Tag Archives: marketing mix

Was The Force with You? Columbia’s Star Wars Jackets

The newest movie in the Star Wars franchise is now in theaters and fans can’t get enough of the series of popular movies, or the Star Wars’- related products. The products are flying off the shelves as if they were under control of The Force. We are particularly sad to report that Columbia’s exclusive Star Wars-themed Echo Base outerwear collection sold out within minutes after its release! (Cross that one off your Christmas shopping list.)

Columbia released three jackets based on those worn by Luke, Leia, and Han while on the icy planet of Hoth. Luke’s jacket was designed to be “warmer than a tauntaun.” Han’s jacket reminds us to “Never tell me the odds.” And with Leia’s jacket, “May the force be with you.”

The company made only 1,980 coats (Get it? 1980 was the year of The Empire Strikes Back release) and they sold out online almost immediately, with very few left in stores. According to Columbia, the Luke jacket sold out in 5 minutes 22 seconds; the Han parka in 6 minutes 23 seconds; and the Leia jacket in 7 minutes 05 seconds. Not quite hyper-drive speed, but pretty darn fast nonetheless.

Columbia said the jackets were “built to withstand freezing temperatures on Hoth or other galaxies closer to home.” Unfortunately for fans, there are no plans to create more jackets.

Never underestimate the power of The Force, or a limited release.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the power of entertainment for marketing products.
  2. Poll students. What products related to movies or shows can they recall? Have they bought any of these?
  3. Show Columbia’s Star Wars-themed site: https://www.columbia.com/starwars/
  4. Discuss why the product sold out so quickly? Who was the target market? What role did exclusivity play in the sales?
  5. Should Columbia make more of the jackets?

Source:  Griner, D. (2017, Dec. 8). Columbia created a line of Empire Strikes Back’ jackets and sold out in minutes. Adweek.

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Tech’s Successes and Failures

Don’t get me wrong – success is great. It’s certainly a lot better than failing. Yet, not every new product meets with success. Sometimes, there are massive flame-outs as a hotly anticipated new product fails to achieve market success. It’s the wise marketer who examines the failures and identifies where it all went wrong.

Technology is one of the most visible industries for both success and failure. Consider the Apple Newton: Failure. Compared to the Apple iPhone: Success. And, technology that seems a sure bet to be quickly adopted takes years, even decades to reach fruition. Consider: Artificial Intelligence.

Some of this year’s failures were massive missteps. Probably one of the scariest and widest reaching failure has to do with cyber security. No one’s personal data seems safe from hackers, and companies that consumers depend on to keep their private information safe have failed. Consider: Equifax. Consumer information including social security numbers and driver’s license data for 145 million Americans was hacked and has caused headaches that could reoccur for years into the future.

On the product side, consider: Juicero. The start-up company raised $120 million from investors but closed its doors this fall. This one isn’t too hard to figure out – Juicero sold a juicer for $700 that could only press produce that came packaged in its own proprietary bags. And, the juicer took longer than someone squeezing the bags by hand.

But successes still abound. Consider these products that achieved market acceptance and gain rave reviews and sales: Apple Watch 3, Nintendo Switch, smart home products, and virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri.

The line between success and failure is slim, but it can be seen, and oftentimes can be fixed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the factors that most impact success and failure for new products and services.
  2. Poll students: What products or services do they think were successes this year? Failures? Why these products?
  3. Show Juicero: https://youtu.be/5lutHF5HhVA
  4. Show the Apple Watch: https://www.apple.com/watch/
  5. Show Nintendo Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/switch/
  6. What is it that makes these products successful or not? What should marketers do?

Source:  Chen, B. (2017, Dec. 13). The biggest tech failures and successes of 2017. New York Time.

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Who Needs Advertising? Not Tesla.

Tesla continues to defy common advertising and marketing conventions, yet still managed to become a valuable brand and hot product. The company does not advertise or promote its cars through traditional media. This lets the company save a great deal of money, and focus on its design and manufacturing.

Tesla’s Model 3 goes on sale for an estimated delivery in the fourth quarter of this year. To date, without any advertising other than word-of-mouth and free media coverage, customers have put down $1,000 deposits on nearly 500,000 cars! According to the company, it continues to average 1,800 net orders per day.

This is an enviable position for the automaker considering that Nissan spent $4.3 million in advertising on its electric Nissan Leaf car, and General Motors spent $3.7 million on the Chevy Bolt electric car. Tesla may not sell as many vehicles, but its cost per vehicle is virtually non-existant.

The top five and bottom five spenders based on 2016 advertising are:

  • Hyundai Genesis – $6,821/vehicle sold
  • Lincoln – $2,719/vehicle sold
  • Jaguar – $2,376/vehicle sold
  • Fiat – $2,350/vehicle sold
  • Cadillac – $1,493/vehicle sold
  • Toyota – $353/vehicle sold
  • Dodge – $348/vehicle sold
  • Honda – $322/vehicle sold
  • Porsche – $283/vehicle sold
  • Tesla – $0/vehicle sold

It shows that while advertising is an important marketing tool, it is far from the only way to gain customers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various promotional tactics that can be used for launching a product.
  2. Have students come up with tactics and list all the tactics on the white board (ex: billboards, print, direct mail, etc.).
  3. Divide students into groups to work on this exercise.
  4. Show Tesla’s Web site: https://www.tesla.com/
  5. Videos are available on Tesla’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TeslaMotors
  6. For Tesla, have each team select three different tactics. For each tactic, explain why it was selected and how it will be used.
  7. Debrief by putting together the entire suggested lists on the white board. As a final step, have the entire class vote on the top three tactics to use.

Source:  Ad Age Daily, Kantor Media, Automotive News

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