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Fox’s upcoming Simpsons movie Essay

A June 21 Fox News article proves just how far today’s marketing practices have evolved. The AP article details an innovative marketing partnership between convenience store chain 7-11 and movie-making giant 20th Century Fox. The two vastly different organizations have teamed up to promote Fox’s upcoming Simpsons movie. This marketing campaign involves the transformation of nearly a dozen 7-11 stores around the country into Kwik-E-Marts, a fictional convenience store found on the Simpsons television program.

The change includes a redecoration of each store’s exterior, new “management” (based on a character from the program), and new products bearing the brands found at the fictional store. This massive promotional tool is a unique twist on the advertising technique of product placement. While traditional product placement incorporates real products into the fictional world, reverse product placement literally brings fictional products to life.

In fact, 7-11 has even commissioned some food companies to create products specifically for use in the campaign—an interesting example of business-to-business marketing. In addition, the campaign highlights important information which all marketers must consider when “selling” a company. These seemingly polar opposite companies partnered in large part because they found one commonality: a target niche of consumers. Both prospective fans of the

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movie and a sizable portion of 7-11 customers fall in the young male demographic.

While Fox obviously gains promotion for its summer movie release, 7-11 also benefits from the young customers who will be drawn to the chance to interact with their favorite program. This short-term campaign can cultivate a whole new group of long-term, loyal consumers—the ultimate aim of any marketing practice. The campaign also sheds light on some of the pitfalls today’s marketers encounter. For example, the advertising agency for the campaign decided against including a fictional beer product in the promotion.

This decision was made in part due to the fear that inclusion of this product would promote drinking to underage consumers. Uncertainty also surrounded the heavy use of an Asian man in the promotion (the stores’ “manager”), as marketers considered whether the man would be viewed as a negative stereotype, thus alienating some consumers. Most of all, the partnership demonstrates the creativity and “thinking outside the box” mentality required of today’s marketers. With competition increasing in all sectors, companies must find new ways to make their products and services stand apart.

One of the major issues facing organizations today is employee performance. With workforce demands changing every year, how can an employer receive optimum performance from employees? A June 29 Time magazine article stresses just how much some employers are willing to invest in the long-term productivity of their employees and their overall organization. The article, entitled Businesses help workers lose weight, discusses the increasing trend of comprehensive employee wellness programs offered by employers.

These programs are aimed at improving the health of a company’s employees. A varying range of services are offered (depending on the company’s individual policies). Services can include telephone counseling, educational brochures, company fitness centers, professional health risk assessments, and online information. According to the article, over half of CEOs today are willing to invest in comprehensive health care programs. Why? One obvious answer is increasing employee productivity and longevity.

While traditional human resource services focused on developing an employee’s on-the-job skills, few considered the tremendous impact of personal factors on employee performance. Good physical health can improve an individual’s physical capabilities, enhance his or her mindset (mental health is also an important consideration), and raise life expectancy (particularly crucial as the modern retirement age continues its increase). Another, perhaps less apparent, benefit of corporate wellness programs is the cost of employee compensation for the company.

One organization mentioned in the article believes its own program will cut financial costs by roughly thirty million dollars over a mere five year period. Referenced studies show that an employee’s obese weight alone correlates with higher workman’s comp claims, more sick days, and heftier insurance bills. Other health problems only pile on more expenses for an organization. As such, CEOs hope that programs which emphasize education, provide concrete aids, and include maintenance components will create healthier employees…. and a healthier organization.

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