Aldi, M&S, Disney: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the week’s big marketing news, including festive sales growth for Aldi and UK programmatic advertising spend surpasses £3bn.

Aldi

Brits flock to Aldi in the run up to Christmas

Aldi reclaimed its crown as Britain’s fastest growing supermarket during the 12 weeks to 3 December, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel this week.

The German discounter grew sales by 15.1% year on year, ahead of Lidl’s 14.5% sales growth. And with like-for-like grocery inflation now standing at 3.6%, its highest level since 2013, this looks to be leading more people to consider the cheaper German discounters.

The Kantar numbers tied in with the announcement that inflation had hit its highest level in almost six years. The consumer prices index rose by 3.1% in the 12 months to November, the highest level since March 2012 and away from the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, said this is depressing news for retail brands. He explained: “In the run-up to Christmas, the cost of living, now rising at the fastest rate in five years, remains uncomfortably high for households. Food inflation is at a four-year high and for many families, this is one of the most transparent indicators of living costs and often the catalyst to cut back on spending elsewhere.”

Should consumers hold back on spending this Christmas as the numbers suggest, marketers might just struggle to complete a dry January.

READ MORE: Brits flock to Aldi in the run up to Christmas

UK programmatic ad spend to surpass £3bn in 2017

The rise of programmatic continued this week as eMarketer claimed UK advertisers will have spent £3.39bn on programmatic advertising, up 23.5% compared to last year, by the end of this year.

Programmatic spend now represents 79% of all UK digital display ad spend, with this proportion expected to reach 84.5% by 2019.

Speaking at this year’s Festival of Marketing, Lidl’s head of media Sam Gaunt said the marketing industry is “guilty of overselling programmatic” as he doubted its safety for brands.

However, eMarketer’s senior analyst Bill Fisher believes the marketing industry is making positive strides to win back trust from advertisers. “The programmatic ecosystem is growing because it’s maturing,” he explained. “This maturation is leading to better practices, better behaviour and better transparency.”

READ MORE: UK programmatic ad spend to surpass £3bn in 2017

M&S advises SMEs struggling to implement sustainability

Sustainability is a hot topic of discussion among brands right now. Especially FMCG giants such as Unilever, which seem to have become determined to launch or acquire a business that is less damaging to the environment.

Smaller businesses are having a tougher time implementing sustainability, however. New research by creative agency 18 Feet and Rising finds that while 88% of small- and medium-sized businesses value sustainability, 70% struggle to implement it into their business.

Having surveyed 100 CEOs at UK-based SMEs, the study shows 40% believe sustainable practices are too costly to implement, with a further 42% believing the government doesn’t currently do enough to encourage sustainable business practices.

In a new interview with Marketing Week, Jo Daniels, sustainability manager for Marks & Spencer, said this challenge is occurring because SMEs are not showing enough leadership.

“Implementing sustainability requires leadership. It requires companies to understand its key priorities, its customers’ expectations and how delivering on those will create value for the business, particularly with customers,” she explained.

“From a brand perspective, this can be hard to quantify and short-term demands can hinder a long-term approach to building a brand, so this may be why some SMEs struggle.”

READ MORE: M&S on how SMEs can turn sustainability into a success

YouTube reveals its top 10 Christmas ads

This year’s John Lewis Christmas ad sparked mixed reactions from marketers, with some saying the British retailer’s ad wasn’t brave or bold enough. Meanwhile, more recent research suggested that the Christmas ad, featuring Moz the Monster, did not leave people in the mood to spend.

Nevertheless, the ad still came out on top of YouTube’s Christmas ad list, beating off competitors such as Argos, Aldi and Debenhams. Closely following John Lewis was M&S, who teamed up with Paddington bear to create a “feel good” festive campaign.

Sainsbury’s Christmas campaign – which was considered a bit of a Marmite option among the Marketing Week team due to its catchy sing-a-long song and low-budget feel – came third.

READ MORE: The top 10 Christmas YouTube ads in 2017

Disney buys Rupert Murdoch’s Fox for $52bn

Disney

After weeks of speculation, it has finally happened – Walt Disney has agreed to buy the majority of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox’s business for $52.4bn (£39bn). Obviously, this was something The Simpsons predicted 20 years ago.

The purchase includes Fox’s film and television studios, as well as its 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky. Fox says it will form a news-focused company with its remaining assets.

Both Disney and the Australian media mogul said the break-up makes sense amid new threats from online advertising and competitors who are streaming entertainment into consumer’s homes (you can probably guess who that refers to).

The BBC reports that Disney’s stake in Sky gives it nearly 50 million European subscribers, and that the deal will lead it to acquire a majority stake in the streaming service Hulu. Netflix, watch your back.

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