Tag Archives: Product innovation

Amazon’s Echo Glasses Frames

Does it seem like there are more wearable devices than ever in the marketplace? Well, get used to it. Already there are headphones, ear buds, jackets – there is a lot, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. One of the latest wearable device are the new Echo Frames smart glasses from Amazon, with always-on Alexa voice control.

The glass frames gives the wearer hand-free access to the Alexa services at any time. Alexa – Amazon’s digital assistant – can answer questions, take reminders, and even operate smart home gadgets. The frames let the wearer interact with Alexa, listen to music, podcasts, and more. The frames are controlled by swiping along the earpiece and microphones can be shut off on command. The sound is subtle; only the wearer can hear the Alexa replies.

Priced at $179.99, the frames can be customized with subscription lenses at any optometrist outlet. They currently work only with Android phones; no word on connecting to iPhones at a future time.

If you remember the Google Glass, one of the criticisms was the display with cameras. These Echo frames do not have that capability and there are no cameras.

Now our glasses not only help us see better, they also can cooperate and provide additional functions. How is your vision?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of wearables, including smart glasses.
  2. Show the Amazon Echo frames: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G62GWS4/ref=sxts_snpl_1_0_cb5e5e76-63c9-4995-ba6c-9e5dc465d041?pd_rd_w=96hzn&pf_rd_p=cb5e5e76-63c9-4995-ba6c-9e5dc465d041&pf_rd_r=DVD6DZKRH8TCMHNGS97B&pd_rd_r=2515e17b-55cd-4dd3-8278-8dabcc07c7ae&pd_rd_wg=eioFb&qid=1571077129
  3. Show video: https://youtu.be/gmVgPF4ofsE
  4. What are the opinions of the students about this device?
  5. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  6. For the Echo frames product, what is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for the product. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  8. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  9. How should the product be marketed to this target market segment?

Source: Amazon.com; Smith, D. (8 October 2019). Amazon Echo frames – here’s what you didn’t know about Amazon’s new smart glasses. C/NET.

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Finally – Female Army Soldier Toys!

It may have been a while since we played “Army,” but most of us can recall the little green plastic army men that we used to declare war on our siblings and friends! Those little toy men offered hours of inexpensive play and imagination. But, note the key word here: “men.” Where are the female soldier figures? After all, women have been in military service and combat for decades. Why haven’t the figures changed to reflect the new military? Good question.

After a fruitless search looking for female soldier figures, a six-year old girl in Little Rock, Ark., decided to write letters to toy companies asking for female soldiers. One company, BMC Toys based in Scranton, Penn., replied to her about the request. The company had been considering offering female figures, even going so far as sketching the female soldier figures in classic Army poses. The letter finally made the decision for the company and the new toys will be released in 2020. The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive and preorders are being requested. BMC plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help promote the toy and gain funding.

Let’s play Army!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of gender in toys with students. Have students list toys that are oriented to boys, and toys oriented to girls.
  2. What makes them different? Should there be different toys by gender?
  3. Show news video about the girl Army toys: https://youtu.be/i_eYnv_pCZs
  4. BMC blog post about the toys: https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project
  5. Have students search for female soldier toys on Amazon. What did they find? (What they will find are ‘pink colored’ soldiers, but still in male forms.)
  6. Next, divide students into teams. Have each team choose one of the male or female toys and develop a new product that would appeal to both genders.
  7. Have each team also develop a marketing program for the new toy.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, CNN, CBS Evening News, Fortune, and other news sources.

 

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for Mustard Ice Cream?

It is summer and we crave ice cream. Perhaps you are an ice cream addict. Perhaps you have tried virtually hundreds of flavors over the years. But, have you ever tried ‘mustard ice cream’? How have we lived without this flavor?

It’s not as strange as one might think. After all, there have been other crazy flavors of ice cream over the years: goat cheese ice cream, cilantro lime ice cream, curry and mint ice cream, sweet corn ice cream, lavender honey, and many more! And before you ask, yes, there is a ketchup-flavored ice cream which was created in honor of musician Ed Sheeran (who sports a ketchup tattoo), but it appears to only be available in Ireland.

The mustard ice cream was created by French’s and Coolhaus Ice Cream to celebrate National Mustard Day on August 3rd.  Unfortunately for all the mustard fans, the ice cream had a limited run of only a few days in New York and California locations. But, there is still good news – the recipe is available online for home chefs. The tart concoction is best served with a pretzel cookie to compliment the flavor.

Race you to the freezer!

P.S. Look at the fine print at the bottom of the container!

 

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss brand extension products (ex: Cheerios, Tide, etc.).
  2. What makes a brand extension successful? A failure?
  3. Divide students into team and have each team name five brand extensions.
  4. Show French’s Mustard Ice Cream site and video: https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/mustard-ice-cream
  5. What are the students’ response to the product?
  6. In teams, have each team develop an idea for another unusual food product that is based on popular flavors.
  7. Since the ice cream is not widely available, ask for a volunteer to make the ice cream – perhaps for extra credit? https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/recipes/dessert/no-churn-frenchs-yellow-mustard-ice-cream?utm_source=ice-cream&utm_medium=landing-page&utm_campaign=recipe-link

Source: Ad Week, CNN, USA Today, other news sources

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