Coca-Cola and Tesco: 5 things that mattered this week

From John Lewis appointing a new managing director to soaring sales of Marmite, here are five of this week’s most compelling marketing stories.

Coca-Cola van

Coca-Cola: Good marketing on its own is not enough

The fizzy drinks giant posted its third quarter results this week, which showed net sales had fallen 7% year-on-year to $10.6bn (£8.66bn). And speaking on an investor call, Coca-Cola’s COO James Quincey admitted its marketing would have to be better executed moving forward.

“Good marketing on its own is not enough, it needs to be placed alongside better execution,” he explained.

“When it comes to Western Europe, new European [bottling] partners came out of the stables earlier this year. But the formula will be the same – more and better marketing, a better focus on categories, innovation and pushing ahead.”

He also spoke about the progress of its Coca-Cola Zero Sugar rollout in the UK and suggested other European markets would soon follow.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar relaunch an early success as awareness and sales soar

“It has only been 12 weeks in Great Britain, and we’ve already seen a significant expansion in consumption versus the former product, realising double-digit volume growth in the quarter. We are now looking to roll it out across other European markets.”

John Lewis promotes former marketing boss to managing director

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With Andy Street moving into the world of politics, John Lewis appointed former marketer Paula Nickolds as its new managing director this week.

Nickolds, who has been with the business since 1994, joined the board back in 2013 as buying and brand director. During her two years as marketing chief, she oversaw popular Christmas campaigns such as Monty the Penguin in 2014.

For the six months to 30 July, John Lewis saw a 75% fall in profits to £56.9m, something it blamed on “deep structural changes to the retail market”. And retail experts believe she will in for a challenging time.

READ MORE: Why John Lewis’s new boss could be in for a tough ride

“Online is an obvious point of weakness compared to other retailers such as Amazon that are much better in areas like delivery, where John Lewis has been forced to outsource and has seen negative feedback as a result. She will need to sort that out quickly,” says Robert Haigh of Brand Finance.

Anusha Couttigane, a senior analyst at Kantar Retail, believes price will be key to Nickolds’ success. She adds: “For a retailer that trades on the slogan ‘never knowingly undersold’ and one that is also aligned to family values and family needs, it now needs to make sure its pricing reflects this.”

Marmite sales soar as Tesco price row bumps up brand awareness

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Unilever appears to be benefitting from its Tesco price row as sales of Marmite rose 61% for the week ending 15 October 2016. In fact, it sold more than 129,000 jars for the period, equal to a £335,000 revenue boost.

Martin Wood, head of strategic insight for retail at IRI, says: “The publicity clearly made Marmite top of mind for regular buyers.”

The figures appear to back up Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson’s prediction last week. Speaking about the price stand-off between Tesco and Unilever, he said: “While brand image and reputation do count for something they are dwarfed by brand awareness and simple saliency at point of purchase.

“Marmite took one step back in terms of brand image last week, but took at least four steps forward in terms of awareness. I’ll bet you a night on the piss watching Godzilla movies in Soho that Marmite’s comparative sales for Q4 this year will eclipse last year’s performance.”

Pernod Ricard on moving whisky away from its ‘old man in slippers’ image

Popular shows such as Mad Men have given whisky an association with older male drinkers, according to Pernod Ricard, which is currently trying to give the alcoholic spirit more appeal among female drinkers.

Speaking at an event to launch its new Chivas Regal branded Ultis edition whisky, the brand’s global ambassador Max Warner told Marketing Week that even though whisky’s advertising is largely male driven, this is slowly changing.

He explained: “By stimulating people’s ideas for using whisky in different ways, it already starts drawing it away from the ‘old man syndrome’, where whisky is seen as a drink for an old man in slippers.”

The Pernod Ricard-owned brand is hoping to make whisky appeal to new audiences through its ‘The Venture’ programme, which aims to find the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs and offer them a share of its $1m (£820m) fund. Earlier this year, it appointed actress Eva Longoria as one of its judges.

Tesco trials digital receipts and self-scanner tech that aims to reduce theft

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Tesco made the headlines this week after news of its trial of digital receipts prompted the BBC to debate whether this meant the death of the print receipt.

Tesco is trialling Tap&Tag technology, which replaces paper receipts with digital receipts when customers make a purchase at one of its stores.

To use the system, customers simply tap on the Tap&Tag console at the checkout with any contactless bank card or NFC enabled phone. And following an online registration, a digital receipt is sent instantly via email, app or web portal to the customer’s chosen device. There is also an option for participating retailers to attach offers and promotions to the digital receipts.

Neil McGeough, technical programme manager at Tesco, certainly seemed to hint at a paperless future.

He told Marketing Week: “We are edging towards a completely paperless future when it comes to receipts and this is because digital natives just don’t like putting paper into their wallets.

“This trend will keep on growing over the next five years and wallets will become a thing of the past. Soon there will be receipts on your phone, loyalty cards on your phone and bank details on you phone.”

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