Monthly Archives: November 2021

The Squid Games Phenomenon

By this point in time, you have most likely heard about the hit show “Squid Games.” The South Korean series playing on Netflix is now the most-watched Netflix show ever – beating out recent hits as “Bridgerton,” “Lupin,” and “Stranger Things.”

In the unlikely case you haven’t seen or heard of the show, the dystopian drama is set on a mysterious island where all the game-players are literally playing for their lives. Dressed alike in teal-green track suits and white canvas sneakers, the 456 numbered players are forced to play children’s games (such a red-light green-light, marbles, and tug-of-war) to the death in order to pay off their crushing load of debt. They are controlled by faceless workers who also dressed alike in red jumpsuits and black masks.

While the high level of viewers watching the show isn’t too surprising, what is surprising is the level of merchandise being sold for the show. Not only are the track suits and t-shirts sold on Netflix, Walmart is also carrying the apparel on its website as part of the “Netflix Hub” of merchandise, along with Squid Game card games. The Walmart deal is the first online storefront that Netflix has created with a national retailer.

Netflix is a certainly an industry behemoth and now has more than 200 million subscribers around the globe. But it faces increasing competition from other streaming platforms such as Amazon, Disney+, and Apple+ TV. It is also entering the video game space in order to retain, and attract, subscribers. Original shows such as this one create buzz and garner more subscribers.

But, are you willing to play?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the show. Who has seen it? What are their thoughts about it.
  2. Show a trailer of the show at: https://youtu.be/oqxAJKy0ii4 (Warning: There is violence in the trailer.)
  3. Show the Netflix merchandise site at: https://www.netflix.shop/collections/shop-squid-game-merchandise
  4. Show Walmart’s Squid Games website store: https://www.walmart.com/search?q=squid+games
  5. What is the target market for Netflix? For the Squid Games show?
  6. Based on the target market profile, will the merchandise be a draw for those customers?

Source:  Ad Week; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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New Smart Glasses from Ray-Ban and Facebook

First there was Google Glass, then Snap entered the video glass frame market with Spectacles. Now, Facebook and Ray-Ban have partnered on new smart sunglasses called Ray-Ban Stories with a camera built into the glass frame.

The Wayfarer-looking glass frames have a 5-megapixel camera to record whatever you are looking at. All the user has to do is tap the side of the glasses to take a photo or 30-second video. The frames also hold micro-speakers, microphones, and a computer processing chip. The eyewear can also answer phone calls and play music or podcasts.

The vision (no pun intended) behind the new smart glasses is to enable people to capture the moment that they are in and then post it to Facebook. Unlike the weird-looking Google Glass, the project was focused first on fashion and design, and then on the technology.

Priced at $299, the glasses also come with a charging case. When fully charged, the glasses can be used for six hours. There is also voice activation available using Facebook Assistant and paired with your phone. A small light on the frame front goes on when the glasses are recording, but the small light is hard to see, thus there are privacy concerns when recording.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss smart glasses with students. What problems do they solve?
  2. Poll students: Who would be willing to buy smart glasses? Why or why not?
  3. Show the product on the Ray Ban website: https://www.ray-ban.com/usa/discover-ray-ban-stories/clp
  4. Show the WSJ video of the glasses in action: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/ray-ban-and-facebooks-camera-equipped-sunglasses-cool-yes-creepy-yes/94A651AF-2320-43D7-AFEC-78C307FAAE00?mod=djemfoe
  5. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  6. For this product, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  8. Based on the target market profile, what tactics should the marketing plan include?

Source:  CNN; New York Times; The Verge; Wall Street Journal; Washington Post; other news sources

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Look – up in the sky – it’s a blimp!

How did you travel on your last vacation? Probably via car or airplane. Are you ready for another way to travel? Then perhaps it’s time to consider blimps. We’re used to seeing blimps in the air as floating billboards used to advertise brands (Ex: Goodyear Blimp). But, blimps – also known as airships – have more utility than just advertising. Several companies are now exploring the use of airships for passenger travel and other uses.

Marketing passenger travel by airship will be tricky though. Airships have a negative stigma attached, and have not been used for passenger travel since 1937 after 36 people died when the Hindenburg airship burst into flames shortly before landing. It was a horrific event that still lives on in memory.

Today’s airships promise to be quite different though. They have the ability to fly for days using helium to stay aloft and can takeoff and land without a runway. Airships are also more environmentally sustainable with fewer carbon emissions than airplanes, plus the interiors are spacious and quiet.

Several companies are exploring new technologies and use of airships. One of those, OceanSky Cruises, compares the travel to that of a cruise ship, but must faster. The airship is 320-feet long with guest cabins, restaurant, and bar. Since it flies at lower altitudes than airplanes, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows for viewing the landscape. A North Pole voyage is planned for 2024 – at a price tag of $232,845 for a two-person cabin!

How would you like to travel by airship?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing current ways to travel. What are negatives and positives of each mode?
  2. View OceanSky’s website: https://www.oceanskycruises.com/
  3. A video of the new airship can be seen at: https://youtu.be/QuM-gFJRhlY
  4. If students are not familiar with the Hindenburg disaster, show a video of the event: https://youtu.be/A7Ly1Oh-xvs
  5. Divide students into teams: Have each team identify the constraints that might keep people from using airships.
  6. What adjustments are needed in marketing airship travel versus airplane travel?
  7. Have each team develop a marketing campaign for the new flights.

Source:  New York Times

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