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More Brand Experiences with Cafes and Hotels

It seems to be increasingly common for brands to open pop-up stores and restaurants designed to give consumers a unique experience, not just a normal shopping trip. In the past year or so, we’ve covered Taco Bell’s branded popup Hotel in Palm Springs, Nutella’s Café in Chicago, Cheetos popup restaurants in New York, and more. Now entering the fray are two very old brands looking to provide new consumer experiences: Oreo and KFC.

First, Oreo has opened an Oreo café in the American Dream Mall is East Rutherford, N.J. It is the cookie brand’s first stand-alone shop and is designed to give fans an engaging environment to explore – and eat! The menu of items includes a menu of Oreo-infused deserts from cheesecakes to milkshakes. And of course, Oreo merchandise is also available to purchase.

Next, KFC is taking on London by opening a pop-up hotel named The House of Harland (the Colonel’s middle name). The KFC Hotel offers “the spiciest stay of the summer” for a short time this summer. It’s a first-class experience that begins with “The Colonelmobile” black Cadillac to pick up guests and deliver them to the hotel. Once guests arrive, they will be greeted by the “Chick-In” Clerk. The experience continues with chick-flicks (get it?) playing in the cinema room. Bedding and wallpaper will be covered with chicken images and a special hot line chicken phone can get your cravings satisfied right away!

All these experiences are making me hungry!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the increasing use of experiential marketing for brands.
  2. How does this fit into a marketing campaign?
  3. View Oreo café video: https://youtu.be/yqNSfgMOTjM
  4. View the Oreo website: https://www.oreo.com/
  5. Information on the KFC Hotel: https://global.kfc.com/press-releases/house-of-harland-a-kfc-themed-staycation
  6. View the KFC Hotel video: https://youtu.be/b72c_vdWbQY
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a brand and create an experiential campaign for consumers.

Source:  Ad Week

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Global Cuisine in the Supermarket

Why do grocery stores still have an ethnic foods aisle? This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite. While some people think this is a racist label, others just find it confusing and makes it hard to find the foods they want.

The origin of the ethnic food aisle date back to the start of supermarkets in the early 1900s. Prior to the 1920s, shoppers visited several independent shops (butcher, baker, etc.) for different foods and supplies. In fact, some stores retrieved all items from the shelves for the consumer – the consumer didn’t shop, or roam down aisles looking for foods. A clerk did the shopping for them.

The first major self-service grocery supermarket was Piggly Wiggly in 1916, located in Memphis, Tenn. The growth of supermarkets and self-service shopping required that foods be organized by like items and tastes so they could be found in the store. Items needed for international cuisine dishes were therefore placed together so that the recipe items could be easily purchased.

Today, the ethnic food aisles seem to be a hodge-podge of items. There might be Chinese ingredients, fish sauces, Mexican spices, Korean noodles, African flour, and others all pulled together in a central place. Even in that format, many shoppers like the variety of the aisle, considering it a place to find new or unusual flavors.

Some stores such as Kroger have integrated global foods into every aisle and seen great success. Other stores prefer to keep items separate so that they can be highlighted differently.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of grocery stores and shopping.
  2. Show a great video highlighting ethnic food aisle issues: https://youtu.be/4Q–YIt_0Hw
  3. For a longer exercise, divide students into teams and have them visit a local American supermarket. They can diagram aisles and take photos of shelves and foods.
  4. What are their observations about how and where more ethnic foods are stocked?
  5. How could ethnic foods be categorized in stores?

Source:  Business Insider; New York Times

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Coming Soon to a CVS Store Near You – Therapy Sessions

Feeling stressed or down lately? Sorry to say this, but you are not alone. There is no doubt that the past year has had a strong impact on our mental health as people deal with new issues stemming from the pandemic. Many people find benefits from therapy during those times, but it might not always be easy to find a therapist and schedule times to visit.

To help people deal with these issues, CVS is now offering counseling services in or near select stores in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. At these locations, CVS now staffs a licensed clinical social worker trained in cognitive behavior therapy. To address privacy issues, CVS says customers would have no way to know that someone is getting counseling (as opposed to other clinic services) in private rooms. An initial assessment with the therapist costs $129, while a 30-minute counseling session costs $69. Treatment would not be a substitute for long-term care, and would instead be used for issues that could be worked on in five or six sessions.

While at first glance CVS’s move might seem a stretch, it is also another way for retail pharmacies to offer additional health care services to customers, and in a place that they regularly shop at. CVS is being joined in these new therapy service offerings by rivals Walgreens and Walmart.

Social workers think that offering counselling in places consumers already visit will be a good draw, particularly for people in lower-income areas, or who lack health insurance.

Some days, we all need a little extra help.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the environmental factors that have led to new therapy service offerings.
  2. How have these factors led to new services?
  3. Show video of athletes discussing mental health: https://www.wsj.com/video/how-athlete-candor-on-mental-health-is-changing-the-game/8F51F296-46AD-423D-9B9F-C24E4DF6D7AD.html
  4. Ask students their opinions on the topic of mental health services as part of a whole care strategy.
  5. Show CVS website for mental health services: https://www.cvs.com/content/health-hub/mental-health-counseling
  6. Brief video of the services: https://youtu.be/3ZJcy8W3d0A
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a SWOT analysis for CVS that includes recent environmental trends.

Source:  Wall Street Journal; NPR; other news sources

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