Author Archives: swhartley

Forever Ware to Cut Take-out Waste

Take-out containers and cups account for a large percentage of trash in the U.S. And according to the Energy Department, only 5% of plastic waste in the U.S. is recycled. During Covid, even more take-out containers were needed while restaurants were closed for in-person dining. More trash.

Although we would all like to use recyclable containers for our take-out orders, most of the time we don’t have that option. We don’t mean to cause excess trash, but it happens. Perhaps the solution to that problem is to encourage restaurants and cafes to place take-out orders into reusable containers that can be returned and used again, and again, and again.

This is the basis of Forever Wear – to provide recyclable containers to businesses for them to use with their customers. The restaurant is the point of contact and offers the containers to customers for a fully refundable deposit.

It works like this – restaurants and cafes pay a monthly fee to license Forever Ware software that in turn, allows the restaurant to checkout and track stainless steel containers and mugs. Customers pay a refundable fee to use containers that can be returned to the store, where they are then provided with clean, sanitized containers for their next order.

The restaurants benefit by saving thousands of dollars on disposable containers and decreasing landfill trash. The customer benefits from the clean healthy containers while also doing good and lowering their carbon footprint. 

Sign up and do some good for the environment!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much do they think their takeout food containers contribute to a trash problem?
  2. How would use a different system if it reduced waste?
  3. Show Forever Wear website: https://foreverware.org/
  4. Videos are available at: https://www.youtube.com/@foreverware9208
  5. Discuss organizational buying compared to consumer buying.
  6. Divide students into teams.
  7. Have half of the teams develop a marketing program directed at getting restaurants to sign up for Forever Wear.
  8. Have half of the teams develop a promotional campaign to convince customers to use the containers.
  9. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Williams, N. (9 November 2022). Putting a lid on takeout waste. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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The Major Leagues get a new Sport – Pickleball  

By now we’re all familiar with pickleball. We’ve heard about it from friends, relatives, and neighbors. After all, it is the fastest-growing recreational sport with roughly five million players.

But somehow, it lacks the status of other sports. You know, the ones with big name players, top athletes, and big leagues. Like the NBA, MLB, MLS, NFL, and more. But now, there is a new entrant to the big leagues – MLP (also known as major league pickleball)!

Even basketball king LeBron James is in on the action, having recently purchased a MLP team. The MLP will expand to 24 teams next year. Each team has co-ed players, two men and two women, who play singles and doubles events.

In MLP play, there are no home teams. Similar to the three-on-three basketball league Big3, all teams arrive in the tournament city for play. This year there were three tournaments and next year will have six tournaments. Prize money in 2023 will be $2.4 million (compared to $1 million this year).

The popularity of pickleball has grown rapidly. Community organizations, tennis clubs, and athletic gear companies have all gotten in on the new sport. Pickleball-only clubs are also being developed. One such club is Lucky Shot in Minneapolis where players match up in a 40,000-square-foot space. Other entertainment locations such as breweries are also installing pickleball courts.

It may have a crazy name, but it’s caught on and entered the big leagues!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are favorite sports? Which sports do the students play?
  2. Who has played pickleball? Describe their experiences.
  3. Show the MLP site: https://www.majorleaguepickleball.net/
  4. Show Lucky Shots site: https://luckyshotspickleball.com/
  5. Show Smash Park site: https://smashpark.com/
  6. Divide students into teams.
  7. Have each team put together a marketing campaign to gain followers for a pickleball team.
  8. What are the key elements?

Source:  Berkman, S. (14 June 2022). Developers embrace passion for pickleball. New York Times.; Mather, V. (3 October 2022). Move over… everything? Here comes major league pickleball. New York Times.

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When Celebrity Endorsements Go Bad: Adidas and Kanye West

Brands and marketers love to use celebrities to help endorse companies’ brands and products. Consumers think that if a product is good enough for someone famous that they respect, then it’s good enough for us as well. Using a celebrity’s image in advertising campaigns helps to promote products and raise its awareness. Marketers hope that the positive response to a celebrity will be passed on to the products or brands. 

There are advantages to this approach. Celebrity endorsements help consumers remember advertisements and makes a brand more memorable than a brand that lacks a celebrity. But it doesn’t always work; it can backfire on both the brand and the celebrity when things go astray. Since by their very nature, celebrities are often in the news, and are monitored constantly, a celebrity who takes an unpopular stand risks damaging his or her image, as well as the brand. Scandals can immediately provoke a negative consumer perception and harm the brand.

Celebrity endorsements can be a great boon to brands, linking brands tightly to the fortunes of the celebrity. We can think of many great partnerships and athletes and celebrities, but there have also been some notable failures.

A recent celebrity endorsement upset is the dissolution of the partnership between rapper and designer Kanye West and Adidas a result of antisemitic remarks made by West (Adidas manufacturers West’s Yeezy shoe line). The two have been in business together since 2016. The Yeezy partnership is estimated to account for 8% of Adidas’ annual sales.

While there are many news reports available about what happened and the timeline of the Adidas decision, the entire case is really about power of celebrity endorsements.

What is your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the effects of celebrity endorsements on brands.
  2. In teams, have students list both positive and negative celebrity endorsement deals.
  3. Show the 2016 announcement of the Adidas/Kanye partnership: https://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/press-releases/2016/adidas-and-kanye-west-make-history-transformative-new-partnershi/
  4. A GMA video about the recent breakup can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/MFUH_A3mApg
  5. Poll students about their opinions about the situation.
  6. What should Adidas do to recover from the situation?

Source: Safdar, K. and Pacheco, I. (27 November 2022). Adidas top executives discussed risk of staff’s ‘direct exposure’ to Kanye West years ago. Wall Street Journal.

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