Podcast Discussions

Learning Outcomes

  • Discover the use of marketing concepts from real life examples.  
  • Recognize the power of advertising from an historical perspective.
  • Assess others’ opinions by providing constructive criticism.
  • Add value to the topic by performing meaningful research.


Under the Influence is a radio documentary series by Terry O'Reilly, an entrepreneur, adman, and Canadian broadcast producer.

My radio show gives the public a rare backstage pass into the world of advertising and my keynote talks and books help advertisers become smarter marketers.

Terry O’Reilly

Terry explores marketing concepts with interesting stories from the history of marketing. His podcasts provide an interesting learning activity for students to see applications of marketing concepts in real life. 

We will use five podcasts as topics for group discussion. Links to the webpages devoted to each podcast are provided below. The contents of these pages are all you will need to correctly answer the two questions assigned to each topic.

You are expected to complete a minimum of two posts per discussion topic as described below: 

Post #1:  You must post your response to the two podcast discussion questions first in order to access the posts of other group members. You must answer both questions fully in your first post. This post is considered as original since you do not have access to others’ answers, so any answer posted after your first post is not considered original and will have less value in your evaluation. Make sure that you understand the instructions before posting the first time. Your answers must be specifically coming from the podcast not from a Google search or any other resources. 

Post #2: Your second post is a response post and should bring a new perspective to the discussion. Students who go beyond the content of the podcast to provide unique content and examples will be rewarded. Creativity and original content based on external research are encouraged in this second post. 

General Guidelines for Posts

  • The word count for each post should be ~250-350 words.
  • Write the word count on each of your two posts at the beginning of each post. Students who write wrong word count will receive lowest level of marks from quantity. Students who does not disclose the word count on their posts will receive at most 3 points out of 6 from quantity.
  • Make sure to cite your sources if you incorporate any external sources in your response post. Citations should be provided as a list in any citation style at the end of the post, not mixed with the text as citations do not count in the word count.
  • Do not delete any posts after you posted. If you would like to add or change anything, post it as a response post to your own post. The instructor can detect deleted posts and will apply penalty since deleting first post violates the originality condition in the first post.
  • Each discussion topic will be open for 5 days (Monday 8:00 AM to Friday 5:00 PM).
  • Submit Post #1 by Thursday (day 4).
  • Submit Post #2 by 5:00 PM on Friday (day 5).

Please consult the Course Schedule for access times and actual due dates. Information regarding where to access discussion activities is provided at the bottom of this page. 

Where to Access Discussion Activities

A separate discussion board is provided for each of the five podcast topics. You can access discussion topics from the Course Home page by clicking Connect and then Discussions on the course navigation bar. 

Group membership can be viewed from the Course Home page by clicking Connect and then Groups on the course navigation bar. If you are not in a Podcast Discussion Group by the date specified in the Course Schedule, please contact Technical Support at learnhelp@uwaterloo.ca. Technical support is available during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Eastern Time).


Podcast Pages

Podcast Discussion 1: Influencer Marketing

Season 6 – Episode 11: The Wizarding World of Influencer Marketing

This podcast is focused on influencer marketing, how celebrities and popular figures can influence consumer behaviour. This content is linked to Chapter 5, and is based on psychological effects and consumer behaviour.


  1. Who are today’s most popular influencers? Are they celebrities? Define who they are and their specific skill. How do influencers attract huge audiences?
  2. J. K. Rowling deviated from standard marketing strategies in promoting Harry Potter. Instead of using the mainstream press, Rowling relied on influencers. This was a smart strategy based on four reasons explained in the podcast. List and briefly explain these four reasons.  


Podcast Discussion 2: Gender Marketing

Season 6 – Episode 13: Guys and Dolls: Gender Marketing 

This podcast is focused on marketing products to different genders. Targeting females has different marketing implications than targeting males. It relates to target market selection based on gender. Marketing different products to different genders leads to profit due to segmentation, but also has consequences.


  1. The podcast states that two important things happened in the 1980s. List and explain what these were, including the implications on marketing.
  2. Sociologist Elizabeth Sweet stated that toys are more gendered than ever. What are the problems generated by gender marketing in toys? What is the role parents play in gender marketing? 


Podcast Discussion 3: Standing Out Using Smart Marketing

Season 6 – Episode 4: What a Difference a Difference Makes: Standing Out in the Marketplace 

This podcast is focused on unique ways of finding a differentiator in the market place. There are many examples of products/services that stand out in the marketplace. Such examples are presented, highlighting how marketers can combine controllable Ps (price, product, promotion, place, process, people, physical evidence) to create an unusual mark. 


  1. Market leaders are always the ones with the most distinct characteristics. The podcast provides many examples of how brands differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Which companies use(d) colour to identify their unique products/services? Briefly explain how colour helped their branding.
  2. A company's point of difference might be operational. One specific example explains how a company used its operational advantage to successfully differentiate itself from its competitors. Which company was that? How did that company achieve this operational advantage?   


Podcast Discussion 4: Direct Marketing Channel

Season 7 – Episode 20: Avon Calling: Door-to-Door Marketing 

This podcast is focused on the direct marketing channel of selling the goods directly to consumers without any retail store or intermediary. The story of David H. McConnell is presented, which explains the power of door-to-door sales back in 1886. The direct marketing channel was used by many other companies as well but had yet to evolve over time.


  1. Back in 1886, David H. McConnell was a door-to-door book salesman. He learned two lessons from selling books door-to-door. What are the two lessons? How did he use these lessons in marketing a new business?
  2. Britannica's door-to-door sales force prospered until the 1970s. What changed in the 70s that affected the door-to-door sales? How did Britannica respond to the change?


Podcast Discussion 5: Marketing a Negative with Smart Advertisements

Season 7 – Episode 18: Lemonade: Marketing a Negative 

This podcast is focused on how some companies might excel by embracing negativity in their advertisement. It relates to the power of advertisement. Creativity in advertising makes a big difference. Unconventional marketing with unique advertisements could be the key to gaining market share. The podcast provides many examples of bold moves in advertisements.


  1. When the President of Avis called Bill Bernbach, the Creative Director of Doyle Dane Bernbach Advertising, and told him about their need for a strong ad campaign, Bill Bernbach gave Avis a list of demands. What was specified on that list? Do you think it is crossing the line when an ad agency demands such requests? What happened at the end? What was the reason that the campaign worked?
  2. Buckley's campaign of “It tastes awful. And it works.” was vastly successful due to the amusing honesty in voicing the negative. There was one more contributor to the success of the advertisements of Buckley’s. Explain what it was and how it helped to promote the product. 

How are the Podcast Discussions Graded? 

  • Each podcast discussion is worth 2.8%.
  • In total they are worth 14% (5 x 2.8%) of your overall mark. 


Marks will be awarded based on the following five criteria. 

Quantity Student has submitted one substantive original post responding fully to all questions. Student has submitted one substantive reply to a classmate's post, fully responding to the post. Student stated the right word count number in each post. The word count for EACH post exceeds 250 words. The upper limit for word count in one posting is 350 words. Total word count including the two posts together exceeds 500 words but falls below 700 words. 6

Student's original post demonstrates substantial evidence of critical thinking about the topic. Student's reply post takes the discussion to a new direction. The posts added tremendous value to the topic and discussion. The level of creativity and original thinking is superb. Student performed extensive research on the topic and referred to external sources in the response post to enrich the discussion.

Posts demonstrate no evidence of critical thinking if, for example, they are just stating an opinion without justification. Reply post is not done well if it merely agrees with the classmate or merely repeats what the classmate said, or if it simply mimics the original posting by the same student.


Timeliness Student has submitted one original post by Thursday (day 4) and has submitted one response post by 5:00 PM on Friday (day 5). 6
Communication proficiency Student has submitted posts with no spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, citation, or other writing errors. The use of language is superb and includes all key terms, definitions, and concepts that are covered in the lessons, the textbook, and in the podcast and are related to the discussion topic. Student provided a list of external sources used in the posts. 6
Answers to questions asked All questions are answered together in a single original post first. The answers to all questions are accurate and based on the podcast rather than on a search engine. The answers include full details based on what is presented on the podcast. It shows that the student has read the entire podcast. The arguments are supported with concepts related to the podcast from the lessons. The answers are not directly copied from the podcast rather the student incorporated his/her understanding from the podcast with his/her own words. 6