Tag Archives: merchandising

The Squid Games Phenomenon

By this point in time, you have most likely heard about the hit show “Squid Games.” The South Korean series playing on Netflix is now the most-watched Netflix show ever – beating out recent hits as “Bridgerton,” “Lupin,” and “Stranger Things.”

In the unlikely case you haven’t seen or heard of the show, the dystopian drama is set on a mysterious island where all the game-players are literally playing for their lives. Dressed alike in teal-green track suits and white canvas sneakers, the 456 numbered players are forced to play children’s games (such a red-light green-light, marbles, and tug-of-war) to the death in order to pay off their crushing load of debt. They are controlled by faceless workers who also dressed alike in red jumpsuits and black masks.

While the high level of viewers watching the show isn’t too surprising, what is surprising is the level of merchandise being sold for the show. Not only are the track suits and t-shirts sold on Netflix, Walmart is also carrying the apparel on its website as part of the “Netflix Hub” of merchandise, along with Squid Game card games. The Walmart deal is the first online storefront that Netflix has created with a national retailer.

Netflix is a certainly an industry behemoth and now has more than 200 million subscribers around the globe. But it faces increasing competition from other streaming platforms such as Amazon, Disney+, and Apple+ TV. It is also entering the video game space in order to retain, and attract, subscribers. Original shows such as this one create buzz and garner more subscribers.

But, are you willing to play?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the show. Who has seen it? What are their thoughts about it.
  2. Show a trailer of the show at: https://youtu.be/oqxAJKy0ii4 (Warning: There is violence in the trailer.)
  3. Show the Netflix merchandise site at: https://www.netflix.shop/collections/shop-squid-game-merchandise
  4. Show Walmart’s Squid Games website store: https://www.walmart.com/search?q=squid+games
  5. What is the target market for Netflix? For the Squid Games show?
  6. Based on the target market profile, will the merchandise be a draw for those customers?

Source:  Ad Week; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Victoria’s Secret Updates Brand Personality

Branding is a critical thing – while usually a strong marketing point, it can also be used to defeat you. Think about brands that need to be revised, even if they have a strong position.

Let’s try it. What is the first brand that comes to mind for the phrase “sexy women’s lingerie?” Go ahead, think. I’ll wait. (Yeah, right, I don’t need to wait more than a brief second.) You said “Victoria’s Secret,” right?

Now, picture the Victoria’s Secret’s advertisements and images. The images focus on bodies that would be at home in Playboy magazine; bodies encased in wings, feathers, bangles, and sparkles.  Sexy supermodels. Remember the Victoria’s Secret Angels and TV fashion show? Certainly glitzy and entertaining, but not really an honest portrait for or of the average woman, and certainly not an image that connotes strong, fearless, women and their accomplishments.

The brand has recognized that it needs a refresh for today’s culture, and to that end has garnered representation from female trailblazers and icons including: Megan Rapinoe (soccer), Eileen Gu (Chinese American skier), Paloma Elsesser (biracial model and size 14), and Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Indian actor and tech investor), Valentina Sampaio (Brazilian trans model), Adut Akech (South Sudanese refugee and model), and Amanda de Cadenet (photographer).  Not a supermodel in the bunch.

Victoria’s Secret new approach is to become a leading global “advocate” for female empowerment, focusing on women’s reality rather than male fantasy images. The stakes are high. With a market share of 21%, revenue of more than $7 billion, 1,400 stores, and 32,000 retail jobs the company has a lot on the line. Critics decry the company’s links to a misogynistic culture that honored sexism, sizeism, and ageism.

Looks like rebranding can be a good thing.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What brand comes to mind when you say “sexy female lingerie?”
  2. What images come to mind for Victoria’s Secret? What do the models look like? What is the focus of the advertising?
  3. Does this focus reflect today’s female culture?
  4. What do students think could be done to bring Victoria’s Secret branding to a more relevant place?
  5. Show a recent video: https://youtu.be/Pe3Nob7QM28
  6. Show the website: https://www.victoriassecret.com/us/
  7. What brands compete with Victoria’s Secret?
  8. What is their positioning?

Source:  New York Times; other news sources

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A Retail Chain for Covid-19 Essential Products

Covid-19 has drastically impacted virtually every part of our lives from school to shopping. It has had a devastating impact on businesses, particularly retailers. The coronavirus outbreak caused the majority of retail businesses across the nation (and world) to temporarily close for several months. It has also caused the bankruptcy filings of 27 retailers so far in 2020, including big brands such as Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, GNC, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney. Thousands of retail stores have already shut down, with many more to come later in 2020.

But for one new retail chain, the coronavirus caused them to open a new business – selling Covid-19 essential products in malls and downtowns. The store is actually called “Covid-19 Essentials” so there is no doubt as to its business focus and clientele. The chain has several locations in Denver, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and has plans to open in smoke-thick California.

The stores sell face shields, personalized masks, portable UV lights, air purifiers, cellphone sterilizers, thermal facial recognition devices, and even a hygienic toilet seat. To enter the store, customers check their temperature with a digital forehead scanner. A sink near the entrance allows customers to wash their hands before handling products.

Now this sounds like a safe place to shop.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on retail.
  2. Have students list all the businesses that have had to adapt in some way and businesses that closed.
  3. How have retail stores adjusted to Covid-19 in their midst?
  4. Show video of Covid-19 Essentials store: https://youtu.be/5idLkCNaB6o
  5. Show the web site for the New York store: https://www.cv19essential.com/
  6. Divide students into groups. Have each group review the website, products, and prices.
  7. Discuss the long-term viability of this store.

Source:  New York Times; Retail Dive

 

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