Author Archives: swhartley

Why Buy Clothes? Rent Them Instead!

Do you have a tough time keeping up the latest fashions? Or, an even tougher time paying for the new designer clothes you covet? Despair no more. Instead of buying, try renting your clothes!

Renting clothes is a new way to spruce up wardrobes without breaking the bank. While there are a number of subscription-based services such as Rent the Runway, traditional retailers are also entering the new market, including options to rent clothes from Bloomingdales’, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, and more. Consumers are not limited to just renting clothing – some retailers rent shoes, jewelry, and handbags, too. And, lest you think this is just for women, a number of companies rent clothing and accessories to men as well.

The clothing rental industry, while still relatively new, is also quite large and still growing. According to research firm GlobalData, the clothing rental industry is roughly $1 billion today, and is projected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2023. Not too shabby (chic).

The sharing economy industry is still establishing itself for consumers who are not interested in owning, but still want access to new brands and services. After all, consumers already rent apartments, homes, cars, bikes, and furniture. Now we can add clothing to the list.

What will you wear?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the sharing economy. What is it; what drives it; what should we watch?
  2. Show a video overview of clothing rental: https://youtu.be/7OKLqBZoOYY

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2020 Super Bowl Advertisements

Winter may be cold, but the Super Bowl heats us up! 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 roughly $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 during and after the game. It’s a big stage, and can also be a big risk. This year it had an audience of 102 million adults in the U.S. across multiple platforms.  And viewers are far from passive, generating $17 billion in purchases on food, team gear, TVs and more.

All this generated roughly $435 million in advertising revenue, up 20% from 2019. Who were the top spenders?

  1. Anheuser-Busch: $41 million
  2. Pepsi Co: $31 million
  3. Proctor & Gamble: $30 million
  4. Amazon: $26 million
  5. Hyundai: $20 million.

Top categories for ads included automotive, food, financial services, and technology.

Watch the ads – which ad is your favorite?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads: https://www.ispot.tv/events/2020-super-bowl-commercials
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a Super Bowl ad to analyze and present in class.
  3. What is the target market, key message, and offer from the ad?
  4. How does the ad integrate with a company’s other advertisements?
  5. Are the messages integrated with a company’s Web site and social media?
  6. 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, other news sources

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Bye, Bye VW Beetle

As marketers know, products have a life cycle that ranges from birth to decline. Every product eventually reaches its maturity stage where sales slow, and then it succumbs to a decline stage when the product is eliminated. Such is the case for virtually all products, including the indelible VW Beetle.

The Volkswagen Beetle has been around in some form since 1938, selling more than 24 million cars worldwide. The car was redesigned several times, most recently in the 1990s into the ‘new Beetle’. But now, VW has decided to pull the plug and will discontinue the iconic little car. As of 2020, no more ‘slug Bugs’ will be manufactured.

The Beetle was first introduced in the 1930s, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Hitler and known as a “people’s car.” It has been immortalized in films such as Disney’s “The Love Bug” and was also known as a car for hippies hitting the road in the 1960s and 1970s. The Beetle had an iconic shape that was easily recognizable and has a front grill with headlight ‘eyes’ that looks like a smiling face. It’s easy to smile when looking at a Beetle.

There is a ‘final edition’ Beetle which sells for $23,000 – $27,000. And like all good things, there is an end.

R.I.P. VW Beetle. You will be missed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Next, discuss the life cycle of automobiles and the VW Beetle.
  4. Visit the VW Web site at to view the final models: https://www.vw.com/models/beetle/section/overview/
  1. A video of VW Beetle manufacturing: https://youtu.be/McV7siceylU
  2. A farewell video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uKuYXNLGlOc
  3. News video about the Beetle’s last ride: https://youtu.be/0C38YYmNiEQ
  4. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle or be reinvented for a new life.

Source:  Ad Age; Automobile Magazine; Business Insider; Car and Driver; Forbes; other news sources

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