New York Times reporter Michael Moss went to advertising agency Victors and Spoils with a challenge:
How would you get people to want to buy and eat broccoli? What would your campaign look like? What would the message be? What would you do that all the well-intentioned government-funded campaigns have failed to do for generations?
The result was an extended story in the New York Times Magazine section “Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover” (November 1, 2013) — a story that provides a great marketing case study. Even though the campaign was never actually implemented, the article and video provide some insight into the creative process at an advertising agency.
This might provide your students with a challenge you could use in class. Ask your students to break up into small teams and give each team 20 minutes (or until the next class period) to develop a strategy for broccoli. You might have a few groups present — and then show them the video below. Also posted at Learn the 4 Ps.
Earlier this year we called your attention to a Melbourne Australia Metro Trains public service announcement designed to get people to behave safer around public transportation. Back then the viral video had 33 million hits and was grabbing people’s attention for its fun and quirky style.
Well the campaign just received Advertising Age’s Campaign of the Year Award. The story is an interesting read and gives you some background on how the video was created. It also shares some interesting results — because ultimately promotion should have objectives (and probably more than simply winning awards). Now over 66 million people watched the video, but more importantly, the campaign reached 46% of its target audience in a month (so all those hits weren’t from people outside Australia). Perhaps more importantly, the transport system has seen a 20% decline in rail accidents year-to-date.
In the United States we are used to buying subsidized cellular handsets. We pay $199 for our $600 iPhone or Galaxy S5 after agreeing to a two year contract with monthly payments that pay for our service and indirectly, the phone. That practice is not as common elsewhere in the world. In India, Reliance Communications is trying to attract higher end customers with subsidized phones. RCom currently averages just $3.10 per month, per subscriber as compared to almost 3 times that amount for competitor China Telecom. The video below provides an example of how RCom is using price to target a new market. You can read more in this Bloomberg Businessweek article, “India’s RCom Starts Subsidizing iPhones” (November 27, 2013). While the story doesn’t mention any support from Apple, I would not be surprised if Apple is helping RCom out. The iPhone has struggled in many developing markets because of its high price. The recent introduction of the lower priced iPhone 5S was partly to address this issue.
The story provides an international and pricing example with a product our students know well.
An important element in Amazon’s business model involves the third party resellers that flourish on its site. Search for any product and you will see that you can make your purchase from Amazon or from one of dozens of affiliates. Affiliates give Amazon a cut of any sale they make. Who is to blame when these resellers sell outdated or damaged goods? Johnson & Johnson had this concern and has been engaged in some classic channel conflict with those resellers and Amazon. You can read more in this Wall Street Journal article, “Amazon and J&J Clash Over Third-Party Sales” (non-subscribers may need to click here, November 10, 2013).
It might be interesting to ask your students how Twitter could deliver more value for advertisers. And to then evaluate some of those ideas on whether they improve (or detract from) the user experience. It is enlightening for students to see this interaction — as many of the best ways to generate revenue also detract from the user experience, possibly resulting in fewer users of the Twitter service (which makes it less valuable for advertisers). This is the challenge for a service like Twitter (or Facebook or Snapchat for that matter). The discussion could help students better understand the challenges facing these widely used services.
I try to tell my students — don’t follow the crowd. All that competition makes things hard. GoldieBlox isn’t following the crowd. There are not a lot of “construction toys” designed specifically for girls. GoldieBlox thinks there is a market and that perhaps it can help solve a larger societal problem — the lack of women in engineering and the sciences.
GoldieBlox will need to target moms (buyers) and girls (users) — and this ad does both. The general subject — lack of girls in engineering and technology — is a hot topic which has helped to spur buzz. You can read more about the ad and GoldieBlox in this New York Times article, “Ad Takes Off Online: Less Doll, More Awl” (November 20, 2013).
The video and some class discussion might be warranted when you cover segmentation, targeting, and positioning, product or promotion. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
Wow, this is a brilliant! Citibank, yes the same bank the government bailed out to the tune of $476 billion, has found a way to change its image. Citigroup now sponsors a bike share program in New York City. In the program’s first few months (May – July 2013) Citigroup internal surveys showed customers’ (presumably in New York) “favorable impressions toward the Citi” jumped 17% and those calling Citigroup: “an innovative company” rose 12%; “a socially responsible company,” also up 12% and “for people like me” climbed 14%. You can read the whole story at Bloomberg Businessweek in “Citi Bike: Citibank’s New York Marketing Coup” (October 31, 2013). The article notes that even some of Citi’s biggest detractors begrudgingly support this effort.
This is a great example of a branded service. In our books we categorize branded services as an element of publicity within the promotion blend. Branded services are growing and it takes a different type of creative thinking to come up with these ideas. I was surprised that the idea initially took a lot of selling inside of Citigroup. Maybe it is just my 20/20 hindsight, but this seems like a no-brainer to me.
You could ask your students to think of the pros and cons of this idea? As the story notes, there was some fear of images of bloodied novice cyclists just run over by a cab. Another in-class activity might ask students to think of other branded services ideas for other firms. What could a brand like Verizon do in your community? What about a brand like Coca Cola — which is faces growing criticism for its sugary soft drinks? We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
Looking for something popular and current to share with your students. Check out AdWeek‘s latest list - ”YouTube’s 10 Most Watched Ads in October” (November 7, 2013). You can scroll through this list to see two ads touting Samsung’s new watch, a few video game related ads, Dodge Durango and more — including the Crest/Oral B ad shown below.
These can be fun to stimulate conversation with students about what goes viral? What makes for a good ad?
As the holiday shopping season approaches, the consumer shopping practice of showrooming is getting more attention. In our textbooks we define showrooming as: “When consumers go to a brick-and-mortar store to inspect a product (a showroom) and then purchase from an online retailer with a lower price, this practice is called showrooming.” In the past, traditional retailers have blamed the practice for lower profits. But that view is changing — and here are three articles with different information about the new trends.
This article from Forbes, ”Will Big Data Bring More Price Discrimination” (September 1, 2013) discusses price discrimination (see also “How Netflix could use Big Data to make twice as much money off you” (Washington Post, September 4, 2013). Price discrimination is always an interesting topic to discuss with students. Big data offers businesses opportunities to set a price closer to an individual customer’s willingness to pay. Of course that can mean different prices for different customers. Is this our future? What about fairness? Consumers usually care a great deal about perceived fairness.
This provides the basis for an interesting discussion in the classroom. You might start the discussion with a discussion of third degree price discrimination (senior or student discounts for example), then second degree discrimination (quantity discounts) and then introduce first degree discrimination (based on people’s willingness to pay). Big data allows firms to more accurately forecast the elusive willingness to pay for each individual — creating the opportunity to maximize profits from each customer. But how will customers react when they hear their neighbor paid a lower price for the same item? There is a strong fairness norm in our society. It raises interesting ethical issues when you cover pricing.