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Consumer Electronics Show 2022 Tackles the Future of Tech

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the world for introducing innovative technology products from around the globe. Even during the ongoing pandemic, the Las Vegas-based show brought in nearly 45,000 attendees to the show floor. Plenty of people also ‘attended’ online with companies showing both concepts and real-life products. Attendees arrived from 119 countries to engage with emerging technologies and products across 11 different indoor and outdoor venues.

A diverse group of 2,300 companies (including 800 start-ups from 19 countries) showcased the latest innovations in the metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrency, sustainability, wellness, transportation, entertainment, robotics, automotive, consumer goods, and more. And while the metaverse may be mostly just a concept today, CES illustrated how the building blocks it needs are already around, including blockchain, cloud, AR, VR, 5G, and more.

The show also provided looks at products in the marketplace as well as products-yet-to-be-launched in categories including:

  • Wellness and beauty
  • Smart devices for the home
  • Content creation
  • NFTs and crypto
  • Healthcare
  • Shopping and ecommerce
  • Artificial intelligence
  • eSports and sports tech
  • FinTech
  • Food tech
  • Pet tech
  • Workplaces
  • And of course – robots!

One of my personal favorites – BMW’s color-changing car!

What’s your favorite innovation from CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. Also discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.
  3. Show a summary video about COVID-19 products at CES from the Wall Street Journal – CES in photos: https://www.wsj.com/story/ces-2022-in-photos-a-strange-time-for-the-worlds-biggest-tech-show-a247b630?mod=djemfoe
  4. Additional summary videos can be found on YouTube, such as: https://youtu.be/GAzygeV_AsM
  5. View the CES Web site: https://www.ces.tech/
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  7. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product?
  8. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace? What products miss the mark?

Source:  C/NET; TechRadar; The Verge; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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A Modern Potato Head Family

When is the last time you played with Mr. Potato Head toys? Well, it is still around but Hasbro is officially renaming the toy line “Potato Head” without the Mr. and Mrs. labels. The intent of the rebranding is to allow kids to show the many different faces of family, gender, and inclusion – and of course all in its beloved potato format!

Hasbro is not actually getting rid of Mr. Potato Head, who along with Mrs. Potato Head will retain their honorary family titles. However, the company will repackage the toys into a “Create Your Potato Head Family” set with two large and one small potato bodies, along with 42 different accessories in new colors and more inclusive messaging. The change is viewed as part of a larger movement towards greater diversity and inclusion for children and families.

Hasbro is far from alone in revising its toy lines. In 2019, Mattel launched customizable, gender-neutral dolls called “Creatable World” to allow kids to create their own characters. Mattel also has new more diverse Barbie dolls as well, reflecting the changes in society and women’s roles. And, American Girl dolls now has an American Boy to round out its collection.

Let’s play!

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
  2. Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
  3. Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
  4. Show the Potato Head site and video: https://corporate.hasbro.com/en-us/articles/create_your_potato_head_family_launching_this_fall
  5. Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
  6. Show American Girl dolls: https://www.americangirl.com/shop/c/boy-dolls
  7. Show Barbie dolls: https://barbie.mattel.com/shop/en-us/ba/barbie-dolls
  8. What other toys could use this approach?

Sources: AdWeek; New York Times; other news sources

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Doggie Desserts

We love our dogs, always asking them “who’s a good dog?” And then of course, rewarding and treating our very good dogs. One snack that dogs love to munch is ice cream. And now Vermont ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has introduced a new line of frozen dog treats – Doggie Desserts.

Doggie Desserts is the company’s first movement into the growing markets of pet foods and treats. According to the American Pet Products Assoc., the number of U.S. households with pets grew to 84.9 million homes in 2020. During these trying Covid times, pet adoptions are at an all-time high, meaning that more pets than ever are trying to keep their humans sane. From 2015 to 2020 spending on dog treats jumped 44% to $5.5 billion.

Doggie Desserts follow the Ben & Jerry’s model and are made with fairtrade-certified, non-GMO ingredients. The company stated that it worked with a veterinary nutritionist and other consultants to make sure the non-dairy products are safe and easy for pups to digest. No one wants Spot to have an upset tummy!

There are two flavors sold in 4-ounce cups: Pontch’s mix of peanut butter and pretzel swirls, and Rosie’s Batch of pumpkin and mini cookies. Prices at $2.99 per cup (four for $4.99) and the frozen treats will be placed near popsicles in the frozen food aisles, conveniently located near Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. That’s one pint for us, and one for our dogs.

Now, who’s a good human?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Show Ben & Jerry’s website: https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/doggie-desserts
  3. A video can be found at: https://youtu.be/h2lzIEeRVsQ
  4. Which strategy is Ben & Jerry’s using for this product? Why?
  5. Discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team set three SMART objectives for this strategy.
  7. How would these objectives change if a different market strategy was used?
  8. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Minneapolis Star Tribune; Washington Post; other news sources

 

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