Tag Archives: sustainability

Turn Bags into Eye-Catching Branding

Have you noticed that some businesses are getting rid of plastic bags? Or maybe you haven’t noticed because you are too busy figuring out how to store or get rid of your own growing plastic bag collection! The average family gains 60 plastic bags in four trips to the grocery store.

Make no mistake – plastic bags are indeed a problem for the environment. According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags and sacks are used annually in the U.S. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. consumers go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, at an estimated $4 billion cost to retailers.  It’s not just the cost that raises eyebrows – plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups.

However, only eight states ban single-use plastic bags; 14 other states have laws that protect the bags. Why so few bans? A combination of factors including deep-pockets of the chemical industry and the political influence of retailers and restaurants account for plastic bag sales of roughly $1.4 billion in the U.S. alone.

As a result of the widespread proliferation of bags, lawmakers across the U.S. are banning or considering banning single-use plastic bags. Replacements include reusable bags which can also provide retailers with a great opportunity to expand their brand awareness as well as lessen negative environmental impacts. This, of course, present marketers with a place to make an impact for the environment and the store brand.

What’s your favorite bag to carry?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Name stores that use their own bags instead of non-branded plastic bags.
  2. Plastic bag facts: https://conservingnow.com/plastic-bag-consumption-facts/
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a store that currently uses non-reusable plastic bags.
  4. Each team should next design a reusable shopping bag for these stores.
  5. Have each team present their design in class.
  6. Vote on the winners.

Source:  Ad Week; Conserving Now; Politico

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P&G Introduces New Detergent ‘Swatches’

Tide Pods were a revolution when they launched in 2012 and have since spawned a new look for many detergent and soaps as pods took over the laundry room. But what’s next? Could P&G top the Tide Pod craze? Perhaps. And the answer may be in producing a new product line without using a key ingredient – water.

The innovative products are not in the old soap and detergent forms; instead, they come in small swatches that look like fabric, but foam when water is added during washing and cleaning. The new product form substantially reduces the size and weight of detergents, making them lighter and smaller to package, ship, and store. There are eight types: hand soap, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, surface cleaner, and toilet cleaner.

Think about it. Instead of carrying home (or shipping) a gallon of detergent that can weight upwards of eight pounds, the new product can be carried home in a small box that weighs ounces, and is packaged in biodegradable boxes. This new size would allow P&G to sell direct to consumers. Pricing is higher than standard products though. A box of 60 body wash swatches are $19, while laundry detergent costs $29 for 30 swatches (compared to 81-pack of Tide Pods at $19).

One remaining topic is how to brand and name the new product line. It is currently being called EC30. P&G is still considering whether to create a new brand, or use another well-known P&G product name.

What is your opinion of the new product line?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show the IndieGoGo campaign that P&G used for proof of concept: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ds3-next-generation-cleaning-for-body-and-home#/
  3. A video of the product can be found at https://youtu.be/ToPjozrz6ME
  4. The product can also be found on Web site: https://ds3clean.com/
  5. For this product, what is the target market? Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc. (Note: Can the product be sold to organizations also?)
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Poll students: How should P&G brand/name the new product line?

Source: Terlep, S. (22 April 2019). Forget Tide Pods. P&G bets water-free soap ‘swatches’ are the future. Wall Street Journal.

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A&W Canada: No more plastic straws

Look at the photo above. What do you notice about? Yes, it states that “Change is good.” That’s a good thing of course. But, notice what the entire sculpture is made out of – plastic straws! These are the last of A&W Canada’s stock of plastic straws. The Canadian chain has been moving to paper straws over the last few months, and to celebrate the transition, it used its last 140,000 plastic straws to make the 35-foot sculpture.

Last summer, A&W Food Services of Canada promised to reduce landfill by eliminating the plastic straws. It was the first quick-service restaurant chain in North America to make such a bold promise to improve the environment.  The company estimates that the change will keep 82 million plastic straws from littering the oceans and land.

The ban on the plastic straws is one part of the company’s environmental initiatives which include food sources, packaging, energy, water usage, and waste.

Indeed, change IS good.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of environmental concerns on companies.
  2. What are companies doing about these concerns?
  3. View A&W Canada’s Web site values section: https://web.aw.ca/en/our-values
  4. What does this move do for the company’s brand?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the environmental values of a competing fast-food restaurants (e.g., McDonalds’, Wendy’s, etc.)
  6. How does A&W’s commitment impact its positioning in the marketplace?

Source:  Griner, D. (11 January, 2019). A&W Canada used the last of its plastic straws to make a sculpture announcing the change. AdWeek.

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