Tag Archives: Food

Snack Robots are Invading Campuses

Robots are invading! Ok, maybe they aren’t exactly invading the entire nation, but they do seem to be infiltrating some college campuses. Rest easy though – these robots seek not to dominate, but instead to satisfy students’ craving for delivered snacks.

The self-driving robots are being tested for “last mile delivery” courtesy of PepsiCo, and have been deployed to serve students at the University of the Pacific’s campus in Stockton, Calif. The robots, developed by robotic company Robby Technologies, carry a variety of healthy snacks and drinks from Pepsi’s ‘Hello Goodness’ product line. Ordering and delivery on campus is easy using an app that is available to all students with a University of the Pacific email address. With a single charge, the robot can travel 20 miles to find a multitude of consumers eager for a quick snack.

The robots do have a normal work hour shift of 9-5 (sorry, no late night munchies) and deliver products to 50 areas around the campus. The robots are equipped with cameras and headlights so that they can navigate in rain and darkness. And, with six-wheels and all-wheel drive, curbs, rough paths, and steep hills can be handled with ease.

Students – are you hungry now?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of robots and drones on marketing.
  2. Show a video of the Pepsi SnackBots: https://youtu.be/skUbYVmRogI
  3. More information can be found at Pepsi’s Website: https://www.pepsico.com/news/press-release/pepsicos-hello-goodness-snackbot-is-off-to-college01032019
  4. Information on the robots from Robby: https://robby.io
  5. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  6. Break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
  7. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  8. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: Ad Week, other news sources

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A&W Canada: No more plastic straws

Look at the photo above. What do you notice about? Yes, it states that “Change is good.” That’s a good thing of course. But, notice what the entire sculpture is made out of – plastic straws! These are the last of A&W Canada’s stock of plastic straws. The Canadian chain has been moving to paper straws over the last few months, and to celebrate the transition, it used its last 140,000 plastic straws to make the 35-foot sculpture.

Last summer, A&W Food Services of Canada promised to reduce landfill by eliminating the plastic straws. It was the first quick-service restaurant chain in North America to make such a bold promise to improve the environment.  The company estimates that the change will keep 82 million plastic straws from littering the oceans and land.

The ban on the plastic straws is one part of the company’s environmental initiatives which include food sources, packaging, energy, water usage, and waste.

Indeed, change IS good.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of environmental concerns on companies.
  2. What are companies doing about these concerns?
  3. View A&W Canada’s Web site values section: https://web.aw.ca/en/our-values
  4. What does this move do for the company’s brand?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the environmental values of a competing fast-food restaurants (e.g., McDonalds’, Wendy’s, etc.)
  6. How does A&W’s commitment impact its positioning in the marketplace?

Source:  Griner, D. (11 January, 2019). A&W Canada used the last of its plastic straws to make a sculpture announcing the change. AdWeek.

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Christmas is in the Air!

Can you smell it? It’s that time of the year when Christmas is in the air! Oh, lift your face and smell the scent of fir trees, pine cones, fresh cold air, and KFC fried chicken in the air! Wait, what, KFC fried chicken in the air? That’s become a Christmas scent?

Yes, KFC decided that Christmas needs more food smells, particularly its famous fried chicken with 11 herbs and spices. To that end, the company recently sold out of its five-pound fire logs that were scented with fried chicken. Relax though, no chickens were harmed and none are burned as part of the fire logs, which are made out of recycled materials. The logs burn up to 2.5 to 3 hours and have a caution applied – burning it may result in a crazing for fried chicken (plus it may attract hungry bears or neighbors).

KFC isn’t the only company applying scents to the holidays. General Mills is also using scents in movie theaters to entice consumers for its Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. General Mills is using scent machines at 200 theaters to push out a subtle scent of freshly cooked cinnamon rolls during pre-show commercials.

Why the emphasis on scents in marketing? Studies have indicated that smell is strongly linked to memory recall. Consumers link scents to memories, making them more inclined to purchase products that generate happy memories.

What smells do you like?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are the scents of Christmas?
  2. Show the KFC yule log site: https://www.kfc.com/fire-log
  3. Show a video about KFC logs: https://youtu.be/b-4Yh8_4vZI
  4. Show the Pillsbury cinnamon theater commercial: https://youtu.be/z_ie4wdXyXM
  5. Divide students into teams.
  6. Have each team develop a marketing tactic using “scents” to improve branding and sales.
  7. What are the drawbacks to this type of marketing?

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Entrepreneur, Ad Week, Fox News, other news sources

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