Tag Archives: television

The Changing Face of Selling Furniture

Consumers are used to buying small items such as books, music, and household goods online thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. But what about shopping for larger and more expensive items such as furniture? Is there a market for online sales of furniture?

It turns out that the answer to that question is “yes.” Wayfair, Inc., a Boston-based retailer has no physical stores with very minimal inventory, but it has grown to be the largest online-only retailer in the United States with revenue more than $2.25 billion! The company advertises itself as selling “a zillion things home” and carries more than seven million products, from rugs to sofas. Utilizing a supply network of more than 7,000 different furnishings suppliers, the company ships large bulky items direct from suppliers to the consumers.

While it might initially seem that consumers would not be interested in buying furniture online, Wayfair uses a unique combination of Web site along with television shows to showcase its products and designs. The show “The Way Home” sponsored by Wayfair airs on Lifetime TV on Saturdays. Different episodes focus on design challenges including the latest trends, utilizing small spaces, and decorating on a budget.

Go ahead, see how to make over your least-favorite room on a budget!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  2. For furniture buying, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  3. Next, show Wayfair’s Web site: https://www.wayfair.com/
  4. Show Wayfair’s TV show: https://www.wayfair.com/thewayhome/?&episode=10&clip=1
  5. How is the company using integrated marketing communications?
  6. For furniture, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Wayfair. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source:  Wall Street Journal   

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Super Bowl 2017 Advertising


With hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, the Super Bowl has become one of the premier venues for marketers. The thrills, the chills, the laughter, the tears – and that’s just the advertisements! At a cost of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time, the Super Bowl is also the most expensive advertising placement of any event or show. Add the costs of designing and producing ads, plus the integration into other marketing tactics, and a company can easily spend upwards of $6 million at a single event.

Love them or hate them, Super Bowl advertisements have become a talking point during and after the game. It’s a big stage, and can also be a big risk. With an audience of 111.3 million viewers, the 51st Super Bowl is now ranked as the third most watched TV program in U.S. history. And, days later, we are still watching ads and measuring results.

Watch the ads – which company do you think did the best, and worst, job on their advertisements?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up one of the Web sites that have all the Super Bowl ads: http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/ads-super-bowl-li-a-z/307736/#Gentlemen
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a Super Bowl ad to analyze and present in class.
  3. What is the target market, key message, and offer from the ad?
  4. How does the ad integrate with a company’s other advertisements?
  5. Are the messages integrated with a company’s Web site and social media?
  6. As a class, after each commercial have students assign one to five stars for the advertisements. Which advertisement won the class vote?

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

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Celebrity Endorsements Can Help or Hurt Brands


Companies will pay handsomely to celebrities in order to associate their products with the celebrities. Think about all the celebrities seen daily on advertisements. After all, if the product is good enough for someone famous, it’s good enough for us, too. Yet, this practice is fraught with peril – if public opinion about a celebrity and his/her actions are negative or illegal, it certainly impacts the brand’s credibility, as well as the celebrity’s endorsement contracts.

A recent case involves tennis star Maria Sharapova who was banned from competing in tennis for two years after she tested positive for a drug on the banned list. Even though she is banned from tennis, companies including Nike, Head, and Evian are all still maintaining contracts with her. In this case, partly because Sharapova admitted to taking the drugs, albeit without knowledge of the ban, has apologized for the mistake, and companies think her endorsement is still valuable.

Who are the most-liked celebrity endorsers? According to a study by Nielsen Group, the top celebrity is Liam Neeson (for Supercell Game). He is followed by Pierce Brosnan (for Kia), Matthew McConaughey (for Lincoln), Jennifer Garner (for Capital One), and J. K. Simmons (for Farmers Insurance).

Who should endorse your company?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use of celebrities in product promotion and endorsement. Why are celebrities used in promotion?
  2. Divide students into teams: Have each team list 10-15 different celebrities along with the products they endorse?
  3. What are examples of poor endorsement choices by companies?
  4. Poll students: Who are celebrities that they would view positively (and negatively) as endorsers?
  5. Show the list of the most-liked celebrities from Nielsen: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/they-really-like-me-the-most-liked-celebrity-endorsers-of-q1-2015.html
  6. In teams, assign each team a popular product and have teams determine a celebrity and campaign to use.

Source: Ad Age Daily, Brandchannel.com, Nielsen



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