Ikea enters gig econony with TaskRabbit acquisition
Ikea has acquired handyman app TaskRabbit in what the firm describes as an “exciting leap” in its transformation.
The app is designed to connect consumers with local tradesmen and women to help with household tasks such as assembling furniture, decorating, cleaning and deliveries.
The move means the retailer will soon be able to offer services as well as products as it enters the gig economy for the first time, a move necessary given consumers shift to digital shopping, according to president and CEO Jesper Brodin.
“We need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way. An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation,” he says.
TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company within the Ikea Group enabling to continue working with other retailers.
Ryanair ordered to correct compensation policy
Another day, another call for Ryanair to fix up its act. The airline has now been given until 5pm today to correct its compensation policy for passengers impacted by its flight cancellations.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority told the airline it must say publicly how it will re-route passengers with another airline and not mislead customers about their rights.
Ryanair must also explain how it will reimburse those left out-of-pocket.
The airline has been forced to cancel thousands of flights because of a pilot rostering error, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers.
HSBC looks to rival challenger banks with spending app
HSBC is trialling a new smartphone app which keeps track of what users are spending money on and will give them a “friendly nudge” if they go over their spending limits.
It is a move designed to help the brand keep up with challenger banks like Monzo and Atom Bank, which already offer similar functions.
The app, which is being tested by 10,000 customers ahead of launch in 2018, will also allows users to add accounts from 21 competitor banks including Lloyds and NatWest, to enable them to keep track of all their various outgoings and balances in one place.
“We’ve seen the likes of Monzo and Yolt, now we want to leverage the trust people have in the HSBC brand so they don’t need multiple apps,” says HSBC UK’s head of personal banking, Becky Moffat.
“Our legacy systems are not always the easiest to integrate with, and sometimes we have to spend more energy to deliver what our customers want in this day and age.
“We need to make sure we are doing it right and being robust in what we are offering, so when we do take it to market, we know it’s what our customers want.”
Car brands immediately take to social to target Saudi Arabian women
— Ford Middle East (@FordMiddleEast) September 27, 2017
Car makers including VW, Ford and Nissan have already begun targeting women in Saudi Arabia following the official announcement by King Salman on 27 September that the country will be lifting its ban on female drivers next June.
The move could be extremely lucrative for the car manufacturers given it creates a new market of several million, very wealthy, potential car buyers.
— Volkswagen ME (@VWMiddleEast) September 27, 2017
Number of high net worth individuals hits all-time high
There are now 16.5 million high net worth individuals (HNWIs) globally, a 7.5% increase on last year and an all-time high, according to figures from Capgemini’s 2017 World Wealth Report.
The level of wealth these individuals hold is also increasing, with an 8.2% rise recorded in 2016, compared to 4% in 2015.
HNWIs – those that are worth at least $1m (£750,000) are now collectively worth $63.5 trillion. This figure is on track to pass the $100 trillion mark by 2025.
North America, Europe and Asia continue to hold the majority of the wealth, with each market growing its HNWI population by an average 7.5% last year, and their wealth by around 8.2%.
The United States has the highest number of millionaires, followed by Japan, Germany and China. France overtakes the UK to take fifth place in the list of countries with the most HNWIs.
Thursday, 28 September
Ryanair reveals second wave of flight cancellations
Ryanir has revealed it is to cancel a second wave of flights over the winter months as it looks to improve its service after admitting to a rostering “mess-up”. The budget airline plans to scrap 18,000 flights on 34 routes between November and March, affecting a further 400,000 customers. Ryanair says they have all been contacted and offered a refund or booking on an alternative flight. They will also receive a travel voucher for £40 one way or £80 return that can be used to book a Ryanair flight between October 2017 and March 2018.
The airline has promised this will be the last of the cancellations as it looks to rectify what boss Michael O’Leary dubbed a “mess-up” after a rostering error meant it was left owing pilots too much holiday. He says the latest cancellations including routes between London and Edinburgh mean there will be “no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018”.
“We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today,” he says.
“Slower growth this winter will create lots of spare aircraft and crews, which will allow us to manage the exceptional volumes of annual leave we committed to delivering in the nine months to December 2017. We will start a new 12-month leave period on 1 January 2018 in full compliance with EU regulations and the IAA’s requirements.”
However, the crisis is already hitting key brand metrics for the airline. Figures from YouGov BrandIndex show that consumer perceptions of the brand, including its all important value score, have all fallen over two weeks since the cancellations were announced. And both its consideration and purchase intent are down.
Moneysupermaket tops most complained about ads, again
Moneysupermarket’s ads featuring a twerking businessman in high heels is once again the most complained about ad. It top the list so far this year, with 455 people complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ad between January and June. It also received the most complaints in both 2015 and 2016.
Match.com’s ad featuring a lesbian kissing scene and McDonald’s spot that showed a mother telling her son about his dead father’s favourite burger were next on the list. In total, the ASA received 5,172 complaints about TV ads, the most of any medium, with most about offence. However, online was close behind with 4,062, although here most of the complaints were about misleading ads.
In total, the ASA received 13,131 complaints, 19.8% fewer than last year, about 9,486 ads. It amended or banned 3,034 of them, up 88% compared to the first half of 2016.
Guy Parker, CEO of the ASA, says: “We’re spending more time online, but the mass audience of TV ads mean they continue to generate the most complaints.
“Whatever the issue and whatever the medium, we should all be able to trust the ads we see and hear. If an ad is wrong, we’re here to put it right.”
Amazon unveils new Echo speaker that doubles as a smart home hub
Amazon is launching a new Echo Plus speaker that can double as a smart home hub as it looks to make its devices more integral in the home. The device can connect to various wireless protocols, meaning it can be used to set up and control connected home appliances such as light bulbs or heating systems.
The move pitches the Echo as more than just a connected speaker or way to access Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence. It also moves it into direct competition with companies such as Samsung, Nest and Apple that are creating platforms for connected homes.
Tesco launches new payment app
Tesco is launching its own mobile payments app as it looks to improve the shopping experience for customers. Tesco Pay+ will replace PayQuik and lets shoppers check out using their phone and collect Clubcard points. Users can link multiple payment cards to the mobile wallet and pay for any shop worth up to £250.
The app already has more than 250,000 users and is used every three seconds. With the wider rollout Tesco is hoping that usage will increase.
Mark Loch, Tesco digital wallet and group payments director, says: “The world is changing rapidly around us. How customers interact with their shopping experience, how they manage their money, and how they determine value, are developing all of the time. We are proud that we constantly invest in enhancing the shopping experience so that our customers receive a unique and exceptional service.”
Separately, Sainsbury’s is trialling a queueless checkout method in its store in Euston, London. The test lets shoppers buying its £3 meal deal make the purchase through a smartphone app, rather than having to queue at a checkout.
Google’s own shopping service to compete with rivals’
Google is making changes to its shopping service that will see it treat its own offering the same as rivals’ as it looks to placate the European Commission over competition concerns. The move means Google will split Google Shopping from its main search service.
The change comes after the Commission fined Google a record €2.4bn (£2.2bn), saying it had unfairly favoured its own service over those of its rivals. It also demanded Google change how the service operates or face penalties of up to 5% of its average daily turnover globally.
While Google has made changes, it has also appealed against the original fine.
Wednesday, September 27
EasyJet and Dyson explore electric models
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of companies’ business models – something that is particularly prevalent in the automotive industry.
EasyJet is now also joining the ranks, as it unveiled plans to develop commercial passenger planes powered by electric batteries instead of conventional aero engines.
The airline wants the proposed planes to fly passengers on its short-haul routes, possibly within 10-20 years. The prototype is going to be developed by a new US firm called Wright Electric, which has already built a two-seat battery-powered plane. EasyJet’s possible involvement was first revealed in March 2017.
Meanwhile, engineering company Dyson – mostly known for its vacuum cleaners – said it plans to spend £2bn developing a “radical” electric car, due to be launched in 2020.
Twitter tests doubling length tweets to 280 characters
Twitter is doubling the length of its tweets from 140 to 280 characters as part of a test – an interesting move, as it’s one of the platform’s most defining features.
A small percentage of Twitter’s 328 million users will find they can post longer tweets from Tuesday evening, with all other users will be able to see them.
The test applies across Twitter apart from in Japanese, Korean and Chinese, which use scripts instead of letters, meaning tweets in those languages are rarely constrained by the existing limit.
The brevity of tweets has been seen as one of the service’s most appealing features. Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen said the company knew doubling the character count was likely to generate controversy, but was confident that it would be eventually embraced.
“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” she said.
Uber faces tribunal on workers’ rights in UK
It’s just another day at Uber HQ – after losing its London licence last week, the ride hailing service is today (27 September) defending its business model in court.
The US ride hailing service is expected to tell a British employment appeal tribunal on Wednesday that its drivers are self-employed and not workers entitled to a range of extra benefits.
Last year, two drivers successfully argued at a tribunal that Uber exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand taxi service and had responsibilities in terms of workers’ rights. Uber is now looking to challenge this.
The company has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services and concern among some regulators. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary. Losing its license in London is one of its biggest setbacks so far.
Instagram introduces new tools to promote kindness
Instagram has been on an ongoing mission to crack down on bullies on its platform. So far, the social platform has introduced a variety of tools to help its users, such as a filter to block offensive comments and rolled out a new feature to provide mental health resources.
The brand is continuing this drive, and has now unveiled a range of new product tools to keep Instagram “a positive and safe place”.
Users with public accounts will be able to choose who can comment on their posts, from everyone to just groups of people, like people they follow or their followers. Those who have private accounts will be able to block certain accounts from commenting on their posts.
Instagram is also taking a closer look at its live offering. Now, when people see someone going through a difficult time or in need of support during a live broadcast, they can anonymously report it. The person will see a message offering help with options to talk to a helpline, reach out to a friend or get other tips and support.
TV ads still performing well despite popularity of subscription video
Traditional television and TV advertising is still alive and kicking – even among those that exclusively use subscription video on demand services (SVOD) such as Amazon and Netflix, new research from YouGov suggests.
The research shows while viewers watch TV through a range of providers, it doesn’t mean the number of people seeing adverts has fallen significantly. While those watching only via SVOD have access to a wider range of programmes without advertising, they still see TV ads in large numbers.
The report also finds that over four in 10 (45%) of those who only access TV through SVOD providers still recall seeing adverts in the television they have watched over the past week. Three in ten (30%) didn’t remember seeing any ads, which is perhaps less surprising given the advert-free nature of much subscription video on demand content.
While the proportion of SVOD-only users that remembered seeing adverts is less than those who only watch through Freeview/Freesat (57%) or paid TV (63%), it is not as far behind as might be anticipated.
Tuesday 26 September
Oath launches first global advertising campaign
Oath, the Verizon-owned company that combines AOL and Yahoo, has launched its first global advertising campaign #BuildYourBrand, which is set to a soundtrack from Public Enemy rapper Chuck D.
Underscoring the company’s differentiators across mobile, video and data for advertisers, publishers and partners, the campaign is more B2B focused. It communicates Oath’s ability to build strong brands that capture the imagination of modern consumers.
“We build brands that over a billion global digital consumers love,” says Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath. “We have one simple message to mobile consumers and customers – build your brand. Your brand matters, fight for it.”
The campaign creative, jointly developed by Oath’s in-house creative team and partner agencies, Zenith and Squeak E. Clean, includes visuals depicting Oath’s brands as orbs as well as its work around augmented reality.
Instagram doubles its advertiser base
Instagram says it has doubled its advertiser base over the last six months as it hits 2 million monthly active advertisers.
And the photo-based social network says its users are also becoming more engaged. It claims users under the age of 25 now spend an average of 32 minutes a day on Instagram.
Meanwhile, last month, an impressive 180 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called, emailed or direct messaged to learn about a business.
“Now 80% of people choose to follow a business they care about on Instagram, further proving that people are looking actively engage with brands in a meaningful way,” says Jim Squires, head of Instagram business.
“Users are spending more time on the platform than ever before, and we know video is a huge part of that. For businesses, motion is becoming the new filter for advertisers as they embrace Stories to connect with and inspire their customers through an immersive video experience, with 60% of Instagram videos watched with sound-on. We’re excited to see how advertisers continue to use video in creative ways to reach their community.
Unilever’s Keith Weed urges publishes to do more to fight ad fraud
One of the world’s most influential marketers has urged publishers such as Facebook and Google to do more to engage on ad fraud.
In a keynote presentation to Advertising Week New York, Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever, gave his verdict on how fast the industry is progressing around transparency.
“One thing holding us back is that the digital media supply chain is still very murky, and it still isn’t where it should be,” he claimed.
“You can say ‘hold on, it’s a new area,’ but is it really that new now? It’s been around for years. It certainly very large and certainly a huge amount of money is being invested in it.”
Weed said “good progress” had been made on viewability and verification, but added: “Having said that, when we move on to ad fraud, I still think there’s more work to do, and indeed on brand safety.”
Ranking the major publishers for their progress on fighting ad fraud, he gave a C grade, saying publishers need to “engage” more.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to see over the walled gardens of the Googles and the Facebooks and the Twitters and Snapchats and be able to measure across the whole market. And be able to as marketers to understand the dynamics between TV and digital,” he added.
“It’s in all our interests because the good guys will win. It will take ad fraud off the table. And whenever there’s a question mark in any market it isn’t good for market growth.”
Sir Martin Sorrell says Facebook and Google should be ‘worried’
Facebook and Google should be more worried about government regulation, according to WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.
Speaking at Advertising Week New York, Sorrell said: “I think they should be more worried about regulation. No sovereign state will let a company become worth $1 trillion.”
According to Sorrell, Facebook and Google have become more flexible partners lately. This is something he attributes to the pressure they have come under.
“With scale and size comes responsibility,” he added. “Whether it’s due to the EU putting pressure on them, political brand safety or consumer brand safety, the threat of regulation, or Steve Bannon’s exit remarks from the White House, I think Google and Facebook have become ‘friendlier frenemies’ or ‘flexible friends.'”
JICWEBS announces next stage to fight ad fraud
JICWEBS, the independent body that defines best practice and standards for trusted online ad trading in the UK, has revealed the next stage in the move to tackle online ad fraud.
It says brands that provide anti-fraud products can now sign-up with JICWEBS for an independent audit from ABC to verify how they reduce the risk of fraudulent ads being served.
And those that successfully demonstrate how their products deal with 16 different sources of fraud listed in JICWEBS’ taxonomy of online fraud will receive certification.
Keith Moor, Santander’s chief marketing officer, has welcomed the move: “Advertisers’ need to have greater trust in digital media is well served by this important initiative from JICWEBS and it’s one that we fully support.
“As a member of JICWEBS’ UK Cross-Industry Anti-Fraud Commercial Working Group, Santander has been working with other advertisers and our digital media partners to reduce the risk of exposure to ad fraud. We look forward to investing our digital marketing spend with trusted, certified companies.”
Monday, 25 September
Deliveroo valuation hits £1.5bn
Food delivery company Deliveroo has reached a valuation of more than $2bn (£1.5bn) after raising $385m (£285m) to fund its latest expansion plans.
This brings the total amount of funding the business has raised since its launch in 2013 to $860m (£637m).
Deliveroo plans to use the investment to expand into new cities and countries, enlarge its tech team and work with restaurants to develop delivery-only kitchens. A high profile beneficiary of the gig economy, Deliveroo currently operates in more than 150 cities across 12 countries and is served by approximately 30,000 riders.
Uber seeks talks with TfL
Uber is seeking talks with Transport for London (TfL) as the taxi hailing app firm prepares to make concessions to ensure its London operating licence is renewed.
General manager for London, Tom Elvidge, told The Times that the company “would like to know what we can do” to overturn the decision made by TfL to strip Uber of its London operating licence once it expires on 30 September.
The taxi hailing app company is also seeking talks with London mayor Sadiq Khan, having allegedly had a number of requests for meetings denied since his appointment to office in May 2016, according to BBC reports.
To date more than 680,000 people have signed an online petition to keep Uber operating in London following TfL’s announcement on Friday that the company is not fit to hold a private hire operator licence.
In a statement TfL said Uber failed to demonstrate “corporate responsibility” in its approach to various issues, including the reporting of serious criminal offences and its use of Greyball, software that blocks regulators gaining full access to the app.
Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue to provide its services in London “until the appeals process has been exhausted”.
Leon sales soar 58% as expansion plans ramp up
Sales at Leon soared 58% to £58.4m in the year to 25 December 2016, as the healthy restaurant chain ramped up expansion outside London.
Having opened eight restaurants over the past year, Leon is now eyeing new locations in Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham and Brighton. The company is also planning to open 20 restaurants in Norway and Sweden over the next five years, after a tie-up with Norwegian millionaire Jens Ulltveit-Moe was finalised in August.
This follows on from the opening of two restaurants in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport last year.
In May, Leon secured £25m in private equity investment to fund expansion into the US, as chief executive John Vincent said the company is exploring opportunities outside the UK as “unhelpful taxes” and the apprenticeship levy have made doing business in Britain more challenging.
M&S launches online food delivery trial
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has begun trialling a one-hour food delivery service for members of its Sparks loyalty programme in London and Reading.
Based at its Camden store in north London, the first trial offers home delivery in one and two hour slots within a three-mile radius. A limited range of ready meals, such as Thai green curry and pizzas, are available in an hour. The delivery time rises to two hours if shoppers want to add groceries to their baskets.
The store in Woodley, Reading is a collection-only service with a two-hour turnaround.
Both trials are only open to Sparks loyalty scheme members and apply to a minimum order of £10. While M&S had already been selling party food and alcohol online, this is the first time the service has rolled out to its wider grocery range.
Gender pay gap widens for female managers
Female managers earn on average £12,000 less than their male counterparts according to new research.
The study by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR found that the gender pay gap between the UK’s 3.3 million managers is nearly £3,000 bigger than previously suggested.
Women are far more likely to fill junior management positions than men, these roles skewing 66% female to 34% male according to the survey of 118,385 managers from 423 organisations. The data also shows that just 26% of director positions are held by women, compared to 74% held by men.
Despite the fact that from April Government rules required large companies with more than 250 employees to report the size of their gender pay gap, to date just 77 of the 7,850 companies have fulfilled their obligations.