Tag Archives: design

Forget about Coffee Pods. Use Coffee Balls

Raise your hand if you drink coffee every day. Yep, we thought so – lots of caffeine is used in students’ lives. Coffee is an essential part of our daily routine. The types of brewed coffee may vary, but coffee is consumed around the world and represents a significant export to many countries.

Americans alone drink 400 million cups of coffee every day; 85% of Americans have at least one cup of coffee at home each day. While estimates vary, about 42% of U.S. consumers own a single-cup coffee brewing system (such as K-Cups). Consumption of K-Cups now exceeds 30 billion units annually. That’s a lot of plastic waste!

While consumers love convenience, that convenience carries a cost to the environment with respect to the waste generated. Although many types of K-cups are now recyclable, couldn’t more be done to marry convenience with sustainability?

The answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” A new coffee brewing system is coming first to France and Germany from Swiss company Migros. The brewing system is called “CoffeeB” and it uses compressed balls of coffee grounds which are encased in a thin, tasteless, seaweed base that can be composted. The coffee balls will be available in multiple blends including espressos to decaf coffee and will include organic coffee options as well. No plastic waste!

Drink up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who drinks coffee? How much? How is it brewed?
  2. Show video of CoffeeB system: https://youtu.be/49eo8F2H7zY
  3. Show Website: https://www.migros.ch/en/content/coffeeb
  4. Divide students into teams. Have them us their laptops to research the coffee industry.
  5. Build an environmental scan of the factors impacting the coffee industry: social, economic, technology, competitive, and regulatory.
  6. What are the opportunities and threats for CoffeeB?
  7. Alternative assignment: Develop a marketing plan for introducing CoffeeB in the U.S.

Sources:  Rothman, L. (6 September 2022). How a ball of coffee could change your morning routine forever. Tasting Table.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

“Stranger Things” Branding

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the mid-80s, it echoes the trends and styles of small town America. It’s also a marketing phenom with dozens of product placements and tie-ins.

You can order a Domino’s pizza on the Stranger Things Dominos app extension. Or maybe you would rather eat Eggos, or 3D Doritos out of a Stranger Things-themed bag. Get dressed to go out wearing Nike and Adidas shoes. Drive a Cadillac or Chevrolet. And eat at Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Season 4 continues the marketing momentum. The marketing tie-ins for 100 brands of cars, drinks, food, and more equaled more than $15 million in advertising value. It’s not just the time on the screen that brands value. Billions of media impressions also deliver billions of dollars in media value for featured products.

Netflix claims that none of the brands and products are paid-for placements – they are part of the story and fit into the 1980s lifestyle. Some brands – such as Nike, Levi’s, and Coca-Cola – also re-released throwback products in conjunction with the show to maintain their authenticity.

And let’s not forget about the official Stranger Things official store (open for a limited time only)!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What have they observed in their purchases? Are the sizes or prices the same?
  2. View video about product placement on Netflix: https://youtu.be/UIKs0SCTxA4
  3. Outside classroom activity: Watch an episode or two of Stranger Things and list all the product placements.
  4. Show website for Concave brand tracking: https://concavebt.com/
  5. There are several good videos here on brand tracking and product placement.
  6. What is the difference between product placement and advertising?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a product placement strategy for a product of their choosing.
  8. Finally, check out the store: https://strangerthings-store.com/

Sources:  How Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ brand partnerships can turn its fortunes upside down. (27 April 2022). Fast Company.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities