Tag Archives: education

Net Neutrality and the Whopper

In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the net neutrality rules that guided businesses providing Internet access. The revised ruling potentially allows Internet Service Providers (ISP) to charge different rates for different Internet speeds and services. In essence, ISPs can charge customers more to get faster Internet speeds. And, customers who pay less would receive slower Internet speeds.

Unfortunately, net neutrality can be complicated to explain and is not always fully understood by many consumers. Enter: Burger King, using a Whopper to help explain how net neutrality works.

Whoppers? Those aren’t very technical. No, but they are a product that consumers expect to receive quickly (no matter what the price is). What would happen if a customer had to pay more to get a Whopper quickly? Or, as Burger King explains, what is the mpbs* for the service, and how much is a customer willing to pay for it (*Making Burgers per Second)?

Burger King set up a hidden camera at a restaurant location and watched how real customers reacted to having to wait longer for their burgers as employees deliberately slowed down their services. Customers could choose from slow mbps ($4.99/Whopper), fast mbps ($12.99), or hyper-fast mbps ($25.99). The results were hysterical, and revealing.

How much are you willing to pay for your Whopper (and Internet access)? The video clearly hit home with customers and went viral, racking up nearly 16 million views in less than a week!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by asking students to define net neutrality.
  2. Ask them about the recent FCC decision on net neutrality?
  3. What are student opinions about it? For or against, and why?
  4. Show the Burger King video:

https://youtu.be/ltzy5vRmN8Q

  1. After viewing the video, did anyone change their opinion?
  2. In teams, have students determine other topics that are difficult to explain and comprehend. (Ex: tariffs, quotas, etc.)
  3. Have each team develop an explanation using metaphors (such as Burger King did) to help consumers understand the implications of these complicated topics.

Source:  Nudd, T. (24 Jan., 2018). Burger King deviously explains net neutrality by making people wait longer for their Whoppers. Ad Week.

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My Special Aflac Duck Helps Kids with Cancer

Aflac’s cute mascot, the talking duck, does more than just try to sell insurance. The company has been committed to caring and treating children with cancer for more than 22 years; donating $120 million over that period. In its latest effort, Aflac worked with digital design and story-telling firm Sproutel to create My Special Aflac Duck, giving a stuffed toy the robotic treatment to help the duck comfort children’s cancer patients and make a positive change in the lives of children with childhood cancer.

There are more than 11,000 cases of childhood cancer annually in the U.S., and on average, children go through 1,000 days of treatment. More than most patients, children need emotional support to go through treatments, to communicate their feelings to caregivers, and not feel helpless in the face of cancer.

My Special Aflac Duck integrates social robotics into the field of medicine. With four patents pending (and a design award from 2018 CES), My Special Aflac Duck gives kids with cancer the chance to find joy by playing with it; helps kids engage by playing soothing sounds and calming heartbeats; and helps kids connect by being able to treat Duck just like they are being treated with IV and medicine. A special backpack provided with Duck includes an IV and emoji badges that help communicate feelings.

Duck has five touch sensors that help it connect with children through its facial expressions, sounds, and movements. It also has a special app that lets kids design special places to go to virtually where they can find comfort and joy.

Quack in support of helping children with cancer!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how companies can be socially responsible in their communities.
  2. Show The Verge’s video story about the Duck: https://youtu.be/LQy-qn_JMoM
  3. Show Aflac’s Web site for Duck: https://aflacchildhoodcancer.org/
  4. Sproutel’s Web site contains additional information on Jerry the Bear (diabetes care for children): https://www.sproutel.com/
  5. In teams, have students select an illness that affects youths. What could they develop to help these young patients cope with their illnesses?
  6. What companies could partner with them on the initiative. Why?
  7. Finally, as an option, there is a 10-minute TED Talk by the founder of Sproutel about how play can help children to deal with illness: https://www.ted.com/watch/ted-institute/ted-ibm/aaron-horowitz-can-a-teddybear-change-how-children-relate-to-their-own-disease

Source:  Hutchinson, M. (8 Jan. 2018) Robotic duck aims to help kids cope with cancer. Associated Press.

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The Internet Changes the World

Make no mistake – technology use is a global economic and communcation force. Consider that today more than two billion people use Facebook – that’s one-quarter of the world’s population! And, one in every five minutes online is estimated to be spent on Facebook. It’s potentially a juggernaut of massive proportions. With the extensive reach of Facebook and other technology companies such as Google and Apple, it is also a challenge to many countries’ governments control over their own citizen’s information sources and habits.

Whether it is politics, music, business, or education, the reach of global technology companies represents a challenge for businesses and marketers. This is particularly true when technology companies in essence subsidize connectivity in developing nations. Economies of nations rest on profit-driven technology companies based in Silicon Valley.

The Internet has a reputation of being a free-wheeling, anything-goes system that cannot be contained by nations. Or at least, not easily contained even in countries such as China and Vietnam. In the U.S., technology companies are facing new scrutiny by the government when it comes to politics, advertising, hacking, and controlling news. More than 50 counties have passed laws in the last five years to increase control over how their citizens use the Internet. And, in particular, digital privacy is a growing issue throughout European nations and the United States.

Where is the Internet going? And, how should marketing use it?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role that technology companies play in global economies and policies.
  2. Show the New York Times video: https://nyti.ms/2y8o8WC
  3. Discuss recent news about politics, hacking, news, bullying, privacy, and advertising buys.
  4. Divide students into groups. Have each group discuss what their experiences have been online.
  5. Task each team to come up with standards for how companies should use the Internet.
  6. Task each team to come up with five recommendations that could be implemented to improve online use and privacy.

Source: New York Times

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