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Mattel Reboots Older Brands

Consider classic Mattel toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Jurassic World, Star Wars, American Girl, Masters of the Universe, Monster High, Thomas & Friends, and many more. What are your  favorites?

And of course, since it was founded in 1945, Mattel also had many toys over the years that are no longer in play.

Barbie (one of Mattel’s oldest brands) must have been lonely and looking for her old friends as Mattel has now reintroducing several older toy lines that have not been on the shelves in decades! Welcome back to Major Matt Mason, Big Jim, and Pulsar. (All lines that students, and most likely their parents, are unfamiliar with.)

The revitalized toys will be launched under the banner of “Back in Action” as a way to revive old brands and capitalize on Mattel’s intellectual property. Mattel is also using Comic-Con as an important marketing tool for launching the toys lines. To help sell toys into the collectible market, the action figures will be in smaller sizes.

The reintroduction of old brands is not unusual in toys. Consider how Mattel capitalized on its older Masters of the Universe toys. These were introduced in the 1980s and eventually grew to a $2 billion franchise. As it lost sales, Mattel shelved the intellectual property, but revived it years later as a collectible. Then last year an animated series from Netflix for adults and children reemerged, accompanied by the Masters of the Universe toy line (He-man!).

Welcome back to the old brands!

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 PLC and place toys into each stage of the PLC.
  3. How do toys move through the PLC?
  4. Why bring back the older toy lines?
  5. View a timeline of Mattel’s evolution: https://corporate.mattel.com/history
  6. Also show Mattel’s brand portfolio: https://corporate.mattel.com/brand-portfolio
  7. Student teams: Develop a marketing campaign for one of the three toy lines. What elements are needed?

Sources:  Schmidt, G. (19 July 2022). Mattel opens its vault to revitalize dormant brands. New York Times.

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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 This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite.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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