Tag Archives: global marketing

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Pepsi Buys Rockstar

Energy drinks are still a growth market, particularly as consumers shift away from sugary sodas and towards lower-calorie drinks. To gain market share, beverage companies are increasingly looking for new categories of drinks. And towards that end, PepsiCo recently acquired Rockstar Energy Beverages for roughly $3.85 billion dollars.

Acquisitions are a common way of entering new markets with new products. But acquisitions can also be problematic. Rockstar and Pepsi have decidedly different looks and branding, as well as different target markets and products. In addition to energy drinks, Rockstar makes sugar-free and low-calorie drinks, plus organic and fruit juice beverages.

The energy drink category is one that continues to grow, including new entrants such as Bang and A-Shock. And of course, Coca-Cola is in the mix with Monster. According to Mintel, energy drink and energy shot sales are approximately $13.5 billion; the market grew nearly 30% between 2013 and 2018.

Now that’s energy!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss acquisitions as a marketing strategy. When is this effective? When is it not effective?
  2. Show Rockstar Energy drink Web site: https://rockstarenergy.com/
  3. Show Pepsi Web site: https://www.pepsi.com/
  4. Rockstar YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RockstarEvents
  5. Pepsi YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Pepsi
  6. Have students compare the two sites. What are similarities and differences?
  7. Discuss the risks and challenges that Pepsi might have with the acquisition.

Source: Associated Press; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Bye, Bye VW Beetle

As marketers know, products have a life cycle that ranges from birth to decline. Every product eventually reaches its maturity stage where sales slow, and then it succumbs to a decline stage when the product is eliminated. Such is the case for virtually all products, including the indelible VW Beetle.

The Volkswagen Beetle has been around in some form since 1938, selling more than 24 million cars worldwide. The car was redesigned several times, most recently in the 1990s into the ‘new Beetle’. But now, VW has decided to pull the plug and will discontinue the iconic little car. As of 2020, no more ‘slug Bugs’ will be manufactured.

The Beetle was first introduced in the 1930s, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Hitler and known as a “people’s car.” It has been immortalized in films such as Disney’s “The Love Bug” and was also known as a car for hippies hitting the road in the 1960s and 1970s. The Beetle had an iconic shape that was easily recognizable and has a front grill with headlight ‘eyes’ that looks like a smiling face. It’s easy to smile when looking at a Beetle.

There is a ‘final edition’ Beetle which sells for $23,000 – $27,000. And like all good things, there is an end.

R.I.P. VW Beetle. You will be missed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Next, discuss the life cycle of automobiles and the VW Beetle.
  4. Visit the VW Web site at to view the final models: https://www.vw.com/models/beetle/section/overview/
  1. A video of VW Beetle manufacturing: https://youtu.be/McV7siceylU
  2. A farewell video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uKuYXNLGlOc
  3. News video about the Beetle’s last ride: https://youtu.be/0C38YYmNiEQ
  4. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle or be reinvented for a new life.

Source:  Ad Age; Automobile Magazine; Business Insider; Car and Driver; Forbes; other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities