Coca-Cola, Sol, TimeTo: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From the launch of the first campaign for the ad industry’s ‘TimeTo’ movement, to a digital services tax on Facebook and Google and a new positioning for Sol, catch up on everything that mattered in the marketing world this week.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola creates group to drive speed and growth of new acquisitions

It’s been a busy quarter for Coke, they’ve struck deals for sports drink Body Armour and coffee company Costa to name just a few and now the drinks giant has created a global team to ensure that new brands can cross markets faster and more effectively.

Speaking on a call to investors this week, CEO James Quincey acknowledged that the company was “not as fast as we would like to be” and that it had learnt a lot from getting things wrong in past acquisitions.

Coke’s chief people officer, Jennifer Mann, will head up the team as president of Global Ventures group which will also look for new trends and opportunities.

The creation of Global Ventures and the company’s fast-paced acquisitions are an indicator of how serious Coca-Cola are about becoming a “total beverage company” and moving away from just fizzy drinks. With consumers moving towards healthier drinks and governments cracking down on sugar Coke needs to diversify its portfolio more than ever and speed is of the essence.

Quincey also discussed how Body Armour would retain much of the creative control around the brand, much like Innocent in the UK, as the company have learnt that it is better to harness brand’s power rather than force them to do things the Coke way.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola puts focus on scaling new brands to drive growth

Ad industry launches campaign to crackdown on sexual harassment

This week, TimeTo, adland’s version of the #MeToo movement, launched its first advertising campaign in an effort to raise awareness of sexual harassment in the advertising and marketing industries.

The creative is simple yet incredibly effective, with a series of videos and posters based on real-life scenarios encouraging people to think about where they draw the line.

It follows research TimeTo did earlier this year to gauge the level of sexual harassment taking place in the industry. One of the key issues raised was that many people are unclear about what constitutes sexual harassment – aside from more obvious physical and verbal assaults and violations.

The campaign aims to unblur those lines and make people realise that what might be ‘banter’ to one person could be uncomfortable and inappropriate to another.

A ‘harmless’ hand on the knee, lingering hug or comment on somebody’s outfit, which one person might not think anything of, could make another feel incredibly uncomfortable.

The point is that the line varies from person to person. There is no black and white answer.

What the campaign will hopefully do is make people think twice before they speak or act. And perhaps most importantly, make people feel like they can speak up – whether they are being harassed or see it happening – without fear of being shamed or dismissed.

One in four people in this industry have been sexually harassed at some point during their career and less than one in five people have ever reported it. Let’s hope this campaign can be the driving force that sees those numbers change.

Facebook and Google face tax on digital services

One of the key announcements in the government’s Budget at the start of the week was the introduction of a tax on digital tech giants. Quite what that will look like is up for negotiation, but Chancellor Philip Hammond said it would apply to tech firms that are profitable and have at least £500m in global revenue. These companies could be taxed 2% on the money they make from UK users, which would generate more than £400m a year for the government.

The move to get the tech giants to pay more tax in the markets where they operate is gaining steam. Whether this is quite the way to do it is another matter. The digital ad industry has raised concerns, saying it could “disincentivise” competitors and impact mid-market players. Some in the US government, meanwhile, have seen it as an attack on US companies, which overwhelmingly dominate the digital market.

In reality, what Hammond seems to want to kickstart is a global conversation about how to matter tax the likes of Google and Facebook. His best case scenario is that this specific law isn’t introduced in the UK because a global agreement has been reached. Whether that’s possible before his deadline of April 2020 is another matter.

READ MORE: Government targets Facebook and Google with digital ad tax

Sol positions itself as ‘sunshine beer’ in attempt to take a slice of the market

Sunshine and British winter don’t exactly have a lot in common so when beer brand Sol decided to drop its new campaign, which encompasses everything the ‘sunshine beer’ category has to offer, it raised a few eyebrows.

It is November, after all.

But not in the Southern Hemisphere it isn’t, where the brand has a much bigger presence and stranglehold on the market, especially in its home country of Mexico.

Alessandro Manunta, portfolio development manager at Heineken International Brands, told Marketing Week that the Mexican beer brand is shifting its positioning in a bid to appeal to sun-seeking consumer, re-establish what it stands for and take on category leader Corona.

To do this, it is focusing on its origin and heritage, and the fact that ‘El Sol’ literally means ‘the sun’. The campaign shows Sol drinkers sitting in various outdoor social settings and physically chasing the sun, either by moving their chairs or fully relocating, each time a cloud or object casts a shadow over their location. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there?

However, whether Sol can establish itself as a major player within a sub-category that plays host to easy-drinking lagers, usually served in transparent bottles, from exotic origins, will depend on if it can tap into Corona’s loyal following.

READ MORE: Sol revisits its roots as it looks to cement itself in the ‘sunshine beer’ market

ASA puts focus on online advertising but warns it needs more support for regulation to be effective

ad regulation

It’s more than seven-and-a-half years since the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) expanded its remit to include digital advertising but regulating the online world is becoming increasingly complex. From influencer marketing to voice technology and facial recognition, the ways in which brands can reach consumers through advertising is rapidly growing and evolving.

The ASA is in no doubt that it should regulate this area. And it already spends most of its time and resources doing so. Almost nine in 10 (88%) of the 7,099 ads that were amended or withdrawn in 2017 were online ads either in whole or in part, while two-thirds of the cases it resolved were about online ads.

But to have as much impact as it wants to it’s clear regulation requires strengthening and that the ad regulator needs more support from across the industry, as well as to come up with new solutions to ensure it can be as effective as possible.

One area ASA CEO Guy Parker pulls out is funding. Some progress has been made in this area but more needs to be done. Another area where the regulator needs “deeper” support is from the tech giants Facebook and Google. And there are ways the ASA can help itself, through “lighter-touch” ways for people to flag concerns without having to go through the full complaints process, adopting a more nimble process and exploring whether tech such as machine learning could help.

The ad industry should be under no illusion as to the key role the ASA plays and that self-regulation remains the best option. Now it needs to come together to future-proof that self-regulatory future.

READ MORE: The ASA warns it needs more industry support to effectively regulate online ads

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