The product having to do with cultural fit was Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It was once a very popular U.S. beer, went into decline, and has come back as a counter-cultural beer, being “discovered” by urban hipsters. It does not do conventional beer promotion, rather having become visible in its counter-culture role through alternate and sometimes outrageous means (such as being included in "South Park"). A good blurb on it is on Wikipedia here.
The aesthetic topic was Coolbeams spectracles glasses (here), yet another Kickstarter start-up. I have to give Kickstarter (here) credit for having a major influence on at-least Stanford students. It does seem to fill the gap for many people between reasonably thought-out ideas and market feasibility test.
One of the the global fit products was Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end coffee company that stresses dealing directly with the producers and stressing sustainable and organic farming and paying reasonable wages. Again we learned to taste in a different way. We prepared the coffee provided by the group in the proper way, and tasted it by slurping it from a spoon, apparently a process making one more sensitive to the odor. Newly sophisticated, I drank my morning coffee at home by slurping it from the cup, acquiring worried looks from my wife—perhaps there is a social factor involved.
The other had to do with the tremendous (and unsustainable?) use of resources by agriculture, and featured a substitute egg powder for cooking use named Beyond Eggs, made entirely from chemicals (no chickens). Apparently 30% of all eggs go into cooking, and as you are undoubtedly aware, there is some controversy about commercial chicken farming. We were given chocolate chip cookies to compare baked by the group with regulare eggs and Beyond Eggs, and the class generally could not tell the difference. Beyond Eggs is due to hit the market about now.
The course ended with an open ended discussion between the instructors and the students. The instructors were highly pleased with the course, as was I, since my Good Products Bad Products book does its intended job very well. For the final time, I encourage you, if you have not done so, to check out the individual student "good products bad products" choices here (click on the title to get the complete essay on any one).
And if you have any questions about this splendid course contact Professor Dave Beach, (firstname.lastname@example.org).