Tag Archives: trends

McDonald’s Offers Adult Happy Meals – Complete with Toy

We’ve discussed the impact of nostalgia on marketing. (Nostalgia is when someone longs for a different time period when they were happy.) We usually think of nostalgia as being an older person longing for an earlier time period or event. Perhaps it is caused by seeing or wishing for something that happened when a consumer was younger.

Marketers know how to use those desires. For example, Mattel recently brought back several older toy lines to gain more adult buyers. And now McDonald’s appears to be following suit by launching a limited edition of “adult Happy Meals” that include not only food, but older versions of collectible toys.

Why the adult meals? Well, that’s easy. McDonald’s hopes to lure back older consumers to the fold by reminding them of the pleasures of toys and burgers (or chicken nuggets). For a limited time, when ordering the adult Happy Meal, one gets slightly warped figures of Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Cactus Buddy (new figure).

The collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market for the toys is a little unusual for McDonald’s as CPFM represents younger designs and apparel for a streetwear market.

The meals have different packaging and higher prices. Adult Happy Meals range from $14.09 to $17.99. Demand has been high with most franchises sold out of the meals. And buyers are already flipping their toys on resale sites such as eBay with reports of sellers pricing the toys for thousands of dollars (although a recent search show much lower prices).

Don’t you feel like a kid again?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Have students define the target market for McDonald’s. Then have them define the adult Happy Meal target market (demographics, psychographics, etc.).
  2. View ad: https://youtu.be/sYdNnkz1bik
  3. View brief video story: https://youtu.be/p5ZfSlwMz8g
  4. Have students do a search on social media for the toys. What had the response been on social media?
  5. Also have students search resale sites for the toys.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team identify a product that could be revamped for a different market segment.

Sources:  Gallagher, J. (13 October 2022). With adult Happy Meals, McDonald’s sparks a collecting frenzy. Wall Street Journal.  

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“Stranger Things” Branding

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the mid-80s, it echoes the trends and styles of small town America. It’s also a marketing phenom with dozens of product placements and tie-ins.

You can order a Domino’s pizza on the Stranger Things Dominos app extension. Or maybe you would rather eat Eggos, or 3D Doritos out of a Stranger Things-themed bag. Get dressed to go out wearing Nike and Adidas shoes. Drive a Cadillac or Chevrolet. And eat at Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Season 4 continues the marketing momentum. The marketing tie-ins for 100 brands of cars, drinks, food, and more equaled more than $15 million in advertising value. It’s not just the time on the screen that brands value. Billions of media impressions also deliver billions of dollars in media value for featured products.

Netflix claims that none of the brands and products are paid-for placements – they are part of the story and fit into the 1980s lifestyle. Some brands – such as Nike, Levi’s, and Coca-Cola – also re-released throwback products in conjunction with the show to maintain their authenticity.

And let’s not forget about the official Stranger Things official store (open for a limited time only)!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What have they observed in their purchases? Are the sizes or prices the same?
  2. View video about product placement on Netflix: https://youtu.be/UIKs0SCTxA4
  3. Outside classroom activity: Watch an episode or two of Stranger Things and list all the product placements.
  4. Show website for Concave brand tracking: https://concavebt.com/
  5. There are several good videos here on brand tracking and product placement.
  6. What is the difference between product placement and advertising?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a product placement strategy for a product of their choosing.
  8. Finally, check out the store: https://strangerthings-store.com/

Sources:  How Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ brand partnerships can turn its fortunes upside down. (27 April 2022). Fast Company.

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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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