Marketers have always known that as soon as a ban on tobacco advertising became reality, as it did earlier this year, then the freedom to advertise would be questioned in other sectors.
That is proving to be the case – health campaigners are now turning their attention to the food and drink industries, as they stir up concern about issues such as obesity and excessive drinking. So could the food and drinks industries be next on the list to face restrictions on their marketing and advertising activities? Certainly companies such as Diageo, Cadbury and Kraft Foods are taking health campaigners’ concerns seriously and reviewing their marketing practices in an effort to appear responsible.
But advertising restrictions could go much further than food and drink curbs. The European Commission is considering clamping down on advertising that is sexist and perpetuates stereotyping, instilling fear into businesses that are built around products designed for one sex or the other. Over the coming year, marketers should have a clearer idea of whether they will face further legislative restrictions on their freedom to advertise.
Stephen Carter, former J Walter Thompson chief executive and managing director of NTL UK, is made chief executive of new telecoms and media regulator Ofcom.
Marks & Spencer appoints a new marketing chief – former Diageo marketer Alice Avis – to replace Alan McWalter, who had stepped down from his position the previous year following a restructure.
Advertisers secure penalty waivers from media owners, allowing them to delay campaigns without charge during the Iraq war.
Cancer Research courts controversy after endorsing Nivea Suncare products.
Woolworths calls a review of its £25m advertising account and appoints Bartle Bogle Hegarty in place of Bates. It is the first of a series of wins for the agency that include the Baileys and Surf brands and SCA Hygiene. Losing Xbox to McCann-Erickson is the only blot on the agency’s performance. For Bates, however, losing Woolworths is one of a number of losses – including Allied Domecq and Royal Mail – that culminates in the sale of holding company Cordiant Communications to WPP Group.
Royal Mail announces up to 100 job losses in its sales and marketing department as part of a wider cost-cutting initiative. Proposed changes to working practices result in strikes and the postponement of its new ad campaign, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO.
The complaints pile up over a Gucci press ad that shows a model pulling down her underwear to reveal her pubic hair shaved into a Gucci “G”.
Toyota commercial director Mike Moran shocked the industry by joining Thames Water as worldwide marketing and strategy director.
Hello! magazine is sued by Hollywood couple Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas for breach of privacy, after the magazine printed “illicit” pictures of their wedding.
A row breaks out between Walkers Snacks and Tesco after the supermarket launches Temptations crisps, which the snack food giant finds unacceptably similar to its own upmarket Sensations brand. St Luke’s founder and chairman Andy Law and deputy chairman Kate Stanners are ousted over a dispute over the agency’s future. They later resurface at Springer & Jacoby and announce plans to relaunch the agency as Boymeetsgirl.
The confectionery market sees the introduction of NestlÃ© Rowntree’s Kit Kat Kubes and Masterfoods’ White Maltesers. NestlÃ© also enters a joint venture with Colgate-Palmolive to develop a range of oral-care products. Elsewhere in confectionery, Cadbury Trebor Bassett axes the Wispa chocolate brand as part of a move to bring its brands under the Dairy Milk umbrella. Separately, Cadbury comes under fire for the launch of its Get Active scheme, which encourages children to collect chocolate wrappers to exchange for sports equipment.
Britvic Soft Drinks launches Freekee Soda, originally planned as Freekin’ Soda. It is later forced to change the name again to Tango Strange Soda after a Spanish confectionery giant threatens legal action because it has the rights to a similar name.
Procter & Gamble acquires Wella. The company also demotes half of its global marketing directors and ditches MediaCom from its media planning roster. The restructure results in the promotion of UK marketing chief Mark Brickhill as overseer of European marketing.
The Department of Health launches a “Five A Day” initiative encouraging consumers to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. But the scheme is snubbed by Heinz and Unilever and several supermarkets.
Mirror Group Newspapers marketing director Alisdair Luxmoore falls victim to new chief executive Sly Bailey’s regime change, and Celador’s flamboyant Ellis Watson is appointed general manager of MGN. Luxmoore is the first of several national press marketing and senior advertising executives to get the chop as ad revenues and circulation take a battering.
Halfords axes 40 marketing jobs after it is bought by venture capitalist CVC Capital Partners. Marketing and merchandising director David Clayton Smith later leaves the company.
A tough year for Sainsbury’s: not only does it lose its position as the number two supermarket to Asda, it starts a head office restructure and axes more than 25 marketing jobs. The pressure is now on new chief executive Justin King to turn round its fortunes.
BSkyB launches three music channels – called Scuzz, Flaunt, and The Amp – to add to the 20 that already exist in this crowded sector. Labour MP Debra Shipley tables her first Ten Minute Rule Bill to ban the advertising of food and drink to children. It is dropped due to a lack of Parliamentary time but she reintroduces it in November.
It proves to be a year of change for Abbey National, which is rebranded Abbey. Its new chief executive Luqman Arnold swaps Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper for TBWA/ London to handle its £18m advertising account, before appointing BT Retail’s managing director of consumer division Angus Porter as chief marketer.
Troubled mobile phone operator 3 loses its strategy and marketing director Lisa Gernon and calls a review of its £30m advertising account, only to stay with incumbent TBWA/London.
Beleaguered commercial radio company Capital Radio Group kicks off a major restructure of 95.8 Capital FM which results in the departure of managing director Andrea Vidler. She is replaced by Keith Pringle and a restructure follows that will include the replacement of Chris Tarrant by Johnny Vaughan in the breakfast slot.
It is all change at Walkers Snacks as president Martin Glenn is promoted to president of PepsiCo UK and Carol Garbutt replaces Walkers Crisps marketing director Mike Munro. Munro returns to the US parent company.
Camelot unveils penny, European and Olympic lottery games in a bid to return to growth. Later it embarks on a much anticipated review of its advertising account.
Homebase top marketer Andrea Predecov steps down after the DIY chain is acquired by GUS. She is replaced six months later by Ajay Kavan, who comes from B&Q where he was responsible for retail and e-commerce marketing.
The Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie threatens to sue Rajar, the radio industry’s audience research body, over its decision not to adopt electronic measurement of radio audiences. Rajar later appoints former Evening Standard managing director Sally de la Bedoyere to replace Jane O’Hara as managing director.
Following the introduction of the ban on tobacco advertising in February, it is the turn of the drinks industry to start to feel the heat. The Government unveils plans to launch an education programme tackling binge and underage drinking in a clampdown on alcopops. Taking public concerns on board, Diageo appoints roster agency Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO to create a multi-million pound “responsible drinking” campaign.
02 vice-president of marketing Will Harris takes a six-month sabbatical to write a book, but in November he announces he is moving to the Conservative Party as its new marketing chief.
Safeway marketing director Karen Bray quits part of the way through an investigation by the Competition Commission into a bid for the supermarket by Morrisons. Morrisons is later given permission to buy Safeway and mounts an agreed bid.
Wal-Mart-owned Asda starts tests of standalone stores for its George clothing brand.
Troubled McCann-Erickson brings in Rupert Howell, founder of advertising agency HHCL & Partners, to replace Ben Langdon, who was ousted as regional director for the group. Howell recruits Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R creative chief Robert Campbell and prepares to fight off challenges to the agency’s Coca-Cola, Birds Eye and Bacardi Breezer accounts. In November Langdon resurfaces with plans to start a new agency with Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper Partners chairman Mark Wnek.
European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou proposes a clampdown on advertising that is sexist and perpetuates gender stereotyping.
Bulmers marketing director Jon Eggleton leaves the company, following its acquisition by Scottish & Newcastle. Eggleton later joins United Biscuits as marketing chief.
Orange vice-president of marketing Jeremy Dale takes the unprecedented step of publicly defending the company’s high-profile Learn advertising campaign following a barrage of criticism.
BMW Williams F1 team signs a £50m sponsorship deal with Budweiser.
British Airways launches a huge PR offensive to repair the damage done to its reputation by an unofficial baggage handlers strike at Heathrow.
Media entrepreneur Chris Ingram buys strategic planning agency Unity as he creates consultancy The Ingram Partnership. He soon signs up Carol Fisher, former chief executive of COI Communications.
French advertising group Havas merges its UK agencies Partners BDDH and Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper in an attempt to create a global advertising brand, to be called Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper Partners.
Nike-sponsored golfer Tiger Woods drops the Nike-branded golf club that he uses to tee-off with for his old favourite, a Titleist 975D.
The London Olympic bid team appoints easyJet marketer David Magliano as marketing director, and Air Miles chief Keith Mills as chief executive. It later appoints M&C Saatchi to its £20m advertising account.
BMP DDB announces that it is relaunching as DDB London as chairman Chris Powell reveals he plans to step down.
Golden Wonder marketing director Kirsty Taylor quits and is replaced by former Boots head of strategic marketing Rob Morgan in November.
Barclays Bank sponsors the Premier League in a £57m deal.
Freeview reaches 2 million users and is on track to reach 4 million by the end of 2004, when it will overtake the number of households in the UK receiving cable TV.
The Independent takes the bold step of launching a tabloid-sized version of the newspaper alongside the familiar broadsheet. By November The Times has followed suit. Which title will be next?
The issue of obesity among children is brought to a head in a Food Standards Agency report which concludes that food promotion affects children’s buying and consumption behaviour. The FSA proposes a number of options to tackle the issue, including a ban on advertising to children. The Commons Health Select Committee puts the food industry under pressure and Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO chief executive Cilla Snowball is forced to apologise for talking about “pester” power in a Walkers’ Wotsits brief. In an effort to appear responsible, food companies such as Cadbury, Kraft Foods and Heinz review their marketing practices. The Government plans an advertising campaign to tackle obesity and encourage people to take up sports.
The Atkins Diet takes the UK by storm and Heinz plans to launch a low carbohydrate version of its tomato ketchup, called One-Carb Ketchup.
Marks & Spencer Money launches its “&more” – a combined credit and loyalty card – with a £20m campaign, only to run into difficulties with the Office of Fair Trading.
Barclays group chief executive Matt Barrett is mocked by MPs after saying credit cards are too expensive. The Office of Fair Trading later cracks down on “0 per cent” credit card offers and forces Barclaycard to withdraw its direct mail campaign for the product.
Scottish advertising agency Faulds closes its doors after the poorly timed acquisition of a London agency and a string of account losses including Kwik-Fit.
The Daily Telegraph appoints former marketing director Hugo Drayton as managing director – but within weeks the newspaper faces an ownership battle precipitated by alleged financial irregularities and the resignation of Lord Conrad Black as chief executive of parent company Hollinger International.
Advertisers express dismay at the decision by the competition authorities to give the all-clear to a £4.2bn merger of Carlton Communications and Granada Enterprises and a combined TV sales house, subject to a set of behavioural restrictions. Granada chief executive Graham Duff sees off competition from Carlton Media Sales Martin Bowley to head the combined sales operation.
CIM employees threaten to join trade union GMB in response to chief executive Peter Fisk’s attempts to modernise the 92-year-old organisation. In November the CIM reveals its first significant financial loss – of £1m – in the organisation’s history.
The Football Association ousts marketing chief Paul Barber and in his place appoints Wembley director Jonathan Hill.
England wins the Rugby World Cup, but sponsor O2 is prevented from getting on-pitch exposure on the winning team’s kit, so resorts to encouraging fans to parade a giant branded shirt around the streets of Sydney.
General Motors consolidates its £97m media buying and planning account into Initiative Media.
It has been a roller coaster year at Boots with chief marketer Ann Francke calling an agency review shortly after her arrival in January, only to find herself out of a job in October when new chief executive Richard Baker comes on board. In a surprising move, he appoints Mother in place of J Walter Thompson to handle the UK retail business.
The BBC is at the centre of a row over the promotion of junk food after Coca-Cola signs a sponsorship deal with the Official UK Charts Company, which gives it automatic mentions on Radio 1’s Top 40 chart show and on BBC1’s Top of the Pops.
Barnardo’s is banned by the ASA from using its shock advertising campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, showing babies with cockroaches and syringes in their mouths. The ASA says it is the most complained about ad of the year.