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Consumer Behavior

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Wordcount: 2000-2500 words
 Cover, Table of Contents, References and Appendix are excluded from the total word count.
 Font: Arial 10 pts.
 Text alignment: Justified.
 The in-text References and the Bibliography have to be in Harvard’s citation style.
 Format: PDF file

Writing Guidelines

 Individual Written Assignment
 Material:
o Case titled “AMERICAN BEAGLE OUTFITTERS: APRIL FOOL’S JOKE TURNED REALITY” (David Mothersbaugh, Delbert Hawkins, 2017)
 Answer FOUR of the following questions:
o Q1. Given the unusual circumstances of American Eagle’s launch of its American Beagle line, do you feel that this April Fool’s prank was genuinely
a prank was genuinely a prank-turned reality or do you think that it was actually a planned launch and American Eagle was testing the waters in a
way that created consumer engagement and buzz in the marketplace? Or perhaps you have another opinion? Explain your answer.
o Q2. As part of the launch, American Beagle allowed consumers to sign up for early sales before the dog apparel was released. What category of
adopters would the consumers that signed up early fall into (Innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, or laggards)? What are some
possible reasons behind American Beagle offering early sign-ups?
o Q3. Describe how each of the following groups would have a different perspective on cause-related marketing. Describe how each of the following
groups would have a different perspective on cause-related marketing and how they would react to the American Beagle campaign partnering
with ASPCA. Consumer types:
 Skeptics
 Balancers
 Attribution-oriented consumers
 Socially concerned consumers
o Q4. Referring to Q3, to which of those groups of perspectives on cause-related marketing do you personally belong? Why? Explain your answer
o Q5. Which generational group do you think would serve as the best target market for American Beagle dog apparel (Gen Z, Millennials,
Generation X, Baby Boomers or Silent Generation)? Would more than one be viable? Explain your answer.
 Wordcount: 2000-2500 words
 Cover, Table of Contents, References and Appendix are excluded from the total word count.
 Font: Arial 10 pts.
 Text alignment: Justified.
 The in-text References and the Bibliography have to be in Harvard’s citation style.
 Format: PDF file

Weight: This task is 40% of your total grade for this subject.
It assesses the following learning outcomes:
 Outcome 1: understand the processes that guide consumer perceptions, attitudes, learning & memory and choices and behavior
 Outcome 2: evaluate the different perspectives that characterize the study of consumer behavior
 Outcome 3: apply theories and models of consumer behavior to the formulation of effective marketing strategy, sales and retail strategies, for marketing
or consumer management
American Eagle Outfitters is a well-established retailer that is often found in mainstream shopping malls. It targets teens and young adults of both sexes with
trendy clothing accessories. American Eagle is actually one of the most popular clothing retailers in its market. A survey of teenagers revealed that American Eagle
has higher “brand relevance” than its competitors, Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch.
On March 24, 2014, American Eagle announced that it would be offering a new line, dog apparel to match the human clothing sold in its stores, called American
Beagle Outfitters. The American Beagle website features pictures of pooches modeling fashions for small, medium, and large dogs. It even launched a
“dogumentary” on social media explaining the new line and the idea behind its creation. The dogumentary features two American Eagle employees. One cannot
stand the thought of her dog wearing Halloween costumes all year long and another who believes “he’s a pioneer as a prisoner of his own ambition.” According
to American Eagle’s press release: Designed to perfectly match their owner’s on-trend American Eagle wardrobe, the canine collection features must-haves such
as slimming doggy jeggings, fur-friendly bikinis and statement accessories, creating head-to-tail looks that complement the unique style and personality of every
pooch, big and small.
Following the announcement, consumers were urged to sign up on the waiting list for access to the dog apparel and receive a 20 percent discount. Further, for a
certain period, American Eagle offered a $1 donation to the ASPCA with each order. American Eagle ultimately donated $100,000.
However, with April Fool’s Day just around the corner, many people speculated that the new dog apparel line was merely an April Fool’s joke. This idea was
supported by the fact that the company would not say when the products would be available or how they would be priced. Further, the American Eagle
spokesperson refused to answer when directly asked whether this promotion was an April Fool’s joke, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
When April Fool’s Day arrived, American Eagle admitted that American Beagle was an April Fool’s joke. But, since it was so popular among consumers, American
Eagle decided to go ahead and produce the doggie fashion line. According to Michael Leedy, the chief marketing officer: We originally felt that April Fool’s Day
was the perfect opportunity for us to engage with our consumers in a fun, lighthearted way, all while supporting the ASPCA. Due to the tremendous positive
response and excitement from our customers for the American Beagle Outfitters line, we decided to make a limited-edition collection for Holiday 2014.
This campaign created a fair amount of publicity in many news outlets, in no small part due to the April Fool’s aspect. The company also encouraged consumers
to submit photos of their own dogs’ style with the hashtag #AEOStyle for a chance to be featured on the American Beagle website. This helped to build engagement
with both the American Eagle and American Beagle brands.
Pet ownership has been increasing over the last two decades. According to the National Pet Owners Survey, from the American Pet Products Association (APPA),
a record 82.5 million American households owned at least one pet in 2012, which amounts to 68 percent of the households. The IBISWorld report estimates the
pet ownership rate to increase by 2.2 percent each year through at least 2018.
Table A
Pet owners’ Behavior during Recession (2008)
Holiday Gifts
 81% of respondents purchase gifts for their pups during the holidays.
 69% spend up to $50; 24% spend $50-$100; only 3% spend more than $150
 59% expect to spend the same amount on gifts for their dog as they did last year
Trading Personal Services for Dog Services
 67% would cancel their travel plans if they could not afford to pay to board their dog
 65% would regularly eat Ramen noodles before they would skimp on their dogs’ highquality food
 59% would color their own hair in the kitchen sink in order to keep groomer
Cutbacks Owners Are Willing to Make for Their Dog
 Eat more meals at home (97%)
 Cancel gym membership (72%)
 Cancel cable or satellite service (50%)
 Curb spending on new clothes (94%)
 Push back plans for home remodeling (89%)
 Forgo buying new car or buy a less expensive model (88%)
Money-Saving Techniques
 52% look for sales and/or clip coupons before shopping for pet products
 48% are purchasing fewer toys/treats and other nonessential dog supplies
 34% have begun buying dog food in bulk
Source: American Kennel Club, 2008.
Table B
Survey of Consumer Reports Readers
Dog Owners Cat Owners
Fed the pet human food 63% 41%
Taught it tricks 57 14
Let it sleep with you 55 75
Gave it holiday gifts 55 43
Took it on vacation 45 7
Signed a card with its name or photo 40 29
Put photos of it on social media sites 32 23
Dressed it in outfits 18 5
Source: Consumer Reports, 2012.
This increase in pet ownership is due to a number of factors. While there was still growth during the recession, now that there is a slow recovery taking place,
consumers have more disposable income to care for pets. Refer to Table A for examples of modification of consumption habits that dog owners mad during a time
of recession (2008) in order to provide the best care for their pets. More importantly, there is a cultural shift taking place such that consumers increasingly view
dogs as members of the family, rather than companion animals or outdoor protectors. Many consumers now view themselves as “pet parents” and their dogs as
“fur babies.” In a survey of women, 90 percent of respondents indicated that they think of their pets as family members. According to a Consumer Products and
Trends Survey, pet ownership is highest among empty-nesters, single professionals, and couples without children. These groups have more disposable income due
to not having (human) children, and many are looking to their dogs to fill the role of someone to care for and nurture. See Table B for information on activities
that pet owners engage in with dogs and cats. According to Bob Vetere, president of the APPA: Pets are acquiring a more significant role in the family, and with
that, they are tending to be treated more in human terms. . . . People are pampering their pets more than ever. . . . from interactive and innovative toys to dog
walking, doggy day-care and pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and airlines.
American Eagle is not the first human apparel retailer to get into pet apparel. Americans are spending more than $1 billion on dog apparel and many retailers want
a piece of the pie. High-end fashion retailers want a piece of the pie. High-end fashion retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Juicy Couture, and Kiehl’s also offer
apparel. There is even a Pet Fashion Week in New York City. According to Angie McKaig CEO of As more designers come into the marketplace
with really unique designs, they catch the eye of someone who might not have bought dog clothes before, people who say to me, “I think this stuff is dumb
A survey of visitors to the dog apparel and accessories site Pampered revealed that more than 60 percent of the visitors owned at least four pieces of
clothing, four collars, and ten toys per dog. The APPA has been tracking spending on pets for two decades. In 2013 alone, Americans spent $55.7 billion on their
pets. The APPA 2013/2014 National Pet Owners Survey projects spending on pets to increase in the coming years. The booming pet industry is presenting a growing
area of opportunity for American (B)Eagle Outfitters, as well as many other retailers. According to Mr. Vetere: The pet industry continues to see unprecedented
growth. The survey reveals pet owners are willing to spend money on their pets despite a downturn in the economy.
Exceptional 90-100 Good 80-89 Fair 70-79 Marginal fail 60-69
Knowledge &
Student demonstrates
excellent understanding of
key concepts and uses
terminology in an entirely
appropriate manner.
Student demonstrates
good understanding of the
task and mentions some
relevant concepts and
demonstrates use of the
relevant terminology.
Student understands the
task and provides minimum
theory and/or some use of
Student understands the task
and attempts to answer the
question but does not
mention key concepts or uses
minimum amount of relevant
Application (30%) Student applies fully
relevant knowledge from
the topics delivered in the
Student applies mostly
relevant knowledge from
the topics delivered in
Student applies some
relevant knowledge from
the topics delivered in the
course. Misunderstanding
may be evident.
Student applies little relevant
knowledge from the topics
delivered in the course.
Misunderstandings are
Critical Thinking
Student critically assesses
in excellent ways, drawing
outstanding conclusions
from relevant authors.
Student critically assesses
in good ways, drawing
conclusions from relevant
authors and references.
Student provides some
insights but stays on the
surface of the topic.
References may not be
Student makes little or none
critical thinking insights, does
not quote appropriate
authors, and does not
provide valid sources.
Student communicates
ideas extremely clearly and
concisely, respecting word
count, grammar and
spellcheck. Very well
organized and easy to read.
Student communicates
ideas clearly and concisely,
respecting word count,
grammar and spellcheck.
Well organized and easy to
Student communicates
ideas with some clarity and
concision. It may be slightly
over or under the word
count limit. Some
misspelling errors may be
evident. Acceptablel
organizion of ideas and
mostly easy to read.
Student communicates ideas
in a somewhat unclear and
unconcise way. Does not
reach or does exceed word
count excessively and
misspelling errors are
evident. Organizion of ideas
need improvement; not
always easy to read.



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