The Marketing Week

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


What brings together The Muppets, the Oscars and Unilever? Why the new campaign for the Lipton hot and iced tea brand of course. In the first global positioning for the brand, Lipton is aiming to tie the “playfulness, fun and irreverence” of the Muppets to the “Be More Tea” strapline, giving the brand a distinct tone of voice for the first time.

There’s already a 90-second teaser available on YouTube, with the full campaign getting under way on Sunday (2 March) with a 60-second spot during the Oscars awards ceremony. Unilever is investing  $40m (£24m) into the campaign, more than double the amount it spent on the brand last year as it attempts to turn Lipton into the “global iconic brand it deserves to be”.



Samsung Gear

The annual festival of all things mobile, Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona this week. Alongside the usual suspects – Samsung, Nokia, HTC, Blackberry – presenting their latest all singing, all dancing devices there was an uplift in attendees from brands outside the technology sector.

Some of the world’s biggest advertisers, notably Coca-Cola and Unilever, had a strong marketing contingent and there was a fringe show featuring the likes of Twitter, the BBC and Walmart. Announcements made at MWC  – Unilever unveiled the name of the seven marketing technology start-ups it is investing in as well as a mobile advertising tool that will enable the company to engage with and reward consumers via their phones – demonstrated how mobile is shifting from becoming an after thought to a major part of the business process.


E-cigarette brands

Regulators upped efforts to tighten rules governing the fast-growing sector this week. Advertising watchdogs launched a consultation on proposed rules that would restrict the way e-cigarettes are promoted. Elsewhere, the European Parliament passed rules that mean each member state has to decide if e-cigarettes are medicine or tobacco products. If the latter is decided, they will be subject to the same ad restrictions as tobacco products and would have to carry health warnings.
Meanwhile, E-cigarette brand VIP was criticised for running ‘overly sexual’ ads (see below) after the ad watchdog received more than 1,156 complains about the TV spots.



Coca-Cola out and proud in Sydney

Coca-Cola has set up rainbow coloured stand in Sydney to celebrate the city’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. Coke has come under fire since the turn of the year for not speaking out on Russia’s anti-gay laws in the run up to this year’s Winter Games. The drinks maker, however, did become the first brand to feature a gay couple in a Super Bowl ad earlier this month.

Medical Cannabis Network first TV campaign

Medical Cannabis Network, a web portal connecting patients with doctors willing to recommend medical marijuana, is set to launch a local TV push across New Jersey this weekend. The bizarre ad features a shady-looking character boasting about having the “best sushi”. He then pulls raw fish from his coat before exclaiming: “I got tuna, I got salmon, I got sweet shrimp. I got the finest sashimi this area has seen in years”. A voiceover then points out “You wouldn’t buy your sushi from this guy so why would you buy your marijuana from him” before promoting the company’s service as “Simple. Confidential. Safe”.

Ones to Watch

McDonald’s and Snapchat


McDonald’s joined the horde of brands on Snapchat this week choosing the platform to announce its latest sandwich for the US. The restaurant roped in NBA star Lebron James to build buzz ahead of its debut before going on to post several snaps (see left). The company hopes to use the platform to win over millennials by promoting the fun side of the brand.


@simonbirkenhead, director of global advertising sales at Telefonica Digital, on Starbucks’ personalised cups.
“Love these misspelled names at Starbucks. Might even tempt me to go there just for my Semen cup.”

@charliebhoy72, VP of global category and affiliate communications at Nike on Adidas sponsor Chelsea FC’s tie-up with The Simpsons (Nike tied with The Simpsons in 2010).
“Chelsea and ‘The Simpsons’ tie-up sounds great! (unless, y’know, someone had done it first)”

@paul_framp, CEO of Havas Media on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to get everyone in the world online.
”If #Zuck can get governments & NGOs to engage with connecting masses overcoming inertia in public & private collaboration that’s a big step.”


  • 4 March – The BRC’s omni-channel retailing conference will look at the opportunities and challenges in multichannel retail.
  • 5 March – Adidas releases its full-year results.
  • 11 March – South by South West Interactive begins in Austin, Texas.

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