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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November 12, 2020

Since the 1990s, on November 11th Chinese retailers led by the e-commerce giant Alibaba have celebrated Singles Day with an abundance of discounts and deals. Initially started as a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day and celebration of singlehood, over the years Singles Day has grown into one of the globe’s biggest sales events. In fact, Alibaba said that consumers purchased more than $75 billion worth of products on its site during yesterday’s festivities. 

This massive haul represents a 26 percent Continue reading

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November 5, 2020

Over the last few years, fast food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have invested heavily in breakfast menu items in order to drive up morning sales. This strategy worked for a while as breakfast sales continually increased from previous years and chains poured millions of dollars into marketing the so-called “most important meal of the day.” But like so many other previously successful ventures, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on the breakfast business.

Morning drive-thru traffic Continue reading

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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 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 8, 2020

More than 15,000 restaurants have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic, and not all of them are small independent operations. NPC international, a major franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s locations, recently filed for bankruptcy protection as sales across all stores dropped 37 percent compared to the previous year. But while much of the restaurant industry has struggled, one chain has managed to thrive: Domino’s Pizza sales have increased by 16 percent since March. 

By focusing on 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 26, 2020

For decades, clothing designers, magazine editors, and photographers at publications like Vogue decided what the fashion world would see and how they would see it. Although models received plenty of opportunities to pose in front of the cameras, they got almost no say in the decisions that were made behind the scenes. That started to change as social media platforms like Instagram gave models direct access to audiences, granting them more individual power over the creative direction of their brands. Continue reading

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July 23, 2020

Since thousands of concert venues around the world remain closed due to coronavirus, many artists have taken to social media to stream live performances. These innovative concerts draw in huge online audiences but are no replacement for the revenue generated by live shows. This video looks at how the music industry is hoping to earn cash from unorthodox venues, such as drive-in concerts and video game tie-ins. 

Questions:

  1. Do you think virtual events in video games like Fortnite could Continue reading
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June 16, 2020

Before the pandemic, Starbucks cafes across the country bustled with people grabbing all sorts of caffeinated beverages before work. With millions of Americans now telecommuting, however, these once crowded coffee houses are not nearly as busy as they used to be. As a result, last week Starbucks announced that it would close hundreds of locations across North America and shift its focus to takeout orders.

“This repositioning will include the closure of up to 400 company-operated stores over the next Continue reading

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