International round-up: Coca-Cola’s new corporate campaign, Uber sues mobile agency

Coca-Cola looks to make its corporate brand about more than just Coke

Coca-Cola has launched a new corporate branding campaign in the US that aims to portray it as a “total beverage company” and shift the focus away from its most famous product. The spots, which are airing on US TV, feature a wide range of its products including organic tea and coconut water. It also highlights the work of The Coca-Cola Foundation to support conservation and its relationship with independent bottlers in local communities.

“The increasingly local nature of our bottling system positions us to make an even bigger impact on the communities where we live, work and play,” Stuart Kronauge, senior VP of marketing and president of USA operations for Coca-Cola North America, say in a blog post. “This is the perfect time to reintroduce ourselves as a leading employer and supplier and communicate the breadth of who we are, what we stand for, and what we make and sell.”

Google offers to run auctions for prime shopping ad slots

Google is trying to appease the European Commission by offering to run arms-length auctions for prime product ad slots that appear at the top of search results. The search giant was fined €2.4bn by the EC for abusing its market position by promoting its shopping service in prime slots rather than rivals’. It has until 28 September to come up with a solution.

The first of those is to open up the auction so rival sites could bid for ad space. The second is to switch off its current service and replace it with the old format, which didn’t cause problems.

However, the Financial Times says Google could delay having to make changes by filing for “interim measures”, which would mean it didn’t have to change the process until the court decides on its appeal. That could take years.

READ MORE: Google offers arms-length auctions for prime ad slots (£)

InterContinental plots global domination with new Avid hotel chain

Hotel chain InterContinental has launched a new sub-brand called Avid Hotels. It claims there’s space in the global hotels industry to target the accommodation market between budget and premium. It says this market is worth £15bn and “vastly undeserved”.

According to the hotel giant’s chief executive Keith Barr, Avid will be up to 15% cheaper per room than rivals such as Holiday Inn Express. Although the brand will initially be developed in the US, InterContinental reportedly has ambitions to turn Avid into a global business.

Barr says 150 hotel owners have already expressed interest in partnering with Avid, which hopes to open its first hotel by 2019. The idea is for Avid’s rooms to balance workspace and in-room entertainment in order to appeal to digitally native consumers.

Uber sues agency over ad fraud

In what could be an important moment for the fight against ad fraud, Uber is suing Fetch Media, one of its US agencies, for overcharging and selling it “fake” online ads. Fetch, which is owned by the world’s fourth-largest ad firm Dentsu, also took credit for app downloads it had nothing to do with, according to the ride-hailing app.

Uber says it was alerted to these issues when it was forced to cancel a campaign on the conservative website Breitbart, where Fetch was placing Uber ads without its consent. Fetch has previously acknowledged ad fraud is a “challenge” and stated it was working with research firm Forensiq to fight against it. However, these changes are obviously not enough for Uber, which is seeking at least $40m in damages. This is almost half the $82.5m Uber says it paid for ads overseen by Fetch over the last two years.

In a statement, a Fetch spokesperson says: “We take ad fraud extremely seriously and it is unfortunate that Uber would misconstrue facts and use an industry-wide issue as a means of avoiding its contractual obligations.” Fetch also claims it pulled ads from all social media networks that had a relationship with Breitbart.

However, an Uber spokesperson fired back: “With Fetch, we learned the age-old lesson ‘buyer beware’ the hard way. Fetch was running a wild west of online advertising fraud.”

UberEATS under fire over ‘sexist’ ad in India

Speaking of Uber, the company is coming in for criticism for its latest advertising campaign for uberEATS in India. Its ‘Wife Appreciation Day’ campaign reads: “Dear Husbands, a gentle reminder – Today is Wife Appreciation Day! Order on uberEATS and let your wife take a day off from the kitchen. Use promo code ‘nocookingday’.”

The ad, sent to users in Bangalore, caused a backlash on Twitter, prompting Uber to respond by acknowledging that the campaign was “totally inappropriate.” Bazoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber branded the campaign “totally unacceptable” and assured people that the company “will take care of this.” The company publicly apologised and removed the ad.

Uber has previously promised to change its culture after a former engineer spoke out about the sexism and harassment she received while working for the company. An investigation was launched into her mistreatment resulting in the firing of 20 employees. Seems Uber hasn’t quite managed yet!

READ MORE: Uber is in trouble after yet another sexist promo

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