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

From Coca-Cola’s new CEO facing some tough challenges to YouTube taking a more collaborative approach, we have rounded up the five stories you need to read this week.

Coca-Cola’s new CEO has to face up to tough challenges

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Congratulations are in order for Coca-Cola’s chief operating officer James Quincey. Come May 2017, he will be at the helm of the world’s biggest (and let’s face it, most famous) soft drinks brand, taking over from Muhtar Kent.

This doesn’t mean he’ll get an easy ride, however. Despite Quincey’s extensive experience, he faces a number of challenges. Coca-Cola has seen global sales slide, with revenues falling from $48bn in 2012 to $44.3bn last year.

Battling the ongoing war against sugar will undoubtedly be one of Quincey’s biggest challenges. With the anti-sugar brigade growing stronger daily, Quincey will need to make Coke’s low sugar brands more compelling or think up something entirely new.

“As sweetener options are improved, the company must experiment with new lower calorie or ‘natural’ variations on its classic cola formulation that meet the needs of consumers,” urges Howard Telford, senior beverages analyst at Euromonitor International.

YouTube has changed its mind and wants to work with TV

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It seems YouTube has had a recent change of heart. Instead of wanting to compete with TV and steal away its ad dollars, it now wants to take a more collaborative approach.

This shift has come as the company claims YouTube viewing on TV has more than doubled in the last year. The rise of smart TVs means people are accessing digital platforms in their living rooms and although its likely coming from a small base that growth is interesting.

Thinkbox’s CEO Lindsey Clay has, unsurprisingly, welcomed YouTube’s new approach. Particularly as it means the two of them can now go after Facebook.

“I’m delighted that [YouTube] recognises the vital importance of TV to its success and the success of advertisers. It should always have been about ‘and’ not ‘or’ and this is a welcome turnaround. TV has an exciting future and the evidence shows that TV advertising is getting more effective – in large part thanks to its brilliant relationship with online,” she says.

England’s Euro 2016 defeat most tweeted TV moment of the year

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Almost 100 million TV-related tweets were sent in 2016, but there was one topic that dominated the ranks – England’s catastrophic loss to Iceland in the UEFA European Championship.

The UEFA European Championship game, screened on ITV1 on 27 June, generated 2.1 million tweets from 585,000 unique authors, over a million more tweets than the next most tweeted about sporting event, the Euros clash between England and Wales earlier in the competition.

Data supplied by Kantar Media’s Twitter TV ratings tool shows sport attracted the most tweets of any TV category in the UK this year. Between 1 January and 5 December 2016, 57.3 million tweets were authored about sport, versus 42.4 million for all other TV shows including entertainment, current affairs and drama.

John Lewis’s sales decline shows the impact of Black Friday

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It is common knowledge that Black Friday isn’t John Lewis’s favourite day of the year. The company is duty bound to the American retail tradition due to its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ price promise, meaning it has to match promotions on offer at its competitors.

And this year’s Black Friday had a big impact on the retailer’s sales. It resulted in John Lewis’s best ever week of trade in the seven days including the event, but has led to sales suffering since, especially in home technology and electricals. Here, sales were down by 8.3%, with upticks in fashion (of 2.1%) and women’s party wear (7.2%) unable to offset the decline.

Ed Connolly, fashion buying director at John Lewis, explains: “This week’s sales emphasised the different shape of trade for the Christmas period, marked by the peaks of Black Friday and the final week of December. Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year means that customers have a full extra day shopping and are likely to leave their purchases until the last minute, as we’ve seen in previous years.”

We round up the trends for 2017

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Now that 2016 is almost over, it’s time to gaze in to our crystal ball and predict the trends for the year ahead. And for your convenience, we have divided them up into four parts.

In the wake of Brexit you might want to tighten your purse strings as there will be more price rises and retailer-supplier conflicts in 2017 (remember Marmite-gate?). Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King said recently that supermarkets will not be able to absorb the rising cost of importing goods, while Bank of England governor Mark Carney has forecast rising inflation next year – a trend that could also affect the price of big ticket consumer goods or energy bills.

Brands are also set to work with influencers in new ways to avoid ‘influencer fatigue’. One brand already doing that is L’Oréal, which has already tiered its influencer strategy into gold, silver and bronze categories. The gold group represents bloggers with the biggest online following, while the bronze group have fewer followers or are in the early days of growing their beauty blog. L’Oréal is building relationships with these bronze influencers in anticipation that they may wield more influence in the future.

In part three of our trend predictions we explored the rise of the bots. Investment in artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to triple in 2017 according to Forrester research, as brands tap into the potential of machine learning and look to take a leading position on the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

Amazon and Google have already entered the fray with the launch of their connected home devices – Echo and Home – exhibiting the emerging power of voice to order services online and set personalised alerts based on users’ previous behaviour.

Lastly, 2017 is the year where the diversity debate is set to develop further. Although diversity in advertising is still a long way off being the norm, next year consumers of all shapes, sizes, abilities, genders, ethnicities and sexualities will start to see more of themselves in brand communications.

Procter & Gamble pushed forward with its #LikeAGirl diversity agenda this year, using its Always brand to encourage people to call out stereotypical gendered emojis and share ones they would like to see. And P&G’s European brand boss Sophie Blum believes diversity must be a “long-lasting investment in culture”.

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