Tag Archives: research

A Ken Doll for Today’s Kids

To tell a good story and engage with a wide range of audiences, it requires a diverse set of characters. They have to look and act different. It would be a boring story if everyone was the same.

That’s one reason why Mattel has added new dolls to its Barbie collection. The latest addition is a series of different Ken dolls, with different body types, skin colors, eye colors, and hair styles. Kids can now select Ken with a ‘man bun’, cornrows, and freckles. It might make us smile to see Ken with a man bun hair style, but Mattel now has a wider number of Barbie styles than ever before. In total:

  • 40 new dolls
  • 7 body types
  • 11 skin tones
  • 28 hairstyles
  • 100+ diverse looks

The “New Crew” has a large line-up of dolls in almost all shapes and styles. Last year’s more diverse Barbie collection helped increase the division’s worldwide sales by 7%. Mattel’s research also shows that for every six to eight Barbies a child has, there is one Ken doll. All the more reason to show a wider range of looks to keep kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes interested in playing with Barbie dolls.

One future Ken idea: facial hair!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
  2. Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
  3. Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the new Ken dolls.
  7. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources   

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Dreaming of Flying

The dream of a flying car is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The latest version of flying comes from a company named Kitty Hawk. It doesn’t exactly look like a car though – it looks more like a jet ski with pontoons and propellers.

The vehicle is open and can carry one person. Powered by eight battery-powered propellers, the 220-pound vehicle takes off and lands on water and a platform. The Kitty Hawk Flyer is being promoted using a membership model – enthusiasts pay $100 to gain exclusive access to the Kitty Hawk and will get a $2,000 discount towards the yet-to-be-set price. There are barriers though for the new industry, including regulations. Plus, today’s batteries cannot yet support flights of the average daily commute, and where do you land if there is a problem?

This company is far from alone in its quest to create flying vehicles though. Challengers include more than a dozen other companies, including Terrafugia, Airbus Group, Volocopter, AeroMobil, and more.

Are you ready to fly away?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  2. Show the Kitty Hawk Web site and video: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. For this product, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  4. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  5. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: New York Times, other news sources

 

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New “Handle” Robot from Boston Dynamics

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot from Boston Robotics is called “Handle.” This robot stands 6.5 foot tall, can travel at a speed of 9 miles per hour, and can even jump a height of four vertical feet!  Handle can go up ramps, spin, bend, travel over uneven ground, stairs, and pick up and carry objects up to 100 pounds.  It uses electric power to operate hydraulic actuators and can cover 15 miles on a single battery charge. The robots use sensor-based controls and computation to build complex, state-of-art robotic devices.

Handle joins a unique product line of sophisticated robots. See them all and be amazed!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site and YouTube page: http://www.bostondynamics.com, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ.
  3. Show the latest video of Handle, plus other videos (these are guaranteed to get students excited).
  4. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Boston Dynamics, YouTube

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