Category Archives: Classroom Activities

Disturbing – But Realistic – Images for Cigarette Packaging

Packaging is a critical component of marketing tactics. The package is an important tactic in connecting with the consumer and showing the value of the product. But, what happens when the packaging images are disturbing and show the consequences of buying the product? Will consumers choose to not buy the products?

This will soon be tested in the U.S. Recently, the FDA announced that it has a new set of images to be used on cigarette packs. A warning message and graphic will cover the top half of a cigarette pack. The new images are striking, especially when compared to the current packs and warnings. The new images portray diseases associated with smoking; the intent is to help improve the public’s understanding of the consequences of smoking. Images include warnings about lung and bladder cancers, diabetes, heart problems, blackened lungs, bulging tumors, and more.

The FDA’s suggested packaging is still under review and it isn’t known whether tobacco companies will fight the proposals. While the U.S. was the first nation to require warnings, the current warnings as seen as inadequate by the medical community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 13.8% of U.S. citizens smoke (nearly 38 million people) and 480,000 people die each year from smoking-related issues, making it the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

While one might think that the perils of smoking are widely understood, the World Health Organization in 2019 said that warning labels “are most effective when they are pictorial, graphic, comprehensive, and strongly worded.” Other studies have found that the graphic warnings reduce the appeal among youth.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of packaging as part of the marketing mix tactics.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team find examples of both strong and weak packaging.
  3. Show the new cigarette packaging in class: Video – https://youtu.be/1R8XUf-EI0k
  4. Visuals of the new labels can be found with a Google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=new+cigarette+packaging&client=firefox-b-1-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv1PGjsLPkAhXLGDQIHbk-DckQ_AUIEigC&biw=1280&bih=606
  5. For more context, the WHO report can be found at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326043/9789241516204-eng.pdf?ua=1
  6. Additional research from Cornell: https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/11/graphic-warnings-snuff-out-cigarettes-appeal-kids
  7. What are the students’ opinions of the new packaging?

Source: Kaplan, S. (15 August 2019). The FDA’s new cigarette warnings are disturbing. New York Times.

 

 

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Mascots Help Bring a Brand to Life

Brand mascots have been around for decades. The fictitious and colorful characters are used by companies to bring brands to life and create personalities that engage consumers. Mascots can be human appearing, animals, cartoons, or even an object. Quick – name five brand mascots right now…. Chances are that you could actually name many more than five, and that you have positive feelings about each of the mascots!

Mascots do more than garner positive feelings. According to research from System1, brands increase the effectiveness of advertising when using mascots. Campaigns that included a mascot were 37% more likely to increase market share than campaigns without a mascot. Plus, mascots are 27% more likely to increase customer gains, and 30% more likely to grow profit gains. So, why is it that in the U.S., a study found that only 4% of ads used mascots in 2018?

Mascots also play an important role in recognition and retention. Consumers are more likely to remember an image than they are to recall a phrase. Not all mascots last the test of time though. A mascot has to be the right character for the brand, and it has to have personality that resonates with consumers. Plus, it has translate into visual campaigns and last for years.

What is your favorite brand mascot?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team list as many brand mascots for consumer goods as they can in the next few minutes. (You might want them to have a separate category for sports teams.)
  2. List the mascots on the white board and count the top vote-getters.
  3. How do companies use these mascots in advertising?
  4. Show the chart with brand mascot recognition by generation: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-how-brand-mascot-recognition-has-changed-over-time/?utm_content=position_4&utm_source=postup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningDigest_Newsletter_190827054610&lyt_id=194931
  5. For an interactive class, show the following quiz and see how many mascots the students recognize: https://www.thequiz.com/product-brand-mascot-quiz/
  6. Why are different mascots at various levels of recognition by age cohorts?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product that does NOT have a brand mascot. Develop a mascot for that product.
  8. Each team should present their idea to the class.

Source: Smiley, M. (23 August 2019). Research says brand mascots really do move the needle. Ad Week.

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Subscription model for Nike kids’ shoes

Subscription services can be a great business model. It gives businesses a monthly recurring revenue stream that is steady and predictable – at least until the consumer ends it. Many subscription services have had initial success, only to lose subscribers as time goes on and subscribers no longer see the value of the service.

The meal subscriptions have been particularly hard hit as customers try various plans, only to eventually stop. There are also a great number of clothing subscription services, including subscriptions for fashion clothing, business apparel, and athletic wear. Now, Nike is launching a new subscription service aimed directly at the kids’ shoes market. It’s an important market space and is valued at roughly $10 billion annually.

Nike will offer three levels of subscriptions: $20, $30, or $50. At $20/month, customers get four new pairs of shoes and play activities; $30/month gets 6 pairs; $50/month gets 12 pairs. Named ‘Nike Adventure Club’, the service is aimed at 2-10 year olds and supplies Nike and Converse shoes. Is it money saving for consumers? Perhaps. It depends on the level of shoe selected. The main goal of the service is to build relationships and maintain brand loyalty for Nike and Converse.

As for correct shoe sizing, Nike includes a sizing chart to help parents measure their child’s feet. In a pilot program run with 10,000 members, only a small percentage of parents had the wrong size. The service includes free shipping and returns along with free size and style exchanges.

Ready to play?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of subscription-based services.
  2. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  3. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  4. For Nike Adventure Club, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  5. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  6. Is the Nike program correctly priced for the target market?

Source: TechCrunch, CNN, USA Today, Reuters, other news sources

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