Tag Archives: shopping

Socks are Hot

We long for comfort and style in our dress. Sometimes the stylish fashions are not comfortable, but when it comes to socks, we can have both style and comfort now. Why settle for boring old dark dress socks when you can instead wear vibrant, colorful socks that express your personality and fashion sense?

Indeed, socks are booming right now. As people return to the office (and school), their clothing choices have changed. Comfort is more important the fancy dress. And not only have socks become fashionable, many companies also embrace a social mission with purchases.

For example, companies including Bombas  and London Sock Co. donate socks for every purchase made. Company MERGE4 partnered with the San Diego Zoo on a special edition that gives back to wildlife conservancy. And, Cicada uses its socks to raise awareness of environmental issues such as ocean waste and animal poaching.

Socks are a way to make a statement  without being garish. While these socks are more expensive than the mass-market white athletic socks, they are a low-cost way to stand out.

What’s on your feet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students to look at their feet. What are their socks? Athletic, dress, fashion?
  2. Show sock websites: Bombas: https://bombas.com/
  3. Cicada: https://www.cicadasocks.com/
  4. London Sock Co: https://www.londonsockcompany.com/
  5. Boardroom Socks: https://boardroomsocks.com/
  6. Merge4Socks: https://merge4.com/
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team review a different website selling socks as well as the company’s social media presence.
  8. What is the messaging for each company?
  9. How can these sites be differentiated and marketed?
  10. Have each team develop a social media marketing campaign for their company.

Source:  Ad Week; Footwear News

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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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Global Cuisine in the Supermarket

Why do grocery stores still have an ethnic foods aisle? This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite. While some people think this is a racist label, others just find it confusing and makes it hard to find the foods they want.

The origin of the ethnic food aisle date back to the start of supermarkets in the early 1900s. Prior to the 1920s, shoppers visited several independent shops (butcher, baker, etc.) for different foods and supplies. In fact, some stores retrieved all items from the shelves for the consumer – the consumer didn’t shop, or roam down aisles looking for foods. A clerk did the shopping for them.

The first major self-service grocery supermarket was Piggly Wiggly in 1916, located in Memphis, Tenn. The growth of supermarkets and self-service shopping required that foods be organized by like items and tastes so they could be found in the store. Items needed for international cuisine dishes were therefore placed together so that the recipe items could be easily purchased.

Today, the ethnic food aisles seem to be a hodge-podge of items. There might be Chinese ingredients, fish sauces, Mexican spices, Korean noodles, African flour, and others all pulled together in a central place. Even in that format, many shoppers like the variety of the aisle, considering it a place to find new or unusual flavors.

Some stores such as Kroger have integrated global foods into every aisle and seen great success. Other stores prefer to keep items separate so that they can be highlighted differently.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of grocery stores and shopping.
  2. Show a great video highlighting ethnic food aisle issues: https://youtu.be/4Q–YIt_0Hw
  3. For a longer exercise, divide students into teams and have them visit a local American supermarket. They can diagram aisles and take photos of shelves and foods.
  4. What are their observations about how and where more ethnic foods are stocked?
  5. How could ethnic foods be categorized in stores?

Source:  Business Insider; New York Times

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