January 14, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, auto companies anticipated a drop in car sales that indeed lasted throughout spring and summer of 2020. As a result, manufacturers cut back on orders of expensive items like microchips while demand remained low. By the end of the year, though, auto sales bounced back quicker than expected, which sent car companies scrambling for supplies. But try as they might, none of the major firms could seem to secure the microchips they needed for Continue reading

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November 19, 2020

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched earlier this month and is expected to be one of the blockbuster products of the holiday season. This video looks at the evolution of the console throughout the years and how it became a central focus of Sony’s business.

Questions:

  1. How did the PlayStation help Sony transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer into a gaming company?
  2. Why did Sony decide to focus closely on the gamer market for future generations of the PlayStation, and how did they accomplish this task?
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October 29, 2020

Jingles were once a regular feature of television and radio advertising, but these catchy tunes are no longer as popular with admakers as they used to be. This video looks at the history of jingles in commercials and why they have slowly disappeared in the age of digital advertising. 

Questions:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using jingles in modern advertising? 
  2. How did the use of music in commercials evolve over the course of the 20th century?
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October 16, 2020

On the surface, food advertisements don’t seem to be overly complicated. As this detailed video shows, though, filming the average food commercial often requires scientific precision as well as robotic assistance. 

Questions:

  1. Why is it important for ad makers to stick closely to what their clients want to see in a commercial? 
  2. Do you think it is worth the expense for companies to use robots and other complicated and expensive filming techniques in their ads? Why or why not?
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October 15, 2020

Despite being one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, McDonald’s experienced a drastic drop in sales at the beginning of the pandemic just like many other businesses. Once the chain recovered from the shock of closing tens of thousands of dining rooms, though, it refocused on streamlining its drive-thru business and menu. McDonald’s also struck a marketing partnership with the rapper Travis Scott for a branded meal that became a bestseller for the month that it was available Continue reading

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September 24, 2020

With audiences largely reluctant to return to the movies, it’s not just theater chains that are struggling to adapt to life during the pandemic. Farmers who supply theaters with popcorn have seen orders for their product almost disappear as retail suppliers have seen sales surge. While Orville Redenbacher, Jolly Time, and Pop Secret have benefited from consumers staying home, the Preferred Popcorn company in Nebraska has millions of tons of unsold kernels on hand.

Preferred Popcorn primarily supplies snack distributors Continue reading

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September 22, 2020

On August 27th, Warner Bros. began gradually releasing the movie Tenet in theaters that had been closed for months due to the pandemic. After more than two weeks on American screens, though, the $200 million film has only earned $29.5 million domestically. As a result, Hollywood studios may hold back on releasing major titles until audiences are ready to return. “You can’t do it. The economics won’t allow you to do it,” said one studio executive. “We can’t give [theaters] Continue reading

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August 31, 2020

For decades, ice cream trucks carrying Good Humor products have traveled through American neighborhoods with the folk song “Turkey in the Straw” playing at full blast. Unfortunately, though, this more than two-century old tune has a sinister history outside of its long association with frozen treats. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, “Turkey in the Straw” was a standard number in minstrel shows that relied heavily on racist caricatures. 

“While these associations of ‘Turkey in the Straw’ are Continue reading

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August 17, 2020

With hundreds of American movie theaters closed since March, the film exhibition industry has made several attempts to return to business only to reverse course soon after. AMC Theatres, for instance, announced plans to reopen on July 15th but scrapped that idea as coronavirus cases spiked across the U.S. Despite these setbacks, though, the nation’s largest theater chain has now set August 20th as its return date. What’s more, AMC plans to charge just 15 cents per admission on the Continue reading

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August 11, 2020

For many Americans who have been working from home for six months, each day can seem like the same procession of Zoom meetings and email exchanges. As a result, some professionals have had trouble scheduling meetings with new clients who don’t want to add another video chat to their already packed calendars. For example, a Brooklyn-based ad executive named Lewis Smithingham tried for weeks to set up a meeting with an investment analyst only to receive a string of postponements Continue reading

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