Category Archives: Classroom Activities

Handle With Care

You probably know this saying – “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And if ever the world needed new inventions, it’s now!

In this time of quarantine during the global Covid-19 pandemic, people around the world worry about infection on a daily basis. Even during stay-at-home restrictions, we still need to venture out to buy supplies. Routine trips to the stores usually involve the need to touch handles, and that make us worry about the transmission of virus via surfaces. Sure, we can wear gloves, but door-handles in public places can facilitate the spread of contagions.

Clean-energy company Fortum in Finland has created a new door-handle that can be used with arms (instead of germy hands). It is a door-handle supplement that attaches to existing door-handles and lets people open the door with a sleeved arm instead of a hand. Made of recycled plastic, Fortum Vipu is intended to help prevent the spread of disease. (The name ‘Vipu’ is short for ‘virus protection unit’.)

The devices are made from a recycled plastics material called Fortum Circo and are produced using 3D printing. The company is now testing the handles in a real retail environment in grocery stores in Finland. If all goes as planned, production can be quickly expanded. The data and feedback gained from the trial will be used to further the design and innovation of devices.

Inventions – keep it up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various concerns that students have about transmission of virus.
  2. What are the ways in which stores are combatting the spread of virus and ensuring the safety of customers?
  3. Show the video of the door-handle attachment: https://youtu.be/2fuTMAoli0g
  4. The Website can be viewed for more details: https://www.fortum.com/vipu/
  5. How can this device be used in other environments?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team brainstorm a solution to a common problem such as contaminated door-handles.
  7. Teams can also do research about other solutions to this problem.

Source: Ad Week

 

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Celebrating Everyday Heroes

We tend to think of heroes as extraordinary people who can fly through the skies, leap tall buildings, and vanquish evil doers. That is still true. However, given the difficult times today dealing with the coronavirus, we can see heroes wherever we look – people who risk their lives in the service of others during this global pandemic. The ordinary things that we once took for granted now deserve extra respect and thanks; to the health care providers who risk infection, to the delivery truck drivers, and grocery store employees who interact with us every day to make sure we have the food and supplies we need.

To honor these everyday heroes who support us, Mattel and Fisher-Price have launched a special edition collection of 16 action figures that commemorate doctors, nurses, EMTs, delivery drivers, and  a five-figure Little People Community Champions set that also include grocery workers. These are our neighbors and friends who keep our communities up and running. The action figures are part of a campaign named #ThankYouHeroes and the proceeds go to #FirstRepondersFirst initiative created to support first responders.

Mattel is also producing face shields and masks, plus has donated toys to nonprofit partners around the world, and launched the ‘Mattel Playroom’ as an online resource for caregivers to help keep children entertained at home.

Celebrate the heroes in your life.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various ways in companies can take actions to improve their social responsibility in the pandemic.
  2. Show a video of the new product line: https://youtu.be/kC9NnIRRUjQ
  3. View Mattel’s Website: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/playroom-thankyouheroes?icid=plp_body-1_aspot_thank-you-heroes_p1
  4. Divide students into teams. Have students search the Internet for examples of how companies are responding to virus and helping to prevent illness and protect workers.
  5. What additional ideas do students have for companies to help communities?

Source: Ad Week; CBS News; CNN; additional news sources

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Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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