Tag Archives: shopping

Made in the USA?

It’s that patriotic time of year in the USA when citizens (and shoppers) show their support and pride in America. As could be expected, companies that advertise their patriotism can use it as a very effective marketing tool. After all, people want to be proud of their country and its accomplishments. But, what does it really mean when a company promotes its product as being “made in the USA?”

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if a product is advertised as “Made in the USA” then “all or virtually all” of the product must have been made in the U.S. But, what does “virtually all” mean?

Again, the FTC states that the product should contain no (or negligible) foreign content. This means that all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin and final processing must also take place in the U.S. (includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories and possessions). These rules also apply to products that might not explicitly claim “made in the USA,” but may use images or American flags or U.S. maps, such as stating “true American quality.”

Take a close look at companies that state “made in the USA” and make sure the claim in legitimate.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What does it mean if a product advertises that it is made in America? What products make this claim?
  2. Show the FTC requirements: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-made-usa-standard and have students examine the requirements.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team search the Internet for products that claim to be “made in the USA” and examine if the claims are accurate.
  4. For products that do not make a full made in USA claim, what are other messages that could be made to clearly identify origins and processes?

Source:  Truth in Advertising

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ReUse and ReCycle IKEA Products

Sustainability is an important topic to consumers and companies alike. We all hate to waste products and materials if they might have a future use. And, yet, it sometimes seems as if certain products are made to deliberately fall apart sooner than we consumers thinks they should. What should a consumer do? Well, one answer is to repurpose the aging item. Case in point: IKEA’s Stockholm carpet.

IKEA continues its efforts to help consumers think of ways to reuse its products (remember the “Big Blue Bag” article we wrote recently?). The latest idea from the company is 18 different ways to turn an old Stockholm carpet into new items, instead of just throwing it out. Some of the creative ideas include:

  • Doormat
  • Dog blanket
  • Shopping bag
  • Snowshoes
  • Stair carpet
  • Punching bag
  • Compost insulator
  • Scratching post

Think of items in your house. Can they be reused instead of tossed in the trash?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how companies can take initiatives on recycling and reusing worn items. What are examples that students can think of?
  2. Show IKEA’s Stockholm blog: https://m2.ikea.com/no/no/ideas/-ebc301c155a511e7b6087300b3bddef9, and play the video.
  3. What are other products and companies that could use a similar approach to recycle and reuse?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team work on a product that could be reused into a new product.
  5. Alternative: Bring in old rugs or other products and have each team work on repurposing the item into something new.

Source:   Creativity Online

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The Big Blue Bag

If you have ever been to IKEA – or even seen a catalog – you are probably familiar with the iconic FRAKTA bag. It’s big, sturdy, easy to clean, lightweight, inexpensive, with handles, and is blue. It lasts a long time, stores in small spaces, and has virtually unlimited uses. And to top it all off – it only costs $0.99!

A few months ago though, high-end fashion house Balenciaga started selling another big blue bag that looks suspiciously like FRAKTA. But, that bag is priced at a whopping $2,145! As often happens in situations like this, people went crazy with hacks to show how to turn the blue bag into other items. Some of the creative ideas included shoes, hats, face masks, baby bibs, capes, blankets, wallets, and more.

IKEA then took the idea and ran with it by improving the FRAKTA bag with patterns printed on the bag and instructions on how to repurpose it (no tools included). In fact, the company even has additional uses posted on its Web site.

Since it would be crazy to cut up a thousand dollar bag, Balenciaga’s bag is not very likely to have multiple uses, thus leaving IKEA free to innovate on a common product.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding for companies and products.
  2. What happened when Balenciaga came out with its shopping bag? How does this affect both brands?
  3. Show the videos about the bag from IKEA:



  1. Also show the Web site: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/ideas/201630_idip02a/
  2. Bring several of the blue bags (the cheap one) to class. Divide students into teams and have each team create a new use for the bag/material.
  3. Are there other common inexpensive products that could be repurposed?

Source:  Mashable, Brandchannel.com, other news sources   

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