Trash Cans with a Distinctive – and Sexy! – Voice

It’s not always easy to get people to act in a responsible way. We can cajole, threaten, use logic, emotion, get mad, but it doesn’t seem to work. People are hard to motivate – even when it is in their own best interest. For example, consider litter and trash. Even when it’s easy to dispose of litter, some people still seem to not keep it clean. Garbage gets thrown on the ground, not into cans.

But Malmo, a city in Sweden, has come up with a novel way to encourage people to clean up trash. It incentivizes folks to use the trash can by, well, talking a little bit dirty in a suggestive, female seductive voice.

Yes, you heard that right. By having a trash can talk dirty, people deposit more trash. What type of dirty talk and encouragement? “Oh, right there. Yes!” or let’s try “Come back soon and we’ll do it again!”

It’s a little more for adults, but it appears to be effective. The campaign gets people talking about littering in a fun way.

The city originally had 18 talking trash cans in 2017, but has only two now placed on a busy pedestrian bridge. Put trash in the can. Get positive reinforcement immediately! During the pandemic, the trash cans thanked people for social distancing. Now the cans have been repurposed to reduce trash. What else could they do?

One question though: where are the sexy talking male trash cans?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use of public service announcements to influence behavior.
  2. Poll students: What types of public behavior would they like to see modified?
  3. Show a clip of the trash cans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq-1HXmRgwE
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a public service campaign.
  5. Have students develop an interactive way to influence people’s behavior about their public service campaign.
  6. What should it look like? Sound like? Accomplish?

Sources:  Bantock, J. (10 June 2022). Sexy trash cans? This Swedish city is taking a risqué approach to garbage. CNN Travel.

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Product Placements used to Increase Brand Awareness

Product placements are not unique to today’s times of streaming services. This has been going on for years as companies seek brand recognition and association with influencing characters. The first documented example of product placement was attributed to the Lumiere brothers in 1896 when they featured soap in a film “Washing day in Switzerland.” And in the 1930s Proctor & Gamble began sponsoring daytime dramas featuring its products.

From that humble beginning, today’s product placement has generated an industry worth an estimated $23 billion today.

Why product placement? As marketers know, consumers don’t like to watch commercials. Recent research indicates that 74% of online adults in the U.S. often skip ads. This makes it critical for marketers to get their product in front of consumers in a realistic and organic way. As consumers stream more content, product placements are up and advertising spending is trending down.

The best product placements fit the scene and reflect well on the characters and the brand. No one wants to see their product blow up in the hero’s face on TV! The product doesn’t even have to be show; characters who mention the brand are still effective (verbal product placement). Viewers also respond stronger to brands place earlier in the show rather than later. (Kind of like how Super Bowl ads are more expensive in the first quarter of the game than at the end.)

Core Hydration Water seems to be in a lot of places lately. It’s distinctive bottle shape and color are in various shows on several streaming services and networks: “He’s all that,” Riverdale,” “Nancy Drew,” “Love in the time of coronoa,” “Below Deck,” and “How I met your father.”

Dell Computers tries to be in as many places as possible to highlight its products: “Succession,” The sex lives of college girls,” and “And just like that.” Zillow, the real estate site, also uses product placements and product mentions: “Dead to me,” “Grace and Frankie,” and “Never have I ever.”

What have you noticed?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Hollywood Branded Website for examples of product placement: https://hollywoodbranded.com/
  2. Ask students to name three TV shows or movies that they recently viewed.
  3. Next, ask them to name at least three products that they can recall seeing in the show. Were those products there by accident?
  4. Show a video clip of one of the TV shows or movies. The clips can usually be found on www.hulu.com, www.youtube.com, and other sites.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two products they would like to have placed in a TV show.
  6. How would these products be incorporated? What is the show/movie? What is the desired result?

Sources:  Haigney, S. (24 June 2022). Anatomy of a product placement. New York Times.; Fossen, B. (14 September 2021). Product placement is a $23 billion business and growing. Here’s why brands keep betting on it. Fast Company.

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Kellogg Splits into Three Companies

Organizations never sit still for very long. Before you know it, there is a new product/service rival, or new company, or change in supply chain, or change in consumer demands. Since we know change is inevitable, the challenge for marketers is to be aware of the environment and know where their company is strong and weak. Where are the opportunities? What are the threats? What companies want to take their market share?

Often these environmental changes, combined with revised corporate strategies, cause an old, established company to split into separate entities in order to better serve the market and shareholders. For example, last year, Johnson & Johnson announced it will break into two companies serving (1) consumer health products and (2) pharmaceuticals. General Electric will split into three companies to serve (1) healthcare, (2) power, and (3) aviation. 

The most recent example of a large conglomerate breaking into separate companies is Kellogg. Kellogg is the latest large company to announce it is splitting businesses into separate entities. The North America cereal business will be around $2.4 billion in sales; the plant-based foods business at $340 million in sales; the global snacks business is the largest at $11.4 billion (and was 80% of Kellogg’s sales last year).

Each of these businesses faces different environmental factors, and of course markets its products to different segments. In this case, cereal is stable, plant-based is growing but with increasing competition, leaving snacks as a large and growing segment.

Breaking Kellogg into independent companies will help it focus on distinct strategic priorities and opportunities in each of the three markets. Snacking is a higher-growth market than is cereal. Plant-based foods are growing overall, but need attention. And all three companies face increasing competition not only from established companies such as General Mills and Mondelez, but also new companies building more plant-based and natural food products.

What would you do?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show WSJ video on why companies split up: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/news-explainers/why-conglomerates-split-up/F7EF3E9D-2D5D-4732-AA79-F41889C7D039
  2. Discuss when breaking up a conglomerate makes good business sense.
  3. Review Kellogg’s products and overall company: https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/home.html
  4. Show the company announcement of the split: https://investor.kelloggs.com/news-and-events/press-releases/news-details/2022/KELLOGG-COMPANY-ANNOUNCES-SEPARATION-OF-TWO-BUSINESSES-AS-BOLD-NEXT-STEPS-IN-PORTFOLIO-TRANSFORMATION/default.aspx
  5. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  6. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for dividing Kellogg into separate companies.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to answer the questions above. (ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  8. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kellogg?

Sources:  Gasparro, A. (21 June 2022). Kellogg splitting into three companies as it shifts focus to global snacks. Wall Street Journal.  

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