Marketing Exercises

Trendy Toy Turned Trendy Food

This exercise describes how chia seeds progressed from Chia Pet into a health food trend. Chia seeds have only become popular as a food item in the past few years. They have a repertoire of nutritional characteristics that has led to their reputation as a “superfood.” As this exercise demonstrates, chia’s rise to fame has not come without challenges. Salmonella outbreaks in chia seed powder resulted in negative publicity and a temporary drop in sales. Marketers also must be careful when describing the nutritional benefits of chia seeds. While chia seeds contain a number of nutritional elements including Omega 3 and protein, critics claim that the body only processes a fraction of the nutrients in the seed. Marketers must therefore be careful to limit their claims to the seed itself rather than the impact it will have on the body. Despite these challenges, the popularity of chia seeds has risen once more. Consumer interest in chia seeds does not appear to be abating anytime soon.

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Wendy’s Makes a Comeback

This exercise discusses how Wendy’s strategic decision to reinvent itself has led to its comeback. Wendy’s has gone from struggling just a few years ago to surpassing Burger King as the second largest burger chain. The exercise explains how Wendy’s is trying to reposition itself as a better than your typical fast-food burger restaurant. For instance, it has focused extensively on burgers and types of buns used, capitalizing on consumers’ desires to try new things. Wendy’s is also carefully monitoring the marketing environment to understand consumer trends and preferences. The question now is whether Wendy’s will be able to maintain its high growth.

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Joe Boxer’s Kmart Controvery

This exercise discusses a marketing ethics issue involving a controversial Kmart advertising for Joe Boxer shorts. Kmart is known for its humorous advertisements that play on words. Yet its launch of an advertisement around Christmas generated consumer concern that the ad content was inappropriate. The ad depicts six attractive men wearing Joe Boxer shorts who ring the song of Jingle Bells by swiveling their hips. The advertisement received mixed reviews from advertising critics. Some view the ad as a fun way of trying to revive Kmart’s tired brand. Others believe it was too risqué and was released simply for its shock value.

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The Branding of Michael Jackson

This exercise discusses how Michael Jackson excelled as a master brander. Branding is a marketing activity that determines the effectiveness and longevity of a good or service. A conscious effort must be made to build a brand and generate awareness among customers. Jackson spent much of his life building up his brand. He maintained control over his brand and used symbols—such as his signature white crystal studded glove, moonwalk, and uniforms—to remind consumers of his brand. Even after his death, the Michael Jackson brand remains strong. For instance, Pepsi worked with Michael Jackson’s estate to release a commemorative soda can with Michael Jackson’s silhouette for a global brand campaign called “Live for Now.”

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Amazon’s Distribution Strategy Opens Doors into Virtually Every Market

This exercise discusses how Amazon has been able to gain a competitive advantage through its distribution process. Amazon has used technology, algorithmic software, and automation to improve the capacity of its warehouses. Amazon has built 50 fulfillment centers strategically located in close proximity of customers to get items to them quickly. However, Amazon has not been profitable. It sells many of its products at cost. Although it is in the top 10 percent in terms of sales, its operating margins place it in the bottom three percent. However, Jeff Bezos believe its strong emphasis on customer satisfaction will benefit the company in the long term. It continues to use innovation to improve its distribution processes and gain competitive advantages over rival firms.

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The Marketing Success of LEGO Group

This exercise discusses the success of Lego. It examines Lego’s background and the moves it took to become a popular children’s toy. It also demonstrates how Lego used lucrative partnerships to reinvigorate its stagnating brand. An unusual target market that Lego might not have anticipated is adults. Adults are using the Internet to connect with one another, share designs, and express their love for Lego as a type of art. Lego has had great success in marketing to boys as well. A few years ago it decided to target girls. How Lego targeted this demographic is described in more detail in the exercise.

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ClassHook Educational Video Clips

Use these clips from movies and television shows to engage your students! This website features enjoyable clips covering a variety of topics, including business ethics, marketing, and human resources. Visit