General Election, Carlsberg, Tesco: 5 things that mattered this week

From Tesco reviewing its fictional advertising couple to the shock announcement of a snap General Election, we have rounded up the five marketing biggest stories this week.

Is it a done deal, or could marketing prevent another Conservative victory?

Earlier this week, Theresa May announced there will be a snap election on 8 June. At first sight, it seems the majority of voters want her to remain prime minister.

The first voter indication poll from YouGov has the Conservative government extending its lead by four percentage points, with 48% saying they will vote Tory compared to only 24% signalling an intention to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as the next PM.

However, 31% of voters are still undecided. And one thing political outcomes such as Brexit and the Trump presidency have taught us is that polls don’t always get it right. So is there any chance of an upset?

According to Ian Twinn, the London chairman of the Conservative Party and former public affairs director at ISBA, the PM will avoid complacency at all costs.

“I don’t think it’s in Theresa’s character to be complacent either. She has a clear brand and clear policies, but she also knows it would be foolish to write off Corbyn altogether as, even if he isn’t a great leader, he has a few great policies.” Can there be a shock? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tesco is reviewing its Ben Miller and Ruth Jones advertising couple

You might remember some Tesco advertising that came out last year featuring a fictional couple played by comedy actors Ben Miller and Ruth Jones. Since Christmas, however, the couple has been nowhere to be found.

Instead, Tesco is pushing the new ‘Food Love Stories’ campaign. The new ads focus on a wide range of fictional characters each making the most out of Tesco’s versatile food range.

When asked by Marketing Week if the couple’s near four-month absence meant they had been cancelled, Tesco’s chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini replied: “I’ve been taking a close look at everything we were doing and reviewing all those comms assets to see if they were conveying the best possible message.”

Bellini’s inability to give a concrete answer could be telling.

Carlsberg focuses on Danish roots in new campaign

Larger sales are falling, and so beer brands know they need to act – and fast. As a result, Carlsberg has launched a new campaign focusing on its Danish roots in a bid to lure consumers back into the lager category.

The £15m integrated marketing campaign called “The Danish Way” aims to revitalise the Carlsberg and Carlsberg Export brands in the UK by focusing on its Danish provenance.

Part of the problem is that consumers often see big beer brands as “interchangeable”, and that their marketing campaigns have become too similar.

Liam Newton, vice president of marketing at Carlsberg UK, explains: “In terms of what we’re doing, we are trying to evolve. There are dramatic things happening in the beer category, and it requires bold action. We are not making little changes here and there. We’re consciously making a big move, to try and be much more relevant to the needs of consumers.”

Marketers increase budgets despite Brexit concerns

Brexit

Despite economic concerns around Brexit and security fears around advertising with Google, marketers have started the new year by increasing their budgets once again.

More than a quarter (26.5%) of senior marketers indicated an increase in marketing budgets in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 14.7% who signalled a fall, according to the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether report.

This means the net balance of marketers saying they would increase their marketing spend was 11.8%, marking the fourth consecutive year of growth. However, this is fractionally lower than Q4’s net balance of 12.9%.

Digital remains the most popular medium. The channel recorded the biggest spend increase in just under four years, perhaps surprising given the sheer quantity of major brands that pulled advertising out of Google in March following a damaging investigation by The Times.

Why PRs are getting the top marketing jobs

A few eyebrows were raised when John Lewis announced its director of comms Peter Cross had been promoted to director of customer experience. After all, John Lewis is a brand built on advertising, so the decision to turn to its most senior PR to help lead its marketing department was a bold one.

Are we now in an age where a PR is better positioned to lead a marketing department than a more traditional marketer? Speaking to Marketing Week, Matt Bourn, director and a partner at Finn PR, says yes.

“PRs are disciplined and because they are used to regularly dealing with journalists who are hard to impress, they understand it’s about engagement and emotive storytelling rather than interruption. A PR is considered and disciplined in how they deal with brand building and that’s the approach every major brands is prioritising right now.”

However, OpenJaw Technologies’ CMO Colin Lewis believes we’re reading too much into this so-called trend.  He dismissively adds: “It’s just horses for courses, PRs will suit particular businesses like Linkedin as it’s a platform opposed to a brand so PR messaging is key.

“These PR appointments aren’t doom and gloom for traditional marketers. Had John Lewis recruited someone with a background in programmatic or segmentation would that represent a wider trend too?”

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