L’Oréal, Smirnoff, Paddy Power: 5 things that mattered this week and why

The big news this week includes Smirnoff urging brands to change their approach to inclusivity, Paddy Power getting in trouble with the ASA (once again) and the fact Brits are set to spend less this Christmas.

Smirnoff

Smirnoff urges brands to back up purpose with ‘significant action’

Smirnoff has long been looking to promote inclusivity and diversity in its advertising through its ‘We’re Open’ campaign. It launched a new iteration this week, which is focused around the trans and non-binary community (individuals who identify as neither male or female).

Through this campaign and by championing LGBT role models, Smirnoff hopes to shift mainstream perceptions and understanding of under-represented communities.

This time around, however, the brand has taken extra steps to ensure it doesn’t just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. It is partnering with the LGBT Foundation to develop guidance for its bartender training programme to raise awareness of non-binary issues and build skills, knowledge and confidence to ensure that staff on the ground are leading the way in making British nightlife more inclusive.

“It’s very easy to tell a compelling story and provide lip service to extremely important matters. But if you don’t back that up with some significant action, it becomes a little meaningless,” said Smirnoff’s head of Europe, Sam Salameh.

Salameh isn’t wrong – as more brands adopt a purpose or strive to be seen as diverse and inclusive, they should not just shout about their cause but put their money where their mouth is.

READ MORE: Smirnoff aims for ‘societal change’ with new LGBT campaign

L’Oréal on why the industry needs to change its ways on innovation

L'Oreal

Too many marketers are resting on their laurels when it comes to innovation. At least, that’s what L’Oréal’s new chief marketing officer believes.

Speaking at the ad:tech London conference on Wednesday (29 November), Stéphane Bérubé, who has been CMO for Western Europe for just over two months, having spent 15 years with the business in Canada, said L’Oréal’s constant growth is due to it “never taking anything for granted”.

Central to the strategy has been innovating when times are good. He referenced one of his colleagues, who during a meeting pointed out that “everything needed to change” despite the fact L’Oréal was cash rich, building market share in all its regions and growing sales. After all, he said, what might work for the company now might not in future.

“The message was, let’s not wait until the business is in trouble. You need to operate changes when business is going well, not the day you start losing customers,” he said.

“I see too many agencies losing clients, and they tell me it’s not a problem because they’ll gain another one. Instead of saying it’s not a problem, it should be a wake-up call. L’Oréal decided to accelerate this reinvention while we were growing and building market share. It was not declining.”

READ MORE: L’Oréal: Innovate when business is good, not when change is critical

Maserati picks Accenture Interactive as its global experience agency

Last year, Accenture hit the headlines after acquiring creative agency Karmarama. The reason at the time seemed clear – by moving into creative services, the consultancy could open itself up to brands looking for a one-stop shop for all their marketing needs.

And this week, Accenture Interactive unveiled its first major global experience client, car marque Maserati. It has been tasked with improving the luxury vehicle brand’s customer experience across all digital channels, thereby expanding its global sales.

The brand, owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will work with a team from across the Accenture Interactive business, including creative agency, Karmarama.

Jacob Nyborg, Maserati’s head of marketing, said: “High-quality brand experiences change the nature of our relationships in a positive way, and we want to engage with our customers across all channels, from media to after-sales, in more meaningful ways.”

Similar news is undoubtedly on the horizon. After all, big consultancies have been increasingly moving into the marketing space, most notably in digital. Three of the top five digital agencies – IBM iX, Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital – are subsidiaries of the big consulting firms according to Econsultancy’s 2016 top 100 digital agencies report.

Brits’ propensity to spend drops just before Christmas

Retailers, look away now – the following sentences won’t make for easy reading. The latest consumer confidence figures from GfK show Brits have cut back on making major purchases at the worst possible time.

In November, GfK’s major purchase index, which ranks Brits’ propensity to spend money on big ticket items such as electricals, fell six points to a score of -6. To put this into perspective, in November 2016 this was 11 points higher at a score of 5.

According to Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, this isn’t a sign consumers are buying their Christmas presents late. Instead, he believes reality is kicking in and Brits are preparing for a budget Christmas.

He tells Marketing Week: “There was a ‘live now, pay later’ mood for quite some time – but it looks like a sense of reality is now kicking in. Brits have every right to feel glum in the face of the gloomy economic forecasts.

“Many retailers will be hit by the slowdown in consumer spending as households begin to feel the pinch and cut-back on their budgets. The confidence trajectory is unquestionably negative and sadly no amount of tinsel or baubles will change it.”

READ MORE: Brits’ hunger for major purchases plunges just before Christmas

Paddy Power gets in trouble with the ASA (again)

From allowing punters to bet on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial to advising people to ‘Always Bet on Black’ with the Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight, Paddy Power is no stranger to controversy.

This week was no different. The betting brand was rapped by the ASA for a “socially irresponsible” ad showing a security guard gambling at work.

While Paddy Power argued the ad was not irresponsible as it is advertising a gambling product in a casino, the ASA disagreed. It said while it’s acceptable to depict customers gambling in casinos, the licensed premises would still be considered a working environment for its staff.

The news comes in light of a recent move by the Government to review the gambling industry. This will see the ASA issue new advertising guidance to help ensure “the content of gambling adverts does not encourage impulsive or socially irresponsible gambling”.

The regulator’s new chairman Lord Currie previously raised concerns over the “unforeseen consequences” of legalising gambling ads on TV and radio 10 years ago. What this means in practical terms for the likes of Paddy Power is yet to be seen.

READ MORE: Paddy Power ad banned for ‘normalising gambling at work’

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