Author Archives: swhartley

Outdoor Ads and Serena Williams

Serena Williams is one of the world’s greatest tennis players of all time. And, as a new mother, her husband and baby girl have proclaimed that she is also the “greatest momma of all time!” (G.M.O.A.T) They made the announcement in a very public way, too – giant billboards!

Using a series of four billboards outside Palm Springs, Calif., the billboards coincided with William’s return to competitive tennis as she competes in her first professional match since giving birth. While the billboards were charming and included photos of baby Olympia, the billboards also lend weight to one of Alexis Ohanian’s (William’s husband) business holdings. Ohanian used an outdoor advertising company named AdQuick to design and place the ads; he has a financial stake in the company.

It’s a lovely, and clever, play as AdQuick brings online tools to outdoor advertising to make the process of buying and measuring easier and more transparent. The company aims to solve two problems with outdoor advertising – getting billboards designed is usually a slow, low-tech process and it can be difficult to measure the impact of billboard campaigns.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various promotional tactics that can be used for launching a product.
  2. Have students come up with tactics and list all the tactics on the white board (ex: billboards, print, direct mail, etc.).
  3. Discuss the use of billboards and other outdoor advertising.
  4. Divide students into groups to work on this exercise.
  5. For a product of their choosing, have each team develop a creative billboard. Make sure they define the target market, key message, and billboard location.
  6. Note: Look up creative billboards online and show several in class to spark ideas. Many ideas can be found by doing a Google image search for “creative billboards.”

Source:  Nudd, T. (27 February, 2018). Those cute ads with Serena Williams and her baby are also ads for the billboard company. Ad Week.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Will Get Rid of Foam Cups by 2020

We know Planet Earth is in trouble with changing weather patterns, and a significant problem with plastics polluting and harming the oceans. The planet deserves the respect, and need the help, of all citizens and corporations.

One significant problem faced around the globe is the increased use of foam packaging, which has often been cited as a source of many environmental problems. A number of environmentally-focused organizations have challenged global companies to reduce or eliminate their use of polystyrene.

One company heeding the call is Dunkin’ Donuts. The company recently announced its plan to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups throughout its global supply chain by 2020. The coffee giant will replace foam coffee cups with double-walled paper cups. The majority of the company’s international operations have already begun using paper cups; New York City and California will be adopting the new cups this year.

The move to eliminate foam cups is a significant change in the company’s supply and distribution chains. This is no small matter – there are more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone – that’s a lot of coffee cups!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  2. Show video about Dunkin’ Donuts switch:
  3. What are the SMART objectives set by Dunkin’ Donuts?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop five SMART objectives for a product of their choosing. Have the goals reflect various strategies including growth, sustainability, profitability, etc.
  5. Discuss the objectives. How would the objectives change if a different strategy was used?
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Sustainable Brands (9 February, 2018). Dunkin’ Donuts to eliminate foam cups by 2020.

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Where’s the Chicken?

In what might arguably be one of the most ironic situations faced by a restaurant, KFC ran out of chicken and had to close more than half of its 900 restaurants in the UK. Yes, you read that right – Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of chicken (which I guess makes it KF instead of KFC).

The supply chain issue that closed the 562 outlets was blamed on switching KFC’s delivery contract from South African-owned distribution group Bidvest Logistics to DHL. DHL blamed “operational issues” for the snafu. Some of the outlets were able to remain open, but with a limited menu.

Indeed, one can understand that it is a complex task to get fresh chicken to 900 restaurants across the country. According to news reports, the GMB union warned KFC that switching suppliers was a mistake. It certainly appears that they were right.

(Update: As of Feb. 28, 97% of KFC stores were open, but according to Reuters the company is now reporting facing another shortage… this time it’s gravy!)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. In order to be successful, companies must be able to physically get a product into the hands of the customers. Discuss how a distribution channel works.
  2. Show the video of the KFC issue:
  3. For KFC, what distribution channels are used now?
  4. How can the channel be expanded? What approach could be used?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a flow chart for the distribution of the product.

Source:   BBC (19 February, 2018). Chicken chaos as KFC closes outlets.

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