BIG BUYING ON BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY

Choose TWO (2) from following case materials. Do a thoroughly case study and prepare a written case memo to cover all the case questions at the end of each. The written case memos must be submitted before/on due date of Oct. 28th, 2013 to receive a grade. Each case memo is to be maximum 2 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 pt., and in any easy-to-read fond.
OPTION 1 – BIG BUYING ON BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY
Black Friday has long been a U.S. shopping tradition. It’s named for the day after Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November), when retail businesses move from the “red” into the “black”—become profitable—as consumers start buying for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Over the years, retailers and product marketers have shaped shoppers’ expectations and stimulated word of mouth by offering deep discounts on desirable gift items such as televisions, but in limited quantities. Because consumers have learned that they must arrive early to take advantage of special pricing, many talk about their plans in advance and arrange to shop together, braving lines and crowds to get bargains they’ll brag about later on.
Media coverage of Black Friday has magnified the focus on bargain hunting and generated even more word of mouth excitement in recent years. Not all of the news has been positive: Reports include incidents of violence, long lines at some stores, and complaints from shoppers unable to buy what they wanted. Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, brand and retail marketers spotlight special pricing and early opening hours in commercials, print ads, radio, and via social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
In 2011, the news that some stores and malls would open at midnight or earlier on the night of Thanksgiving touched off a firestorm of online and offline comments, some in support and some in opposition. When the gigantic Mall of America in Minnesota opened at midnight on Thanksgiving, 15,000 shoppers rushed in, including many Gen Y consumers who said told reporters that they preferred late-night shopping to the usual early-morning shopping of Black Friday. By the end of the day, more than 200,000 shoppers had visited the mall, part of the record 86 million U.S. consumers who shopped in stores on that day. Nearly 25 percent of Black Friday shoppers arrived at stores on midnight or earlier, for the few stores that were open. Millions of consumers logged onto retail websites or used their smart phones or tablet computers to shop before or on Black Friday, because many retailers offered special deals in advance.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, is an online shopping “tradition” started by a retail association in 2005. It quickly turned into the busiest online buying day of the year, with consumers clicking to buy from home or at work. Marketers have helped this Internet age tradition along by e-mailing discount offers, posting bargains on sites and Face book, tweeting about hourly specials, and touting the convenience of buying with a click instead of crowding into stores. Reports in mainstream media, as well as comments on technology blogs and in social media, have also helped to popularize Cyber Monday as an online shopping day.
Individual marketers are hoping to attract customers by advertising their own shopping
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
2
days during this big buying weekend in November. The telecommunications firm T-Mobile USA recently promoted discounts on smart phones and tablet devices on “Magenta Saturday,” named for its brand color. Mattel has offered deep discounts on toys for “Pink Friday” and “Blue Friday,” which coincide with Black Friday. Deal-a-day websites such as Living Social and Groupon also offer Black Friday specials, targeting bargain seekers who receive offers by e-mail. Watch for even more marketing messages and nonmarketing conversations about these two shopping days as the next holiday buying season approaches.
Extreme shopping days like Black Friday are common around the globe. For example, on December 27, millions of shoppers in Japan simultaneously shop to get ready for the New Year’s festivities.
Case Questions
1. What role do you think normative influence and consumer socialization have played in the ongoing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
2. What kinds of opinion leaders would you recommend that retailers target to influence consumers’ decisions about where and when to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
3. How is the valence of information about Black Friday and Cyber Monday likely to influence consumers’ decisions about where and when to shop on those days?
4. What kind of shopping experiences and emotions do consumers feel when shopping together?
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
3
OPTION 2 – HOW UNDER ARMOUR GETS NOTICED
The Nike swoosh may be one of the most recognized logos in the world of sports, but the Under Armour logo (an interlocking U and A) is increasingly in the spotlight as the company gets noticed on and off the field. Founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, once a member of the University of Maryland’s football team, Under Armour designs apparel and gear to help athletes feel and do their best in hot or cold weather, in sports arenas or on the track. How can a latecomer to a fast-growing industry dominated by global giants such as Nike get noticed?
A little-known brand name was only one of Under Armour’s early challenges. Another was that many of its first products (such as undershirts that wick away moisture) were not actually visible to onlookers. In contrast, the logos of competing brands were visible and often prominent on athletic shoes, shirts, and caps. So the company initially positioned itself as “a brand for the next generation of athletes.” Whereas Nike was sponsoring well-known, established athletes, Under Armour’s sponsorships went to up-and-comers known for their dedication and athleticism. Its first endorsement deal was with a Dallas Cowboys football player who had been at University of Maryland with Under Armour’s founder. More recently, the company’s performance apparel has been spotted on endorsers such as Heather Mitts (soccer), Cam Newtown (football), and Derrick Williams (basketball).
As its sponsored athletes do well, and their teams win games and even championships, Under Armour’s brand gains attention and visibility. Although not every rising star becomes a sports legend, the brand still gets exposure as these athletes receive media coverage, become established in their sports, and appear in Under Armour ads. Now that the company rings up more than $1 billion in yearly revenue from the sale of clothing, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and children, it can also afford some high-profile deals, such as being endorsed by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
The Under Armour web site features the brand mission—“Make all athletes better”—and puts its “Universal guarantee of performance” in a conspicuous position, offering a full refund if customers are ever dissatisfied with a product for any reason. The diversity of models and athletes on the Under Armour site and in its ads, often shown participating in a sport, invites a broad range of consumers to identify with the brand.
The close ties between Under Armour and the University of Maryland have led to additional opportunities for brand and product exposure. To grab attention and sell more team merchandise, college and professional football teams are switching to more fashionable uniforms and gear, with flashier colors and styles. As part of this trend, Under Armour has designed 32 different items for football players at the University of Maryland to wear. Fans, competing teams, and the media can’t help but notice the eye-catching combinations of shirts, pants, and helmets worn by team members on different days—with Under Armour’s now-familiar logo on each item.
What’s ahead for Under Armour? The company is expanding into Europe and beyond, relying on distribution and marketing communications to reach more consumers, both casual
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
4
and serious athletes. It’s using social media such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to engage consumers, showcase its sports endorsers, and increase brand and product visibility. Just as important, new products are in the pipeline, along with new technology that enhances Under Armour’s differentiation.
Case Questions
1. What is Under Armour doing to make its brand personally relevant, surprising, and easy to process?
2. What role do objective and subjective comprehension play in Under Armour’s ability to market its products by sponsoring up-and-coming athletes?
3. Why would Under Armour want to be sure that consumers can clearly see different models as well as its mission and guarantee on the brand’s website?
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
5
OPTION 3 – Marketing to Teens Worldwide via Music
Knowing that teenagers in many nations have similar attitudes and tastes, the world’s two largest soft drink companies see this group of consumers as an extremely important target market with long-term profit potential. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo know that not only do their soft drinks have to taste good, their marketing has to be relevant to capture teens’ attention and keep them engaged with the brands. Both are using music as part of their strategy for reaching out to teens through their shared interest in new music and bands. Although Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have long been identified with music—Coca-Cola on TV with American Idol, PepsiCo with commercials starring legendary performers like Michael Jackson—these new teen campaigns focus on cutting-edge music and involve more interactivity than ever before.
“The number one passion point for teens is music,” explains a Coca-Cola senior vice president. During the recent World Cup soccer tournament, for example, the company scored a global hit when its TV ads showed the Somali rapper K’naan performing the brand-related “Flag Wavin’” song. The song was released commercially and quickly hit the top of the charts in 18 nations. During another campaign, Coca-Cola invited the popular band Maroon 5 to create a new song based on suggestions and comments submitted by teens via Facebook and Twitter during an intense 24-hour jam session—all streamed live online to a global audience.
For the 2012 Olympics in London, Coca-Cola continued the focus on music with its “Move to the Beat” campaign. A new song written expressly for this campaign, incorporating sports sounds and performed by U.K. singer Katy B, was released before the games began and featured in TV ads, online ads, mobile marketing, social media posts, and other global marketing activities. “We can’t afford not to talk to teens,” says a Coca-Cola official. “You can’t think, ‘Teens already know us,’ and skip a couple of years. Every six years there’s a new population of teens in the world.”
Like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo uses music in marketing to attract teens’ attention and demonstrate its hip factor. In addition to global campaigns featuring music enjoyed by teens in many nations, PepsiCo tailors some marketing events to the musical tastes of teens in specific regions. It has sponsored new-talent festivals in India, for instance, and major rock concerts in Argentina. Knowing that the Grammy awards are popular among music-loving teens, Pepsi is one of the award program’s sponsors. And Pepsi’s association with X Factor is a high-profile way to associate the brand with up-and-coming musical artists who may, with a dash of luck and a lot of talent, blossom into stars who become wildly popular with teen audiences.
PepsiCo is also using social media as a pivotal part of its international marketing to teenagers. During its recent “Summer Time is Pepsi Time” TV and online campaign, the company pictured parks, beaches, and pools from around the world. Consumers who checked in via Foursquare at any three of the sites received special badges and were entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win prizes. These ads are still drawing viewers on YouTube, where teens and everybody else can enjoy and share them again and again.
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
6
Case Questions
1. What long-term results do you think Coca-Cola and PepsiCo hope to achieve by investing heavily in marketing to teens around the world?
2. What are the marketing advantages and disadvantages of associating a soft drink brand such as Coca-Cola or PepsiCo with musical groups that are just beginning their careers? Do you agree with this strategy? Explain.
3. From a consumer behavior perspective, why would these two companies emphasize new music and emerging performers in their ads, rather than well-known songs and groups?
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
7
OPTION 4 – THE OLD SPICE MAN SPICES UP BRAND MARKETING
When Isaiah Mustafa appeared in a 2010 Super Bowl commercial with a towel wrapped around his waist and a bottle of Old Spice body wash in one hand, he kicked off a long-running viral marketing campaign that has rejuvenated the brand’s sales. Mustafa, a former NFL wide receiver, smiled into the camera and addressed women viewers, saying he was “the man your man could smell like” if they used Old Spice. The combination of his wryly funny lines, winning delivery, and buff physique made the commercial an instant YouTube hit. Suddenly Old Spice, a pre-World War II brand that zoomed to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, was an overnight social media sensation, with Facebook fans, Twitter comments, and consumer-generated spoof videos stirring up conversation around the world. The Old Spice Man campaign, created by ad agency Wieden & Kennedy for brand owner Procter & Gamble, had successfully added a relevancy and an affective appeal that was attracting and entertaining a younger audience than the brand’s traditional customer base—and boosting sales significantly.
As soon as the first Isaiah Mustafa ad went viral, the agency followed up with a second commercial in the same humorous vein, again featuring the bare-chested Old Spice Man. Again, public response was so enthusiastic that the campaign geared up for a new and unprecedented social-media blitz. This time, Old Spice invited users of Twitter, Reddit, and Digg—including celebrities and athletes such as Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Moore, and Apolo Ohno—to submit questions for the Old Spice Man to answer. As hundreds of questions poured in, consumers voted for the ones they wanted to see answered. Next, in a marathon three-day studio session, the agency scripted and Mustafa starred in 186 brief YouTube videos responding to individual questioners in typical wry style. When Kevin Rose of Digg.com tweeted that he wasn’t feeling well, the Old Spice Man answered with a “get well” video that Rose immediately mentioned to his more than one million Twitter followers.
The concentrated barrage of targeted, personalized tweets and entertaining videos stirred up enormous positive word of mouth among consumers. Just as important, Old Spice was the subject of many stories on television and radio, in the blogosphere, in newspapers and magazines, and seemingly everywhere on the Internet where news commentators posted articles, podcasts, or videos. All the media coverage (which the brand did not pay for) fueled even more consumer interest in Old Spice. Within days of the Old Spice Man’s answer videos appearing online, the brand’s Facebook page collected more than 600,000 “likes” and the online videos were viewed more than 7 million times.
Procter & Gamble supported the social-media campaign with discount coupons and other promotional efforts that reinforced brand awareness and offered an incentive to buy and try Old Spice products right away. Old Spice sales quickly skyrocketed and the brand captured the market leader position, despite competition from Unilever’s Axe, Beiersdorf’s Nivea, and Henkel’s Right Guard brands.
A year later, Procter & Gamble launched a new chapter in the Old Spice Man story. This time, Fabio—the model and star of many romance novel covers—appeared in online videos challenging Isaiah Mustafa for the title of Old Spice Man. This tongue-in-cheek “mano a mano”
2013 UNBC-COMM343-ASSIGNMENT
8
competition consisted of 39 back-and-forth videos that drew millions of viewers and tens of thousands of social media comments. Consumers clicked to vote for the Old Spice Man they preferred, and after several days of hectic and humorous exchanges, Mustafa and Fabio appeared in one final video announcing that Mustafa had retained his title. The big winner was, of course, Old Spice, which gained even more brand awareness and enjoyed higher sales. Now Procter & Gamble is taking the Old Spice Man campaign on the road to universities and cities where consumers can try branded products and have their photos taken in poses reminiscent of the original Old Spice Man commercial.
Case Questions
1. How is Old Spice using evaluative conditioning to influence consumers’ affective attitudes? Identify the conditioned stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, and conditioned response in this situation.
2. What role does the dual-mediation hypothesis play in the Old Spice Man’s marketing success?
3. What aspects of the communication source are involved in influencing affective attitudes toward Old Spice?
4. Do you think consumers will maintain a positive attitude toward Old Spice if the Old Spice Man campaign suspends messages for more than one or two months? Explain your answer.