Tag Archives: entertainment

Electric Bikes Take Off

The pandemic created a great deal of pain and turmoil for people as they worried about health and jobs. And, people made a lot of adjustments in their daily lives during, and now after, the pandemic. There have been supply chain disruptions in all industries, making it hard to get inventory to the customer.

Despite all the strain, one of the positive impacts in the past two years has been the uptick in sales of electric-bikes. In 2021, more than 880,000 e-bikes were sold, far surpassing the units sold of electric cars and trucks (at 608,000). Industry experts predict that more than one million e-bikes will be sold in the U.S. in 2022.

And why not. E-bikes are easy to use and greatly increase the speed of regular bike trips. No more huffing and puffing up a hill, only to arrive sweaty at a destination. And instead of driving, the e-cargo bikes can make the trip and haul groceries as well as the kids. Finally, let’s not forget about rising gas prices! (The more expensive gas gets, the better my e-bike looks.)

Many new e-bike firms are taking to the road by selling only online. However, buying online has one big flaw – the inability to touch and test the product before buying. There are plenty of testimonials and videos, but nothing beats actually experiencing an e-bike.

One solution from Belgian e-bike company Cowboy, is to take the bikes to the prospective customer. In ten cities in the U.S., prospects can request Cowboy ‘ambassadors’ to bring the bikes to them for a trial ride. A similar approach is being used by Rad Power Bikes. In addition to several stores, pop-up events and test rides bring the e-bikes to more places. Pedego e-bikes uses a different model and has more than 200 distributors where riders can try the e-bikes before they buy.

Ready to ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Have they ridden electric bikes? Where and how?
  2. View Cowboy bikes: https://us.cowboy.com/
  3. View Rad Power bikes: https://www.radpowerbikes.com/
  4. View Pedego bikes: https://pedegoelectricbikes.com/
  5. In order to be successful, companies must be able to physically get a product into the hands of the customers. Discuss how a distribution channel works.
  6. For Internet-based e-bike companies, what distribution channels are used now?
  7. How can the channel be expanded? What approach could be used?
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a flow chart for the distribution of the product.

Sources:  Boudway, I. (18 April 2022). E-bike online startup lets you ride before you buy.  Bloomberg News.; Hurford, M. (27 April 2022). New research shows that e-bikes are outpacing electric car sales in the U.S. Bicycling.com.

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“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.

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Branding in the Metaverse

In an average day consumers see thousands of different brands and messages. And all of them want our attention and money! But sometimes it’s too much and we long to escape all the noise. Perhaps a video game will give us that break from brands? Well, actually, no it will not. In fact, the metaverse is rapidly becoming a new platform for building brands and engaging consumers.

Let’s start with the metaverse. The metaverse is any kind of digital immersive experience on the Internet that is persistent, 3D, and virtual and it is not happening in the physical real world – or is it?  The promise of the metaverse gives us opportunity to play, work, connect, and buy. However, there is not just a single, universal metaverse. Instead there are multiple of these playgrounds/worlds and each has its own access, rules, and membership. If this sounds similar to video game settings, it is.

PC games have already created metaverse playboxes where players socialize with others such as Minecraft from Microsoft. Other entries include Roblox which allows players to create and play across numerous worlds. Another is Dencentraland – a 3D virtual world owned by users who create virtual structures and then charge others to visit. For example, Decentraland held an immersive Metaverse Festival for a music event featuring performances by Deadmau5 and others. Snoop Dogg holds private metaverse parties and offers exclusive NFTs.

Many brands are creating immersive branded experiences as well. For example, Nike has filed for patents for virtual goods and the opportunity to build virtual retail environments to sell those goods. Social media also plays a roll with virtual showrooms, fashion shows and dressing rooms. Other companies buy or rent digital space from the platforms. They can rent out digital land that they own to other brands, plus sell NFTs to consumers to build a new revenue stream. Metaverse Group, bought about 313,000 square feet in Decentraland’s fashion district (at a cost of $2.5 million) for a fashion week in March. Decentraland even has its own cryptocurrency for making transactions.

What should brands do to engage in the metaverse? It’s the same marketing principles as real life: Choose target markets, examine competitors, develop new products/services, and above all – be ready to pivot quickly.

After all, the virtual world is an extension of the real world, isn’t it?

Where will you go to play in the metaverse?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Define what the metaverse is for them.
  2. Poll students: List ideas for placing brands in the metaverse.
  3. Consider showing a video about the metaverse: https://youtu.be/99BnZ8js1_k
  4. Have students explore sites such as The Sandbox: https://www.sandbox.game/en/shop/?collections=26 , and Decentraland: https://decentraland.org/
  5. What are the strengths of the metaverse? Weaknesses? Opportunities?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a brand and then develop a marketing plan for expanding into the metaverse.

Source:  Alcantara, A. (3 March 2022). Marketers explore metaverse. Wall Street Journal; Balis. J. (3 January 2022). How brands can enter the metaverse. Harvard Business Review; Gunn., E. (2 February 2022). Building a brand in the metaverse. Fast Company; other news sources.

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