Tag Archives: diversity

A Modern Potato Head Family

When is the last time you played with Mr. Potato Head toys? Well, it is still around but Hasbro is officially renaming the toy line “Potato Head” without the Mr. and Mrs. labels. The intent of the rebranding is to allow kids to show the many different faces of family, gender, and inclusion – and of course all in its beloved potato format!

Hasbro is not actually getting rid of Mr. Potato Head, who along with Mrs. Potato Head will retain their honorary family titles. However, the company will repackage the toys into a “Create Your Potato Head Family” set with two large and one small potato bodies, along with 42 different accessories in new colors and more inclusive messaging. The change is viewed as part of a larger movement towards greater diversity and inclusion for children and families.

Hasbro is far from alone in revising its toy lines. In 2019, Mattel launched customizable, gender-neutral dolls called “Creatable World” to allow kids to create their own characters. Mattel also has new more diverse Barbie dolls as well, reflecting the changes in society and women’s roles. And, American Girl dolls now has an American Boy to round out its collection.

Let’s play!

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
  2. Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
  3. Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
  4. Show the Potato Head site and video: https://corporate.hasbro.com/en-us/articles/create_your_potato_head_family_launching_this_fall
  5. Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
  6. Show American Girl dolls: https://www.americangirl.com/shop/c/boy-dolls
  7. Show Barbie dolls: https://barbie.mattel.com/shop/en-us/ba/barbie-dolls
  8. What other toys could use this approach?

Sources: AdWeek; New York Times; other news sources

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Netflix in Africa

Netflix seems to be in a stage of constant product development, as well as market development. While it originally started as a U.S.-based service, the company has moved aggressively into new geographies and now streams its programs in 190 countries and territories. The company now serves more than 100 million subscribers outside of the U. S.

ix has a complex business model in that it must secure content agreements by region and country. Regulatory restrictions also limit what content can be made available. Also, many international viewers are not fluent in English and prefer local-language programming. Such is the case in sub-Saharan Africa where Netflix is producing original content. The region has 1.1 billion citizens and is a largely untapped market. Streaming in Africa is estimated to grow from 3.9 million subscribers in 2020 to 13 million in 2025.

While Netflix is investing in African programming, it faces challenges in piracy, expensive mobile data, slow Internet speed, and a high rate of poverty. There is also plenty of competition in the market from both local and global providers. Pricing and sales requiring U.S. currency are issues as well. Netflix is testing a mobile-only subscription at $4.03 per month (59 South African rand).

Ready to watch?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Which strategy is Netflix using? Why?
  3. Show video on Netflix global expansion: https://youtu.be/JdtnX_P-4Qc
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market Netflix.
  5. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  7. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?

Source:  Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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Aira Service at Target Stores to Help Visually-Impaired Shoppers

At this busy holiday season, consider the (seemingly) simple task of shopping done by an able-bodied consumer. Now consider the same shopping task for someone who has a visual impairment. It must be a much more complex and time-consuming process, and is likely often frustrating waiting for assistance from store employees. After all, not everything can, or should, be done online. For many purchases, shoppers want to feel materials, sniff the freshness of produce, or have more information about the item.

Enter a service from technology company Aira and combine it with Target’s retail stores. Aira connects people who are blind or have impaired vision with highly-trained professionals who help provide visual information on demand via smartphones or wearable devices. The service blends wearables and smart phones with artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Aira’s mission is to make visual information accessible to anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

Target’s accessibility team worked with Aira to deploy a pilot program to 600 Target stores in 13 different markets. Shoppers in those areas can use Aira for free on a smart phone to receive on-demand information while shopping. Shoppers sign on with the Aira app and connect with customer service agents working remotely. The agents use the phone’s camera to guide shoppers through the store and describe items in detail.

The Aira service is also available at more than 40 airports and major public transit systems and college campuses. Not only can Aira agents provide direction and information, they can also read ingredients on boxes, understand color options, and have graphics described.

Now that’s progress.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the consumer buying process.
  2. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  3. How does the process change for visually-impaired consumers?
  4. Show information about Aira: https://aira.io/
  5. Videos are available on the Aira video channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvTWpoo6BVrn2pOFreWQGGw
  6. Information on how to use Aira at Target: https://aira.io/target
  7. How should the Aira services be marketed?

 

 

Source:  Kumar, K. (6 December 2019). Target offers free service for visually impaired shoppers at 600 stores for holidays. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

 

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