Two more Good Products, Bad Products topics have been covered by student presentations since the last post. Four of them focused on Craftsmanship. The companies chosen were Heath Ceramics, Ferrari, West Coast Classic and Customs, and Casa Na Avore. Edith Heath founded Heath Ceramics in the 1940’s, and the company, has clung to her standards, and several of her designs, as it has slowly grown. Ferrari is wedded to high craftsmanship for both performance and traditional reasons. West Coast Classic and Customs is a local company that specializes in both restoration to original (or better) condition, or resto-rods. Casa Na Avore is a Brazilian architecture form that specializes in tree houses.
The next four groups gave presentation on companies/products that dealt with emotion and human needs. The first two were Tone Fitness (dumbbells), Disney (Disneyland), Diageo (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum), and Phillip Morris (Marlboro cigarettes). The group presenting Tone Fitness stressed the user support and motivational information, and did an interesting informal survey that correlated love of the product with the frequency of its use. Apparently people who buy exercise equipment and do not use it grow to hate it, whereas those who use it regularly become quite fond of it. Disneyland needs no explanation. I have had many opportunities to visit it, since when my kids were growing up I lived in Southern California. I clearly remember how much I hated to take them to it, and strangely enough, what a good time I had when there. People like to criticize it, its prices, its long lines, etc., but it truly is a marvel. Even the French now like it.
It was interesting that both liquor and cigarettes were chosen this year as examples of products that were associated with strong emotions and, for better or worse, strong needs. I was embarrassed to realize I had devoted little attention to drugs such as nicotine and alcohol in my book. They are both endemic to our species, and highly controversial. An interesting point brought up in conjunction with Marlboro cigarettes, is that their advertising budget continues to climb even though it is now restricted in format. They are putting more of it into sponsoring athletic events, point of purchase, and, of course, in countries other than the U.S. An interesting statistic about alcohol, is that is apparently involved in one out of every 25 deaths (75,000 total, 16,000 in automobiles), 40% of suicides, and 60% of murders. And yes, I drink it.
The presentations, as is usual for the course, were top notch and highly entertaining, complete with volunteers from the audience and costumes. I think it fair to say that Dave Beach (and I) were quite satisfied.
I am not including URL’s for these companies and products, because your browser will have no problem in finding them, should you want to find out more. The submissions by last year's students for products showing good craftsmanship are shown here, and for products showing poor craftsmanship here. Similarly those paying strong attention to good fit with emotions and needs are shown here. Those doing less well at considering emotions and needs are here.