December 6, 2018

Last week, a crowd of Los Angeles fashion influencers and curious shoppers attended the opening of what they thought would be a new luxury shoe retailer. Surrounded by stilettos on pedestals and golden sneakers, the onlookers marveled at the work of an Italian designer named Bruno Palessi. “I would pay $400, $500. People are going to be like, ‘Where did you get those? Those are amazing,’” said a woman as she tried on a pair of leopard print tennis shoes. Continue reading

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November 9, 2018

Visit the candy section of any American drug store and you’ll likely find some Kit Kats stocked unceremoniously alongside an assortment of other brands. But at the Don Quijote market in Tokyo, the chocolate-covered wafer bars occupy a place of honor in the megastore’s vast candy section. That’s because the seven-story market is one of the few places where consumers can browse through dozens of Kit Kat varieties developed exclusively for the Japanese market. From fruit-based variations to bolder flavors Continue reading

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September 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, we took a look at Starbucks’ plan to eliminate its use of plastic straws by 2020. While the coffee chain remains the most high-profile business to ban straws, several cities throughout the country have joined the effort by passing legislation regulating their use. For instance, last month San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from distributing any single-use plastic utensils or accessories. The cities of Seattle, Malibu, and Vancouver have recently put similar laws Continue reading

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August 17, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to eat eggs that have gone past their “sell-by date,” you are certainly not alone. This video looks at the confusing dates that companies place on food packaging and how they encourage consumers to throw out items that are still edible.

Questions:

  1. Why do companies place sell-by dates on food packaging?
  2. What can companies do to make food date labels more straightforward for consumers?
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August 10, 2018

Over the last few years, many Americans have started to cut sugary drinks like soda out of their diets for health reasons. So instead of reaching for a Coke, these calorie-conscious consumers will opt for alternatives like bottled water or ginger ale. According to a recent lawsuit filed in New York, however, the latter isn’t that much better than soda if you’re drinking Canada Dry. Despite advertising on the label that it is “made with real ginger,” plaintiff Julie Fletcher Continue reading

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August 3, 2018

A few months ago, we looked at why our subject for the Chapter 8 profile in Understanding Business was leaving her position as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. As the video below shows, however, Campbell’s problems began long before Denise Morrison took the top job.

Questions:

  1. Why has Campbell’s struggled to grow steadily in recent years?
  2. What do you think Campbell’s should do to start winning over young consumers who don’t like canned soup?
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July 12, 2018

Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day. And while these small pieces of polypropylene can be recycled, they are rarely accepted by recycling centers. “Plastic straws are pretty small and lightweight, so when they’re going through the mechanical sorter, they’re often lost or diverted,” said plastics pollution researcher Sam Athey. Instead, straws usually end up in landfills which can then lead to oceans and beaches. Although no one knows just how many straws currently pollute our waterways, Continue reading

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July 10, 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup hits the home stretch this week, with the semifinals taking place today and tomorrow followed by the final match on Sunday. While the end of this month-long festival of soccer will be bittersweet for many fans, few people will be sadder to see it go than the people who run the Italian publishing house Panini. The company specializes in making stickers that feature every player in the tournament along with a free booklet to place Continue reading

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April 27, 2018

In the early 20th century, the Coca-Cola Company was quickly growing in popularity both with American consumers as well as imitators who hoped to duplicate the soft drink’s success. This very brief video looks at how Coca-Cola fought off the copycats by designing a distinctive bottle that it still depends on to this day.

Questions:

  1. Besides making things harder for imitators, how did Coca-Cola’s bottle redesign help the young company’s brand?
  2. Do you think Coca-Cola would have grown to be Continue reading
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March 13, 2018

Last week McDonald’s scored a major marketing hit when the company flipped its famous Golden Arches into a “W” in honor of International Women’s Day. But the logo is far from the only thing the burger chain plans to turn upside down in 2018. In an effort to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, McDonald’s recently announced some big changes that will make it more sustainable. Along with getting rid of styrofoam cups, the chain is also switching to fresh beef Continue reading

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