Tag Archives: Environment

The World Needs a Better Toilet

In the United States we seldom think about the importance of toilets. Good hygiene and working sewage is just something that the average citizen assumes will always be there, and always work. However, this is not true for the rest of the world where hygiene is a critical health and wellness issue.

More than half of the world’s population – roughly 4.5 billion people – live without access to toilets and the safe sanitation they provide. Estimates are that globally, unsafe sanitation costs the world’s population $223 billion (yes, billion) a year in higher health care costs, lost productivity, and lost wages. It is an issue that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is taking very seriously, pledging $200 million over the past seven years to help reinvent toilets, and pledging another $200 million more to get companies to understand the problem – and business –  of human waste.

At the Reinvented Toilet Expo, held last fall in Beijing, companies showcased new toilets that could recycle water, separate urine from other waste, and even with solar roofs. Mr. Gates told the audience that human waste contains 200 trillion rotavirus particles, 100,000 parasitic worm eggs, and other harmful organisms.

This might not be an easy subject to discuss, and a lot of bad jokes will undoubtable be told in class, but it is an issue that affects the world, and one that product innovation can help to solve.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the business of waste, sanitation, and fixtures.
  2. What happens when sanitation is poor? What are the impacts?
  3. Show Bill Gates video: https://youtu.be/M9nRsJinHhM
  4. View Gates Foundation site: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/
  5. View Toilets for People for an example of a business: https://www.toiletsforpeople.com/
  6. Have students research other companies with a similar mission and objective.
  7. What social issues matter to the students?

Source: Wee, Sui-Lee (6 Nov. 2018). In China, Bill Gates encourages the world to build a better toilet. New York Times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

“Bear Resistant.” A Label that is Rigorously Tested.

Truth in advertising is important. Consumers today have a built-in detection system to weed out unrealistic and over-hyped claims that aren’t true. If a product makes a promise, then it should live up to it. We question claims such as organic, natural and others. These labels and promises are important, especially when it comes to the backcountry and using gear labeled ‘bear resistant.’ A broken promise for ‘bear resistant’ products means that both bears and people are in danger! (A saying in the mountains is that “a fed beer is a dead bear” – meaning that bears habituated to human foods are in danger from the humans.)

How does a product earn a ‘bear resistant’ badge? It’s simple. The bears are the actual product testers. Yes, 600-pound, hungry grizzle bears are the product testers at non-profit organization The Grizzle and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana. In order to keep bears and people safe, containers are put through rigorous testing by bears at the rescue center.

Picture it: Seven grizzles. Smart, large, and the ultimate sniff machines. Products are baited with the bears’ favorite foods. Coolers are padlocked (bears can open handles and latches), then placed in the bears’ enclosure. Bears go at it in their habitats, trying to break in and gain a food reward!

Once the bears start their “testing” process, the timer counts an hour to see if the bears can get into the coolers. Biting, smashing, bouncing, basically anything goes by these diligent product testers. If it passes – it gets certified as “bear resistant.” And if the bear gets in, then manufacturers review the video footage to see how the product fares with the grizzles. Some of the products that earned bear resistant badges are Bare Boxer, Bear Keg, Wise Backpack, Big Daddy, and more food canisters.

This has to be the ultimate in product testing.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Put students into groups. Have each group come up with common product labels and claims (e.g., organic, all natural, etc.). What is their opinion about how the claims are verified?
  2. Show the bear testing video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/296016960
  3. View the Web site for product testing: https://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org/research/product-testing/
  4. List of bear resistant products: http://igbconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181026_Certified_Products_List.pdf
  5. Have students develop positioning maps for outdoor products.
  6. How should the certification be used in marketing the products?

Source: Housman, J. (20 November 2018). This is how bears decide if gear deserves the ‘bear resistant’ tag. Adventure Journal; Outside magazine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Cannes Lion Awards: Best Outdoor Ad Campaigns

While today the definition of “outdoor advertising” for marketing goes far beyond the traditional highway billboard, outdoor advertising is still all about engaging the viewer. Billboards certainly have a place in marketing, and they are the most common form of out-of-home advertising that consumers see. However, marketers today can expand beyond a simple billboard sign on the side of the road, to an elaborate display on a beach of a whale sculpted with plastic trash.

Cannes Lions awards are among the most established awards for marketing, advertising, and creative professionals. The international competition includes three rounds of viewing, voting, and discussion and includes thousands of international submissions.

Among the top winners in this year’s category of outdoor ads:

  • Greenpeace Philippines, “Dead Whale”
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi, “Highway Gallery”
  • Hbo, “HBO’s SXSWestworld”
  • Burger King, “Scary Clown Night”
  • National Down syndrome Society, “C21”

Many of these examples include case studies and results. While it is tempting to think that an outdoor ad only impacts those who see it, in today’s fast-moving Internet-enabled world, a single outdoor installation has the power to span the globe and encourage change. Review the “Dead Whale” example of an outdoor display from Greenpeace Philippines to see just how powerful one advertisement can be.

What did you see today outdoors?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many different types of outdoor ads can they recall?
  2. What specific ads can they recall? Why?
  3. Discuss with the class the different forms out-of-home advertising.
  4. Show the Cannes Lions Web site: https://www.canneslions.com/our-awards
  5. If you do not have access to the Cannes Web site (sign-up is free), the ads can be found on Ad Week: https://www.adweek.com/creativity/the-12-best-outdoor-ad-campaigns-of-the-year/?utm_content=position_5&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=AW_Adfreak&utm_campaign=Adfreak_Newsletter_2018062914&s_id=516e0a4d191b2a646da5e880
  6. Divide students into teams. Assign each team a different campaign to review and analyze.
  7. Have each team debrief their analysis for the class. Have the class vote on their favorite and least favorite campaign. Why was it selected?

Source: Griner, D. (28 June 2018). The 12 best outdoor ad campaigns of the year. Ad Week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities