As marketers know, products have a life cycle that ranges from birth to decline. Every product eventually reaches its maturity stage where sales slow, and then it succumbs to a decline stage when the product is eliminated. Such is the case for virtually all products, including the indelible VW Beetle.
The Volkswagen Beetle has been around in some form since 1938, selling more than 24 million cars worldwide. The car was redesigned several times, most recently in the 1990s into the ‘new Beetle’. But now, VW has decided to pull the plug and will discontinue the iconic little car. As of 2020, no more ‘slug Bugs’ will be manufactured.
The Beetle was first introduced in the 1930s, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Hitler and known as a “people’s car.” It has been immortalized in films such as Disney’s “The Love Bug” and was also known as a car for hippies hitting the road in the 1960s and 1970s. The Beetle had an iconic shape that was easily recognizable and has a front grill with headlight ‘eyes’ that looks like a smiling face. It’s easy to smile when looking at a Beetle.
There is a ‘final edition’ Beetle which sells for $23,000 – $27,000. And like all good things, there is an end.
R.I.P. VW Beetle. You will be missed.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
- Next, discuss the life cycle of automobiles and the VW Beetle.
- Visit the VW Web site at to view the final models: https://www.vw.com/models/beetle/section/overview/
- A video of VW Beetle manufacturing: https://youtu.be/McV7siceylU
- A farewell video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uKuYXNLGlOc
- News video about the Beetle’s last ride: https://youtu.be/0C38YYmNiEQ
- Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle or be reinvented for a new life.
Source: Ad Age; Automobile Magazine; Business Insider; Car and Driver; Forbes; other news sources
Do you remember the last time you bought raisins? It may have been awhile if you are like many consumers who look for the newest products on the market.
Raisins have been a staple of many families; that box of Sun-Maid Raisins in your pantry is from one of the oldest farm cooperative organizations around. Sun-Maid has been in business since 1912 and the cooperative is owned by family farmers who grow raisins and grapes in the Central Valley of California. However, although longevity can be a powerful statement for a company, it can also keep a company from being seen as relevant and up-to-date by today’s younger Millennial consumers. This is the case faced by Sun-Maid.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Sun-Maid will be launching a nation-wide marketing campaign to attract new consumers. The challenge is clear: Raisins are not a top-of-mind snack and faces many challengers for valuable grocery store shelf-space. Consumers are attracted by innovative, new foods. And, while Sun-Maid has launched new flavors of sour raisin snacks, the need for a makeover was clear.
Maintaining growers is also crucial. Raisin acreage in San Joaquin Valley has declined and raisin crops have been replaced by higher value crops including almonds, wine grapes, and other crops. The challenge is to increase consumption, retain growers, and gain new consumers.
What kind of snack do you buy?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
- Review Sun-Maid Raisins: http://www.sunmaid.com
- For Sun-Maid, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
- Strengths: what is company good at?
- Weaknesses: what needs work?
- Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
- Threats: what should company be wary of?
- Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
- Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Sun-Maid?
Source: Rodriguez, R. (19 August 2018). Will adding a sour kick get millennials to eat raisins? Fresno Bee.