February 28, 2024

Public companies use earnings calls to share information about their recent performance with shareholders and the media. News from these announcements rarely leaves the confines of the business press, but that was not the case yesterday when social media users heard an earnings call comment about the fast food chain Wendy’s. CEO Kirk Tanner mentioned that the company was planning to test “more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and day-part offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling.”

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February 21, 2024

Fast food companies pour billions of dollars into marketing every year, and a big portion of those costs come from expensive video shoots for commercials. This video takes a detailed look at the extraordinary skill that goes into seemingly simple fast food ads, from hand-painting burger patties to moving items precisely with the help of robot technology.

Questions:

1. Why do fast food companies spend so much money to make their menu items appear realistic on camera?
2. How does Continue reading

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February 16, 2024

Last week, we looked at how food prices have remained high even as inflation falls in other areas of the economy. Not only are many consumers struggling to pay their grocery bills, but rent has also become a major financial strain on millions of people. Housing costs skyrocketed in the years after the pandemic, with average U.S. rent growing by more than 15 percent in 2022. According to a recent report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, half Continue reading

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February 13, 2024

More than 113 million people tuned into Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, a staggering audience that is increasingly rare these days. “In this era of fragmentation, the Super Bowl is what television used to be,” said media analyst Brad Adgate. Of course, these viewers are a potential goldmine for advertisers, who must pay a small fortune for the chance to grab the public’s attention on this massive stage. The going rate for a 30-second spot on this year’s broadcast was Continue reading

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February 9, 2024

In 2019, the genetic testing startup 23andMe made its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange and soon achieved a valuation of more than $6 billion. This promising start did not last long, however, as the company’s share price steadily declined in the years that followed. The video below explores how 23andMe went from blockbuster brand to penny stock status as it encountered challenges with its business model as well as data privacy.

Questions:

1. How did 23andMe’s business model limit Continue reading

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February 7, 2024

American consumers first encountered rising prices shortly after the pandemic, when supply chain problems and labor shortages sent costs soaring for all sorts of goods. Fortunately, prices have finally started to fall again for products like appliances, used cars, and gasoline as well as services like health insurance. Still, inflation has not decreased evenly across the board, and the prices for some goods remain stubbornly high. Perhaps the clearest example of increasing costs occurs at the grocery store, where food Continue reading

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February 2, 2024

Large hot air balloons can cost as much as $160,000, requiring huge amounts of high quality materials and lots of time. This video focuses on the Spanish company Ultramagic Balloons, which employs large sewing teams as well as engineers to produce flawless balloon-based aircraft. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Ultramagic Balloons prioritize quality control throughout its production process? 
  2. What are some factors that contribute to the high costs of hot air balloons?
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January 31, 2024

Founded in 1913, the Stanley company has sold steel-insulated mugs for more than a century, operating for much of that time as a niche brand with a small but loyal customer base. Over the last few years, however, Stanley tumblers have become ubiquitous products thanks to the company’s canny use of social media. Their brightest moment in the spotlight happened last November when a TikTok user posted a video showing how her Stanley mug survived a car fire with the Continue reading

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January 26, 2024

France is known the world over for its outstanding culinary traditions, from sidewalk cafes and refined bistros to lavish bakeries brimming with croissants and macarons. But in recent years, these institutions have faced increasing competition from American fast food chains that are especially popular among young consumers. For example, last month more than 500 hungry Parisians lined up before the doors opened at the city’s first Krispy Kreme location. “The French love American products, and there’s a hype around American Continue reading

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January 24, 2024

Two weeks ago, we looked at the terrifying incident that passengers experienced on an Alaska Airlines flight when a door suddenly blew open during takeoff. The incident placed Boeing under renewed scrutiny for its Max line of aircraft, which could have big repercussions for the company going forward. This video looks at the potential consequences Boeing could face, from losing airlines’ confidence to ceding market share to competitors like Airbus.

Questions:

  1. How could airlines’ loss of confidence in Boeing Continue reading
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