Nike to launch pilot programme with Amazon
Nike is launching a pilot programme with Amazon to sell products on the company’s website.
The sportswear giant will carry a limited range of footwear, accessories and apparel on the site.
Nike confirmed the deal after its latest quarterly results briefing which saw the brand post better than expected profit and sales. Its share price also rose 8.2% to $57.54 following the announcement.
Nike’s chief executive, Mark Parker, said: “We’re looking for ways to improve the Nike consumer experience on Amazon by elevating the way the brand is presented and increasing the quality of product storytelling.”
Instagram wants to be a ‘safe place for self-expression’
Instagram has introduced a filter that automatically prevents offensive or inappropriate comments from appearing, in order to reduce spam in comments and to help keep Instagram a “safe place for self-expression”.
“Many of you have told us that toxic comments discourage you from enjoying Instagram and expressing yourself freely. To help, we’ve developed a filter that will block certain offensive comments on posts and in live video,” said Kevin Systrom CEO & co-founder of Instagram.
“We believe that using machine learning to build tools to safeguard self-expression is an important step in fostering more inclusive, kinder communities.”
The tech firm will use advanced machine learning technology to detect and filter out comments so the user never has to see them. It will be rolled out in English first.
Garnier partners with Unicef on ‘Commit to Care’ campaign
Garnier pledges to #CommitToCare with the launch of a new three-year partnership with Unicef.
The worldwide tie-up will help 300,000 children living in danger to play, learn and receive basic healthcare in designated safe spaces.
The partnership will also deliver 5,600 emergency kits in the first year to vulnerable children affected by conflicts and disasters worldwide.
It has been set up to protect the one in four children worldwide that lives in danger, often because of natural disaster or conflict.
“Garnier is committed to caring for future generations, and Unicef is doing phenomenal work to help children in danger, providing them with the essentials for survival and security, and giving them the confidence to build a brighter future,” said Karen Flavard Jones, Garnier general manager UK and Ireland.
Google hires former Intel exec as its new VP of diversity
Google has hired Danielle Brown, Intel’s former head of diversity, as its vice-president of diversity. Brown, who left Intel at the start of the month, will begin her new role in July. She will be responsible for managing the diversity and inclusion strategy at the company.
“While we’ve made progress in recent years for both women and people of colour, there are areas for improvement across the board in terms of our hiring, our promotion and retention, our commitments, our working environment, and how we measure success or failure,” Eileen Naughton, vice-president of people operations at Google said in a blogpost confirming the role.
Thursday, 29 June
Ocado trials driverless delivery trucks
Online grocer Ocado has conducted the UK’s first trial of autonomous grocery deliveries.
The small CargoPod vehicle will spend the next 10 days delivering food and snacks to Ocado customers who live in the Woolwich area.
A customer is notified when the CargoPod is loaded up, from a “mobile warehouse” located around a mile from their home, and then again once it has reached their front door. They then press a button to unlock their box and collect their shopping bag.
The idea is that if the trial is successful, Ocaco will then outsource its “smart platform” technology – a driverless food delivery concept – to grocers such as Walmart and Amazon Fresh.
Ocado, which was founded in April 2000, has grown to a valuation of almost £2bn.
UK car production falls as economic concerns disrupt the industry
From driverless to something more traditional; the number of cars rolling off UK production lines has plunged, according to new data.
Trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says 136,119 new cars were built in Britain in May – a fall of 9.7% on the same month in 2016.
Domestic demand has taken a hit and compared with a year ago, new cars destined for British roads fell by 12.8% in May, while those for export came in 9% lower.
Falling demand in the UK is widely attributed to consumer fears about the health of the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote and uncertainty about Britain leaving the EU.
“Maintaining our current open trade links with Europe, our biggest market, and further developing global markets is vital for this sector,” says Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT.
Facebook says its Marketplace feature is growing fast
When Facebook launched its eBay-esque Marketplace feature last October many scratched their heads. However, according to new data shared by the social media giant, the feature has proven to be successful.
It says more than 18 million new items were posted for sale to Marketplace in the US alone in May, with the most popular categories currently: furniture, babies and kids, and women’s clothing.
It also claims May saw a 77% rise in the number of unique conversations between a potential buyer and seller. And according to Facebook, a whopping 550 million of its users visit its buy-and-sell groups monthly.
If these numbers continue to grow, don’t expect Marketplace to be Facebook’s last ecommerce experiment.
The Body Shop teams up with pet influencers for new campaign
After finding that 80% of countries don’t have laws against animal testing within the cosmetics industry, The Body Shop has teamed up with pet influencers to raise awareness in a campaign that will run until 2020.
The ‘Forever Against Animal Campaign’ will team up with famous pets such as Tuna, a chiweenie with nearly two million Instagram followers, and popular accounts such as DogsOfInstagram, with the accounts agreeing to regularly post about the campaign’s aims.
These aims include collecting eight million signatures so The Body Shop can sign a petition urging the U.N. to ban all animal testing in cosmetics globally.
“It makes so much sense from a brand standpoint,” says Andrea Blieden, vp of marketing for The Body Shop. “The Body Shop has a significant amount of awareness all over the world, but it doesn’t hit every single person, and so we are using these influencers to broaden our reach and scope. It makes the cause relevant to people who care about their pets.”
Waitrose expands its print publications
Premium grocer Waitroser will launch a new customer magazine, Waitrose Drinks, to add to a portfolio that already includes Waitrose Food, Waitrose Weekend and Waitrose Garden.
The new magazine will explore a wide array of ciders, wines, beers and spirits, highlighting the best through news and features.
Ollie Rice, Editor in Chief, Waitrose, says: “We’re thrilled to be adding Waitrose Drinks to our range. The drinks industry is really growing with exciting products emerging all the time, from craft beer to unusual varieties of gin.”
Waitrose Weekend, a free newspaper, already has a weekly circulation of 415,000 and the grocer says print has “boosted loyalty” among its consumers.
Wednesday 28 June
Facebook hits two billion users
More than two billion people are now using Facebook every month, according to the company.
The only other platforms above 1 billion are YouTube (1.5 billion) and Facebook’s own WhatsApp and Messenger apps.
Further stats released by Facebook show that over 800 million people globally ‘like’ something on Facebook every day, while in the UK more than three million friendships are made per day.
Alongside this news, the brand is also releasing new features, including ‘Good Adds Up’ personalised videos, which features inspiring stories of people using Facebook to bring communities together. After someone reacts to a friend’s post by clicking on ‘Love’, wishes someone happy birthday or creates a group, they will see a message in their News Feed thanking them.
Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero hit with ‘frap-poo-ccino’ scandal
Ice from three of the UK’s biggest coffee chains has been found to contain bacteria from faeces, according to a BBC investigation.
Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, the BBC’s Watchdog found.
Seven out of 10 samples of Costa ice were found to be contaminated with bacteria found in faeces. At both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, three out of 10 samples tested contained the bacteria known as faecal coliforms.
Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, says these kinds of bacteria are “opportunistic pathogens – the source of human disease.”
All three chains affected say they have now taken action, with Starbucks and Caffe Nero launching their own investigation and Costa claiming it has updated its ice-handling guidelines.
Half of UK adults ‘concerned’ about accuracy of online news
Media companies should consider prioritising quality, trust and self-regulation as consumers raise concerns over fake news, according to the annual KPMG Media Tracker report.
Some 50% of respondents to the survey of 2,000 UK adults said they were concerned with the accuracy of news they read online. Just 12% said they were not worried by the issue.
The research, which was conducted by Populus and supported by IHS Markit, revealed that trust was identified as the most common factor that respondents considered when consuming news online.
TV ranked as the most reliable media source with nearly two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed saying they trusted it (while 13% distrust the medium). It was also named as the most popular source of news for the over 35s. In comparison, only 17% of respondents trust what they read on social media.
Arcadia Group’s Sir Philip Green under fire once again over BHS sale
Businessman Sir Philip Green sold the BHS business to dodge responsibility for its insolvent pension schemes if the firm should go bust, the Pensions Regulator says.
The claim is made by the regulator in its report on the sale of BHS in 2015 and its collapse a year later. In February, Sir Philip agreed, after months of pressure, to pay £363m into the BHS pension schemes.
A spokesman for Sir Philip said only “the matter is now closed”.
The sale of BHS for £1 in early 2015, and its collapse a year later along with its two pension schemes, led to one of the biggest pension scandals of the past decade.
L’Oréal sells The Body Shop to Brazilian group Natura Cosméticos
L’Oréal is selling The Body Shop to Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura Cosméticos, as it seeks to grow internationally.
“L’Oréal announces that the contract for the sale of The Body Shop to Natura was signed,” L’Oréal said in a statement on Tuesday. “The proposed sale is subject to clearance by antitrust authorities notably in Brazil and in the United States, and expected to close during 2017.”
The deal gives the British chain with locations around the world an enterprise value of €1bn.
“The acquisition of The Body Shop is a decisive step in making Natura Group an international player in the cosmetics industry, following in the footsteps of our previous acquisition of Aesop in 2013,” said João Paulo Ferreira, Natura’s chief executive on the matter.
The Body Shop has struggled with sales over the last couple of years, as it faced increasing competition from other brands offering similar products based on natural ingredients with no animal testing.
Tuesday 27 June
Tesco takes on Amazon with one-hour delivery
Tesco has launched a one-hour grocery delivery service for customers in central London in a clear attempt to take on Amazon and its ‘Prime Now’ offering.
The app-based service, called Tesco Now, is priced at £7.99 with no minimum spend on an order. Customers can choose from a range of 1,000 products, including fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products as well as beauty and baby options, via the app. Orders are sourced through local stores and delivered via moped using Quiqup, a London-based delivery startup. The service is only available in a select few central London postcodes.
Adrian Letts, online managing director at Tesco, says: “From forgotten essentials to that crucial final ingredient, Tesco Now can get them to our customers’ door within the hour. Shoppers’ needs are changing and we want to offer a range of services that allow them to shop with us in a way that suits their needs. We look forward to hearing what they think of the new service.”
Nestlé under pressure from investors to slim down
Nestlé is under pressure from activist investor Dan Loeb to slim down its business and return more value to shareholders. His hedge fund, Third Point, has amassed a $3.5bn stake in Nestlé and is now agitating for change.
In a letter to investors, Loeb claims Nestlé’s shares have underperformed “despite it having arguably the best-positioned portfolio” in FMCG. “It is rare to find a business of Nestlé’s quality with so many avenues for improvement,” he adds, calling on Nestlé to raise profitability, and sell non-core assets including its 23% stake in L’Oréal.
Nestlé has not directly commented, saying just that it “remains committed to executing our strategy and creating long-term shareholder value”.
Google facing record antitrust fine
Google is likely to be issued with a record fine from EU antitrust regulators over its shopping service, with a decision expected as soon as today (27 June), according to Reuters.
The case was triggered by a number of complaints from rivals in both the US and Europe that Google was favouring its own shopping service in search results. Google says it believes its innovations in online shopping have been “good for shoppers, retailers and competition”.
Companies found in breach of antitrust laws can be fined up to 10% of global turnover, but a $1bn is thought to be more likely. Intel received the largest ever fine to date of €1.06 in 2009.
Debenhams sales hit by ‘volatility’ on the high street
Debenhams third-quarter results were hit by “volatile” trading as sales fell amid difficult conditions on the UK high street. Like-for-like sales across the group fell by 0.9% year on year, while gross transaction value was down 1% in the 15 weeks to 17 June. However, digital provided a high spot with sales growth of 7.9%.
Debenhams stopped just short of issuing a profit warning, saying it still expects profits to hit targets, but warning that “if market volatility continues” they could come in at the lower end of its range. And it says its new strategy, focused on making the brand a destination for ‘social shopping’ will improve the customer experience and simplify and focus its operations.
“As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week. As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self-help through our “Fix the Basics” plan. We continue to build good foundations for longer term growth at Debenhams by becoming a Destination, Digital and Different,” says CEO Sergio Bucher.
Tommy Hilfiger creates first video ad chatbot
Tommy Hilfiger has created a chatbot that sits within its video ads as it looks to extend the reach of AI beyond Facebook Messenger. The bot is accessed via a call-to-action laid over the video creative encouraging users to engage. That call-to-action is based on the time of day, for example it could say ‘Good morning – chat to us’.
The chatbot, developed with msg.ai and Teads, lets consumers explore pieces from the brand’s new collection by asking questions to help identify their tastes. If a user wants to buy, the can be transferred to tommy.com where the items will already be in their basket.
Marketing Week is holding an event next week all about artificial intelligence and chatbots. To find out more and book tickets vist www.marketingweek.com/supercharged/
Monday, 26 June
Police fear Snapchat location update poses privacy risk
A new Snapchat feature that reveals users’ locations has been raised as a concern by police who fear it could encourage stalking and put vulnerable people at risk.
The feature uses the smartphone’s GPS sensor to show users where their friends are but police forces have warned parents to disable the ‘Snap Maps’ feature on their children’s phones in order to protect them.
Facebook eyes up original content series
Facebook is eyeing a move into scripted TV-style content after having talks with Hollywood studios, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. It could launch original programming by late summer.
The social network has reportedly agreed to production budgets of $3m per episode, with sources suggest it is hoping to target audiences aged 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range.
Faacebook has apparently already lined up relationship drama ‘Strangers’ and a game show called ‘Last State Standing’.
Holland & Barrett acquired by Russian billionaire
Health food retailer Holland & Barrett has been sold to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment fund L1 Retail for £1.8bn.
The chain, which was sold by private equity owners Carlyle Group, has 1,150 stores with more than half of those in the UK. It also operates in China, India, the Netherlands and the UAE.
The sale allows Carlyle Group to make a partial exit from Holland & Barrett owner Nature’s Bounty, which it acquired seven years ago for $3.8bn. It had hoped to sell off the entire business, which also makes and distributes brands including Sundown Naturals, Pure Protein and MET-Rx.
Sexual content in ads doesn’t lead to better sales
Sex doesn’t sell, according to a new study, which shows provocative ad campaigns have little impact on sales and could even negatively effect a brand’s reputation.
The study by the University of Illinois looks at the effect sex in advertising has on memory, attitude, and purchase intentions based on the analysis of 78 studies from the past three decades.
While people may be inclined to remember the ad, it finds people are no more likely to recall a brand’s name or buy a product if an ad contains sexualised content.
The report’s author, advertising professor at John Wirtz, says: “We found that people remember ads with sexual appeals more than those without. But that effect doesn’t extend to the brands or products that are featured in the ads. We found literally zero effect on participants’ intention to buy products in ads with a sexual appeal.”
Dixons Carphone expected to report 10% profits boost
Dixons Carphone, which owns Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse, is expected to report profits of over £490m in the year to the end of April, up from £447m the previous year.
The forecast comes after overall high street sales fell 1.3% in May compared to the same month in 2016.
Dixons Carphone ended its joint venture with US mobile network Sprint after less than two years – the latest forecast does not account for the associated losses. The retailer reports its full-year profits on Wednesday (28 June)