Lidl, Marriott, Lyft: Everything that matters this morning

Catch up on all the most important marketing news from the around the world with our morning round-up.

Lidl

Lidl debuts new look #LidlSurprises ad

Lidl UK has unveiled the latest ad in its #LidlSurprises campaign, focusing on the provenance and price story behind its wine range.

Debuting last night during Emmerdale on ITV 1, the advert shows ‘anti-advocate’ Joanna Ripley as she travels to Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux’s wine region to find out more about the production of Lidl’s Merlot Bordeaux blend.

To help change her perception of the quality of Lidl’s wine offering Ripley is seen taking a tour of the vineyard and chatting with winemaker, Christian Pascaud.

Created by TBWA\London, the advert will be rolled out across print press ads, TV (20 and 60 second edits), cinema (60 second edits) and online (10 and 20 second edits).

Lidl UK commercial director, Ryan McDonnell, explains that having focused on its fresh product offering with the first iteration of #LidlSurprises, the supermarket now wants to use the campaign to show how it sources its other products.

He explained: “It’s important we now expand this journey so that #LidlSurprises encompasses all categories within store and continues to capture the attention of our customers.”

Marriott looking for new global media agency

Marriott is putting its global media up for review following six years with MEC and nearly a year after its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in September 2016.

Having reflected on the “scale and scope” of the business since its merger, Marriott said in a statement to Ad Age that the review was aimed at identifying a solution that allows “seamless coordination” across its “expanded ecosystems”, facilitating greater collaboration between HQ and the teams out in the field. Marriott’s global budget is reported to exceed $195 million.

Another contributing factor in the decision could be the announcement in June that MEC’s owner GroupM plans to merge the company with sister agency Maxus in a bid to cut costs.

READ MORE: Marriott puts global media up for review

Alphabet leads Lyft’s $1 billion funding round

Lyft

US ride hailing app Lyft has raised $1 billion in its latest funding round led by Google parent company Alphabet, dealing a fresh blow to Uber.

Lyft is expected to use the money to fund further expansion. Currently running a distant second to Uber, the company is available across 41 US states and claims to complete more than a million rides a day.

Alphabet and Lyft started collaborating early this year on a project to bring an autonomous vehicle to market via Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo.

Waymo is current suing Uber for stealing trade secrets, alleging former employee Anthony Levandowski stole over 14,000 documents on its self-driving car technology to give the ride sharing firm.

READ MORE: Alphabet’s CapitalG leads Lyft’s $1 billion funding round

British fashion market back in growth after 14 months

marks & spencer fashion

The British fashion market has returned to growth after 16 consecutive periods of decline dating back to June 2016.

Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories rose 0.2% during the 52 weeks ending 24 September, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.

Success was driven in large part by full price sales, which rose 2% year on year and contributed an additional £483m to the market compared to the same period in 2016. Discounting is down 2.7%, with 98 million fewer units sold on promotion.

“For years we’ve seen heavy discounting and this created an atmosphere of mistrust: consumers felt clothing wasn’t worth its full price,” explained Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Retailers have made a significant effort to address this by focusing on getting the value right from the off and as a result shoppers have more confidence in buying at the original price.”

Fashion retailers have also tapped into the trend for transitional pieces that stay relevant for longer and therefore do not need to be discounted as soon as the weather changes. Having larger ranges and taking a more flexible approach to stock control has also helped make a difference.

Chinese spending hits £29m during Golden Week

Cambridge Satchel Co

Chinese tourists spent £29m on UK retail during the annual Golden Week holiday (1-8 October), as the weakened pound drove a 10% surge in flights from China to Britain.

Some £11m was spent in London alone, according to research from payments processor Worldpay, with British department stores seeing their in-store sales rise by almost a third compared to the seasonal average. The capital’s pubs, restaurants and bars also experienced a 23% increase in spending from Chinese tourists.

A week-long holiday established in 1999 by the Chinese government to boost consumer spending, Golden Week is set to rival China Single’s Day (11 November) as one of the world’s biggest shopping events.

READ MORE: Chinese tourists splash out £29m in UK shops during Golden Week

Thursday, 19 October

unilever

Unilever sales disappoint

Unilever saw sales in its third quarter fall well short of estimates as poor weather in Europe and natural disasters in the US and Mexico cut demand. Underlying revenue was up just 2.6%, compared with analyst expectations of a 4% rise and a 3% increase in the second quarter. It also marks the fourth straight quarter of volume deceleration.

CFO Graeme Pitkethly, speaking on a conference call this morning, describes the environment as “stubbornly low growth”. The weather in Europe hit sales of ice cream and refreshments business, which accounts for about a fifth of sales. Meanwhile, in the US, retailers in Texas and Florida cancelled orders.

Pitkethly says these are not “ifs and buts” reasons, but they were unforseen and have hit sales. But he admits Unilever “left some runs on the field” and that it hasn’t been as competitive as he would like. A focus on new channels, such as direct-to-consumer, will, it hopes, return it to higher growth.

Amazon expands Dash in the UK

amazon

Amazon has made another 39 products available via its Dash buttons, which allow users to order by simply pushing them, taking the total to more than 100. Household products including Bold, Cillit Bang and Calgon have been added to the list, along with pet food brands such as Felix and Bakers and drinks including Evian and Vitacoco.

In the US, Amazon offers 250 products via Dash, so the UK is still some way behind. Dash buttons were launching here in August last year, and Amazon says they have been used to deliver more than 160,000 cups of coffee and almost 300,000 rolls of toilet paper. Reordering toilet paper is the most popular Dash button use, according to the company, followed by dishwasher tablets, cat litter, cat food, beer, mouthwash and baby wipes.

READ MORE: Amazon UK now has over 100 instant-order Dash buttons

Brewdog looks to raise £50m for expansion

BrewDog is looking to raise up to £50m via crowdfunding with the aim of expanding its business and investing in its bars, brewing facilities and a new craft beer TV network. The Scottish brewer wants to open 15 new bars in the UK and start up new breweries in Australia and Asia.

It is initially looking to raise £10m via the crowdfunding push which it will use to finance a new brewhouse as its Ellon brewery in Scotland, with shares selling for £23.75 each. If it proves popular, the company could increase this to up to £50m. The crowfunding drive ends on 15 January 2018.

BrewDog’s co-founder James Watt says: “The latest round of Equity for Punks will make us the biggest equity crowdfunded business of all time, having already raised over £41m from a community of tens of thousands of misfits, forging a new kind of business model founded on craft, community and conscience.”

READ MORE: BrewDog seeks £50m investment for fresh expansion drive

YouTube has reviewed more than 1 million videos to find terrorist content

youtube brand safety

YouTube, and other tech brands, has been criticised for not doing enough to stop terrorist content appearing on its platform. However, it says it has now manually reviewed more than one million videos since saying in June that it would up its efforts.

The company says using a mix of human flagghing and human reviewing together with technology is proving successful. More than 83% of the videos it removed for extremist content were taken down before a single human flag, up eight percentage points since August. And it has done this by providing “large volumes of training examples”.

It has also added 35 new NGOs to its ‘trusted flagger’ service, and is applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal, don’t violate its guidelines but are controversial. While these videos remain on YouTube, they have a warning before watching and won’t appear in recommended lists, be monetised or have key features such as comments or likes.

READ MORE: An update on our commitment to fight violent extremist content online

RB to split business as sales decline

RB is splitting its business in half next year as it looks to focus on its consumer health divison. A new company, RB Health, which incorpates its acquisition of Mead Johnson, will be split out from the company next year. RB CEO Rakesh Kapoor will run that company, while Rob De Groot, currently head of Europe and North America, will run RB Hygiene.

Kapoor says: “We have made great progress over the last five years, as we have transformed our group into one where consumer health now represents more than half of our business. MJN [Mead Johnson] provides us with both critical mass in consumer health and a fantastic opportunity to look at RB not just today, but where we want it to be in 10 years time.”

The move comes after RB reduced its full-year sales outlook for the year. Net revenue in the third quarter fell 1% year on year to £3.2bn due to “known issues” and a tough market environment. RB now expects full-year sales to be flat, down from its previous target of 2% growth.

READ MORE: Reckitt Benckiser launches restructuring plan and cuts forecast as sales remain weak

Wednesday, 18 October

Apple and Google ‘most relevant’ brands

apple store

It comes as little surprise when Apple and Google top a brand ranking, but they have once again triumphed in the latest list by consultancy Prophet of the “most relevant” brands for UK consumers. They retain their respective first and second places from last year’s list, but Android, Dyson and Lush have taken John Lewis, Disney and WhatsApp’s places in the top 10.

Google is in the top three in all four of the countries where Prophet publishes the ranking – the UK, the US, China and Germany.

The UK list is built from survey of 11,500 consumers covering 240 brands. Prophet’s report this year found digital brands are dominating its relevance measures, with the use of data to build customer profiles being key to maximising relevance.

The full top 10 is:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Android
  4. Lego
  5. Spotify
  6. Netflix
  7. Dyson
  8. Lush
  9. PlayStation
  10. Amazon

Facebook buys new Gen Z polling app

Facebook has announced its latest acquisition aimed at boosting engagement with teenagers, with the purchase of tbh, a polling app that lets children vote on questions about their friends. While that sounds like a recipe for bullying, the app only offers pre-approved questions with a positive focus. Users build the polls anonymously, and friends receive the results as a compliment.

The app only launched in August and has not even rolled out to all US states yet, but has already achieved a billion poll responses and has been regularly topping app store charts. According to TechCrunch, the purchase price is less than $100m.

The plan seems to be to let tbh run as a standalone app for the time being, although there is obvious potential to use its functionality on Facebook itself in an attempt to bring younger users back more regularly.

Energy brands told to pull worst customer deals

The energy regulator has threatened energy companies with compulsory targets for moving customers off their worst-value tariffs while urging brands do it themselves. Around two-thirds of households in the UK are on a standard variable tariff, which they will be automatically signed up to after their much cheaper fixed-price deals expire.

Ofgem chief executive told the House of Commons energy select committee that energy companies have not moved quickly enough to push consumers away from the more expensive rates. British Gas and SSE are the brands with the highest proportion of customers on these tariffs.

British Gas told the committee it would back banning standard variable tariffs as an alternative to the government’s proposed price cap, claiming the industry has an engagement problem in getting consumers to switch deals.

READ MORE: Energy firms warned to drop worst-value tariffs or face action

Well-off shoppers more likely to use Aldi and Lidl

Despite their discount image, supermarkets Aldi and Lidl retain an appeal among not just poorer consumers but also the more affluent – in fact they may even be more likely to shop there. A new survey by Mintel says 77% of households earning £50,000 or above per year have shopped at one of the two retailers, while the figure was just 73% among those earning less than £15,000.

The majority of shoppers, 71% say the quality is as good as at other stores, while both Aldi and Lidl have recently introduced more premium ranges. Their diverse customer bases could also be testament to the companies’ expansion strategies, not merely targeting less well-off areas with new store openings.

Aldi and Lidl now represent 12% of the UK grocery market according to Kantar Worldpanel, and continue to grow their share against the big four of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

READ MORE: How wide is Aldi and Lidl’s appeal among the better off?

Shell to offer electric car charging

Shell petrol stations are set to roll out charging points for electric vehicles in London, Surrey and Derby this week, with a total of 10 stations to be equipped by the end of the year.The move comes just six days after Shell announced the purchase of Dutch company NewMotion, which owns one of Europes biggest charging networks.

It also follows the government’s announcement that it intends to ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040. There are now around 115,000 hybrid or pure electric cars running on UK roads, compared with virtually none 10 years ago.

READ MORE: Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

Tuesday, 16 October

Netflix on track to hit $11bn in revenue this year

Netflix added more subscribers than expected during Q3 and is now on track to make more than $11bn in revenue this year, according to its latest earning report.

The streaming giant added 5.3 million subscribers during the quarter, a 49% rise year on year, meaning it beat its own target to add 4.4 million.

Netflix now has 109 million subscribers globally, however this means many more viewers in reality given eMarketer estimates roughly 2.5 viewers for each paid subscription.

In a statement, the brand said: “We continued to benefit from a strong appetite for our original series and films, as well as the adoption of internet entertainment across the world.”

READ MORE: Netflix Is On Track To Exceed $11B In Revenue This Year

Video ad spend overtakes banner ads

Video is the fastest growing digital ad format, with advertisers now spending more on video than banner ads for the first time, according to the latest Digital Adspend report from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK and PwC.

Advertisers spent £699m on video ads during the first half of 2017 – a 46% year-on-year increase. Spend on banner ads, meanwhile, rose by just under 2% to £685m.

The rise means video now accounts for 35% of all display advertising spend.

The IAB’s CEO Jon Mew says: “The time people spend watching online video has grown tremendously over the last few years, so it’s little wonder that video is now the fastest-growing ad format as advertisers look to tap into the changing way people consume content.”

Sports Direct owner to sell Newcastle United

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has put Newcastle United up for sale, with hopes to have it off his hands by Christmas.

Ashley has reportedly been open to offers for the Premier League club but has now made his intentions official after instructing St James’ Park to issue a public statement clarifying his intentions.

He is understood to be looking for £380m for the club he bought 10 years ago and has stated he would accept staggered payments but made it clear he wants out rather than a partnership with new investors.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale and seeks exit by Christmas

Anthony Joshua teams up with Lynx

World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua has joined forces with Lynx to launch a limited edition fragrance and give fans the opportunity to win tickets to his next fight.

As part of the launch, the Unilever-owned brand is running a two-week campaign encouraging people to take part in a mobile game to track down the limited edition product – five of which are hand signed by Joshua and will grant the winner access to his next fight.

To encourage fans to participate Lynx has worked with TMW Unlimited and LandMrk to set up a microsite with geo-locked content. The campaign is also being supported by Joshua on his social channels.

Dilraj Athwal, Lynx brand manager at Unilever UK, says: “Anthony Joshua has long been a fan of Lynx so we thought it would be a brilliant idea to give his fans the opportunity to see him in action with this innovative campaign.”

IBM eyes blockchain opportunity

IBM has launched a blockchain network designed to reduce the time it takes banks to settle cross-border payments, as well as lowering the cost for businesses and consumers.

The technology will allow banks to clear and settle global payment transactions on a single network almost instantly.

“With the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world,” said senior vice-president of IBM Industry Platforms Bridget van Kralingen.

Blockchain technology presents huge opportunities for brands, from ad delivery verification to the safe and transparent storage of data, so it’s something marketers should be looking to get to grips with.

READ MORE: IBM launches blockchain offering to consolidate cross-border payments

Monday, 16 October

CoppaFeel! shows first full-frontal boobs on daytime TV

Breast cancer health and education charity CoppaFeel! has been given permission to show full-frontal breasts on daytime TV for the first time ever to encourage women to check themselves regularly for unusual changes.

The #TrustYourTouch campaign, created in partnership with Fold7, looks to highlight the importance of using your touch to ensure early detection of lumps or bumps.

ClearCast cleared the ad for daytime TV and cinemas, but the only condition is that the ad isn’t shown around children’s programming. There are otherwise no timing restrictions on the ad due to the importance of its message. It will run both 60 and 40-second ads.

A spokesman told Marketing Week the ads are booked via pro bono media relationships – ITV’s a confirmed partner – and will go live from today (16 October).

Research by CoppaFeel! found that the vast majority of young women do not check their boobs regularly. The main barrier was uncertainty, with six in 10 saying they lacked the confidence to know how to check. The majority of 18 to 29-year-old women believe there is a specific method to check their breasts, thinking it is much more complicated than it really is.

UberEats on course for reaching $3bn in sales

While Uber might have had a bad year filled with crises, Uber’s sister company UberEats seems to be doing just fine. The food delivery service made up nearly a tenth of the company’s global gross bookings in the second quarter, according to the FT.

This implies the division is on track to exceed $3bn in gross sales this year. The service only launched two years ago as a standalone app.

During the second quarter of this year, UberEats accounted for eight to 10% of global gross bookings, which implies $700m-$870m of gross turnover for the unit. Uber’s total gross bookings were $8.7bn for the period.

By comparison, competitor GrubHub, which is valued at $4.1bn, reported $880m of gross food sales during the second quarter.

READ MORE: UberEats a bright spot on menu with $3bn potential sales

Facebook looks to tackle online bullying with digital safety ambassadors

The US social media giant is offering every UK secondary school the chance to train up “digital safety ambassadors” to stop online bullying.

It will look to tackle the problem by partnering with youth charities Childnet International and The Diana Award, and offer every UK secondary school dedicated digital safety ambassadors: young people trained to provide peer-to-peer support and lead online safety initiatives in the classroom.

Tens of thousands of pupils in 4,500 secondary schools could be trained as ‘digital leaders’ or ‘anti-bullying ambassadors’, and will be provided with face-to-face training, dedicated online resources and forums.

New research from Researchbods shows 13 to 17-year-olds are more likely to confide in a peer (72%) than a parent (60%) or teacher (34%) should they experience online bullying.

And with estimates that between 6% and 25% of children have experienced online bullying, Facebook’s commitment will look to scale the charities’ existing work in schools to improve child safety and well-being through peer-to-peer support.

Government launches investigation into Airbnb’s effect on communities

Airbnb has long struggled with local authorities in different markets, and has even been banned or scaled back in cities such as Berlin and Barcelona. The British Government is now also looking to take action.

It is launching a push to understand how peer-to-peer accommodation websites such as Airbnb affect local communities, which could pave the way for regulation of such “sharing economy” websites.

The Open Data Institute) an independent body set up by World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has been handed a £6m grant to pursue projects that include studying the ­impact of property-sharing sites.

It opens up the possibility that Airbnb, which has been accused of ­exacerbating housing shortages and disturbing neighbourhoods, could face new rules designed to limit its impact.

READ MORE: Government-funded open data study to assess Airbnb regulation

UK retailers face losing out to European rivals

British retailers will be outstripped by their European rivals next year as disposable incomes are squeezed by slowing wage growth and a return of inflation, analysts have warned.

Despite robust retail sales growth this year credit rating agency Moody’s has warned it expects high street bellwethers Next and Marks & Spencer to suffer from “anaemic growth or even a contraction of earnings” next year.

In its study of European retailers, seen by The Daily Telegraph, only the UK retail names are listed as losers for next year. Debenhams, House of Fraser, B&Q owner Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Next are all predicted to have negative earnings.

“The looming prospect of interest rate rises will mean UK consumers continue to search for value and it will also curb any meaningful growth in discretionary spending,” said Moody’s.

READ MORE: European rivals will outstrip UK high street giants, warns Moody’s

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