Coke suffered a number of successive quarters of declines in 2014 as consumers turned away from soft fizzy drinks to healthier options. To turn that around, it announced £1bn in productivity savings, the majority of which it planned to invest in marketing to overcome its “speed bump” year. The plan covered five areas: accelerating growth of its sparkling portfolio, strategically expanding the profitable still portfolio, increasing media investments by maximising systems optimisation, making improvements to point of sale and investing in the next generation of leaders.
The Christmas ad that everyone was waiting for didn’t disappoint this year. John Lewis’ festive campaign featured a young boy, Sam, his penguin friend Monty and a quest to find Monty love. The ad has already had 21.2 million views on YouTube while figures from both We Are Social and Waggener Edstrom show it is winning the Christmas ad battle. It is also seems to be winning on sales. Christmas sales are up 11% so far compared to last year.
The early arrival of new chief executive Dave Lewis at Tesco led to a deluge of advice on how best to turnaround the stuttering retailer. The most radical was a call to overhaul or even nix Clubcard. The loyalty programme has been the bedrock of Tesco’s success, but the rise of Aldi and Lidl suggests customers are after a simpler value offering.
Coca-Cola’s European marketing boss Javier Sanchez-Lamelas spoke at the Festival of Marketing about how the soft drinks giant is reshaping its marketing both internally and externally for a future when people will pay to see its content. He said there are five ways marketers can use content to disrupt their marketing strategies and influence the wider business, highlighting trends including HD video, a shift from “brand Communism to brand Darwinism” and globalisation.
Back in March, when Philip Clarke was still CEO of Tesco, he revealed plans to update Clubcard for a new digital generation. Originally penned for an autumn release, the update aimed to give customers more control of their Clubcard accounts, letting people tailor the loyalty programme so they could be rewarded for eating healthily, for example. Such plans have since been shelved as new chief executive Lewis looks to more pressing matters. A strategy update on 8 January may provide some insight into what he is planning for Clubcard.
Brands use April Fools in a bid to show off their fun side. The winners this year? Sainsbury’s and its quirky solution to the the problem of toast falling butter-side down, Tesco’s tablet for two, the Cudl, and BMW, which unveiled patented artificial G-force technology with the promise that “driving slow never felt so fast”.
The Williams & Glyn brand might not be making it high street comeback until 2015 at the earliest, but RBS gave the clearest sign yet of what its branding strategy might be when it unveiled a new logo. It has a new typeface aimed at representing its 250-year history and an ampersand to signify partnership. The brand in making a return as part of a condition of the state aid received by RBS during the 2008/09 financial crisis, which forced RBS to divest 308 branches.
Brewdog attempted to underline its outsider status when it “apologised” to The Portman Group after the industry watchdog said one of its beers broke the marketing code by encouraging excessive drinking. Brewdog said it didn’t “give a sh*t” about the decision, calling the regulator a “gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths”. This wasn’t the first time it has fallen foul of regulators, having previously called the Advertising Standards Authority a “mother f*cker” and it’s unlikely to be the last.
Paddy Power is never one to dodge controversy but it was roundly criticised for offering to refund customers if double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. It was part of wider attempts by the bookmaker to hijack the public interest in the South African’s trials but it prompted a wave of public anger and the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority, which banned the ad for bringing advertising into “disrepute”. There was a hit to perceptions of the Paddy Power brand as well, but it didn’t appear to have an impact on people’s plans to place a bet with the firm.
It wasn’t just Tesco’s sales and market share that took a hit in 2014, its brand also suffered as the UK’s biggest supermarket was embroiled in an accounting scandal. New CEO Dave Lewis knows a bit about reviving a brand having spent his career at Unilever. He told Marketing Week the brand needed to engage in a much more “effective way” with a clear, consistent proposition to turn around its slump.