The Marketing Week – 1/2/2013

Welcome to The Marketing Week, your guide to the good, the bad and the ugly in the marketing industry over the last seven days.


Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ad

Volkswagen found itself in hot water this week after its Super Bowl spot riled critics. It features a happy-go-lucky white American office worker telling his office chums to be happy in a Jamaican accent. Phrases spouted in the faux accent such as “Julia turn d frown d otha way aroun” and “No worries everything will be al rite”, proved too much for some who accused the brand of being racist. VW is standing by the controversial ad and claims it “talked to 100 Jamaicans” during the research process, while the ad’s lead actor Erik Nicolaisen says his Jamaican brother-in-law “loves it”, according to reports.

Whether either of these testimonials can quell the furore around the ad remains to be seen.


Digital radio

Digital’s share of the total radio audience grew 14 per cent year on year, according to the latest Rajar figures as almost half (50 per cent) of the UK public tuned into some form of digital station in the fourth quarter of 2012. It now represents a third of all radio listening.




HMV created a Twitter storm this week as its former social media planner @poppy_power  decided to use the official @HMVTweets account to live blog from the “mass execution” of 190 head office staff being made redundant by administrators Deloitte. Her effort to demonstrate “the true  power and importance” of social media to senior management will have been duly noted.

The administrators took the swift decision to delete the offending tweets, but not before a host of people (Marketing Week included) took screen shots of the feed and reposted them on the social network. A lesson in corporate communications and something Deloitte is unlikely to overlook in future cases.


Carry on Eastwards…  

After spending the entirety of 2012 building up ‘Brand Britain’, the Government is considering a negative advertising campaign depicting The Sceptered Isle in the mould of ‘Broken Britain’ in a bid to stem the tide of immigration from Eastern Europe, according to reports earlier this week. 

Government sources have been quoted as contemplating launching campaigns in Bulgaria and Romania highlighting the more negative aspects of British life to “correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold” as visa restrictions from these countries are set to be relaxed at the end of 2013. 

However, the reports prompted a witty riposte in Romania where a reactionary campaign hit out at such fears and attempts to woo Britons in the opposite direction. “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister,” the poster reads. Another points out: “Charles bought a house here in 2005. And Harry hasn’t been photographed naked once.”

Arabian nights get a little safer 

Durex has paired with Buzzman Middle East to launch an SOS condoms mobile app that lets users order an ‘SOS Condom’ direct from their phones between 4pm and 4am. 

The service available initially in the Emirate of Dubai, will subsequently deliver three of the required prophylactics, in a ‘discreet manner’.


  • 6 February BlackBerry kicks off the UK leg of its global marketing campaign to promote its new BB10 operating system. The launch marks BlackBerry’s biggest marketing investment to date, so expect to see lots more of its newly appointed global creative director Alicia Keys in the months to come.
  • 7 February Marketing Week’s Data Strategy Awards take place at the Lancaster Hotel to celebrate the very best in data driven marketing.
  • 7 February LinkedIn will reveal its fourth quarter earnings. Revenue is likely to continue on the relentless upwards scale it embarked on when the business social network went public in 2011. The most interesting stat for marketers to look out for will be its marketing solutions business, which accounts for about a third of its total revenue.
  • 8 February The monthly ABC national newspapers report, detailing circulations for January is released. The Sun will be hoping its “Big Smile Giveaway” campaign, created by Grey London, had a positive uplift on sales.

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