Tag Archives: entertainment

The Changing Consumer Spending

Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy, accounting for roughly 68% of the GDP. The spending includes everything we buy: food, services, entertainment, groceries, haircuts, and more. From the beginning of the year (when the economy was up), the nation has seen rising unemployment, and that means less wages to spend.

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are changing consumer behavior – what we spend our income on as well as how much we spend. As consumers have weathered the coronavirus pandemic and states have enforced lock-downs for shopping and entertainment, our spending and saving habits have shifted.

Interestingly, personal income rose 10.5% in April, the result of a rise in government rescue programs and household stimulus payments. But consumers also cut their spending on restaurants and hotels, as well as cut health care expenditures. In regards to large purchases, spending on autos declined 30% and furniture and appliance spending cut by 20%.

The first few weeks of the pandemic brought consumers out in mass to stock up on pantry items including toilet paper, soup, macaroni, beans, and other comfort foods. The next few weeks saw consumers buying more basic ingredients as they cooked more meals at home.

What’s next for consumer shopping changes?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: In the past month, roughly how much money have they spent? What items have they purchased?
  2. Is this spending different than what they experienced before the coronavirus pandemic? How is it different?
  3. Show video from WSJ about spending: https://www.wsj.com/video/consumer-spending-slid-in-april-here-why-that-matters/14661D9B-8251-43EB-B082-EDDE09187E2F.html
  4. Discuss trends in items being purchased.
  5. How should companies be using these changing habits to their advantage? Should marketing campaigns change?

Source: Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Celebrating Everyday Heroes

We tend to think of heroes as extraordinary people who can fly through the skies, leap tall buildings, and vanquish evil doers. That is still true. However, given the difficult times today dealing with the coronavirus, we can see heroes wherever we look – people who risk their lives in the service of others during this global pandemic. The ordinary things that we once took for granted now deserve extra respect and thanks; to the health care providers who risk infection, to the delivery truck drivers, and grocery store employees who interact with us every day to make sure we have the food and supplies we need.

To honor these everyday heroes who support us, Mattel and Fisher-Price have launched a special edition collection of 16 action figures that commemorate doctors, nurses, EMTs, delivery drivers, and  a five-figure Little People Community Champions set that also include grocery workers. These are our neighbors and friends who keep our communities up and running. The action figures are part of a campaign named #ThankYouHeroes and the proceeds go to #FirstRepondersFirst initiative created to support first responders.

Mattel is also producing face shields and masks, plus has donated toys to nonprofit partners around the world, and launched the ‘Mattel Playroom’ as an online resource for caregivers to help keep children entertained at home.

Celebrate the heroes in your life.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various ways in companies can take actions to improve their social responsibility in the pandemic.
  2. Show a video of the new product line: https://youtu.be/kC9NnIRRUjQ
  3. View Mattel’s Website: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/playroom-thankyouheroes?icid=plp_body-1_aspot_thank-you-heroes_p1
  4. Divide students into teams. Have students search the Internet for examples of how companies are responding to virus and helping to prevent illness and protect workers.
  5. What additional ideas do students have for companies to help communities?

Source: Ad Week; CBS News; CNN; additional news sources

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Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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