps up the heat! The Super Bowl has become one of the premier venues for marketers. The thrills, the chills, the excitement and surprises – and that’s just the advertisements! At a cost of $5.6 million for 30 seconds of air time, the Super Bowl is also the most expensive advertising placement of any event or show. Add to the air time the costs of designing and producing ads, plus the integration into other marketing tactics, and a company can easily spend upwards of $6 million on a single day.

Love them or hate them, Super Bowl advertisements have become a talking point before, during, and after the game. It’s a big stage, and can also be a big risk. This year, a Jeep advertisement featuring Bruce Springsteen backfired when news surfaced that Springsteen had received a DWI citation in November. Other criticism was about the lack of inclusion and diversity. Of the 67 public figures who appeared in the ads, only 18 were Black, 14 were women, one was Indian American, one was Asian American, and five were of multiple ethnicities.

This year an audience of 92 million adults in the U.S. tuned in to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominate the Kansas City Chiefs. The game had a 38.2 U.S. household rating and was viewed in an average of 46.2 million homes, far lower than previous years. Roughly 68% of U.S. homes in use were tuned to the Super Bowl.

The average amount spent per person was $74.55, a decrease from last year’s $88.65. Most is spent on food and drinks at 77%. As to who watches the big game, only 35% of Gen Z watch, compared to 54% of Millennials, 51% of Gen X, and 52% of Baby Boomers.

Which ad is your favorite?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the Nielsen data: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-releases/2021/super-bowl-lv-draws-nearly-92-million-tv-viewers/?utm_campaign=Corporate%20Marketing&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SFMC&utm_content=Newswire%20Newsletter&utm_id=02_10_2021
  2. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads: https://www.ispot.tv/events/2021-super-bowl-commercials
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a Super Bowl ad to analyze and present in class.
  4. What is the target market, key message, and offer from the ad?
  5. How does the ad integrate with a company’s other advertisements?
  6. Are the messages integrated with a company’s Web site and social media?
  7. As a class, after each commercial have students assign one to five stars for the advertisements. Which advertisement won the class vote?

Source:  Ad Week; CBS; iSpot.tv; Nielsen Research; other news sources

 

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