Coca-Cola’s UK marketing boss on Coca-Cola Zero sugar and how the brand will remain at the ‘forefront of marketing’
It has been a big week for Coca-Cola after the brand announced it would be launching a £10m campaign to promote Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, marking its biggest marketing investment in a new product launch in a decade.
The move comes after the company announced it would be revamping its ‘Coke Zero’ variant in April this year after discovering that half of its consumers questioned did not know it contained no sugar.
The latest campaign urges people to drink less sugar. It is accompanied by the strapline ‘tastes more like Coca-Cola and looks more like Coca-Cola’ and will include a TV ad, OOH, experiential and in-store promotional activity to support the launch. The brand will also distribute more than four million samples across the UK this summer.
It marks the next step in the company’s strategy as it aims to move from “offering choice to shaping choice” and help consumers reduce their sugar consumption by actively encouraging more people to choose a no-sugar option – an important goal as the company is hit by public health concerns around obesity and the impending sugar tax.
However, marketing director Bobby Brittain told Marketing Week that the launch won’t be at the detriment of its Coke Life variant.
“Coke Life won’t be impacted in any way. We know from our consumer research that [the buyers] are completely different groups of consumers. When we launched Coke Life, we didn’t see an impact on Coke Zero.”
He added: “The adrenaline shot for the whole sector is coming through Coke Zero Sugar. We have never invested as much in the last decade. That’s a very bold statement of intent.”
Brands urged to ‘take action’ as consumer confidence hits 21-year low following Brexit
Following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, brands have been left unsure how sales and marketing budgets will be affected. However, this week the latest GfK index survey highlighted that consumer confidence has nosedived as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, with the headline score hitting a 21-year low.
In a special one-off report tracking the post-Brexit period of June 30 to July 5, the core consumer confidence index fell 8 points to -9. The survey, which dates back to 1974, has not seen a bigger drop since December 1994.
British consumers’ propensity to make a big purchase also fell 12 points to -3, with major purchases such as holidays, clothing and electricals all expected to suffer as a result of Brexit.
There was an even steeper fall in consumers’ predictions for the UK economy over the next 12 months, with the score falling a colossal 15 points to -29. In June – before the outcome of the referendum was clear – this index stood at -14. In theory, this means consumers’ fears around the UK economy chances over the next 12 months have almost doubled.
Marketing Week announces judges for Data Storytelling Awards 2016
This week we announced our judges for Marketing Week’s Data Storytelling Awards 2016, set to take place July 19.
The 10 judges will include ITV’s head of brand planning Claire Philips, HSBC’s EMEA head of CRM and channel data services Simon Kaffel and eHarmony’s UK marketing director Romain Bertrand. The list of judges also features data experts from the likes of TfL, Camelot, AIG and Direct Line.
Each will judge 16 different categories celebrating the best in class in areas including predictive analytics, customer experience, personalisation, programmatic and mobile.
An accompanying one-day conference will equip marketers with the essential tools needed to better communicate with customers, enhance strategy and boost ROI. Disney’s Richard Ellwood, head of audience strategy EMEA, is among the keynote speakers.
M&S blames Brexit and poor weather as fashion sales spectacularly fall
It was a difficult week for Marks and Spencer after the retailer saw its like-for-like general merchandise sales fall 8.9% for the 13 weeks to 2 July. To put the latest drop in fashion sales into perspective, M&S suffered only a 2.7% fall in GM sales in its fourth quarter.
Food has been the brand’s saving grace over recent years as its fashion arm consistently fails to ignite. However, for the first quarter like-for-like food sales were also down by 0.9%. Meanwhile, total UK sales fell 1.1% and were down 4.3% at established stores.
The first quarter performance didn’t go down well with shareholders either. In early morning trading, shares in M&S – which have fallen 29% over the last three months and hit a 21-year low – were down by 1.2% to 290.6p.
Its chief executive Steve Rowe blamed the steep decline on a “weakened consumer confidence in the run up to the EU referendum.”
“While it is too early to quantify the implications of Brexit, we are confident that our strategic priorities and the actions we are taking remain the right ones to deliver results for our customers and our business,” he said.
Mark Ritson: Gap’s CEO is suffering from digital delirium
Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson said Gap’s CEO Art Peck has been struck down by a severe case of ‘morbus digital’, a ‘sickness’ he characterised by erratic and irresponsible behaviour such as swapping TV advertising for Tinder.
This description comes after the American retailer, which operates more than 3,700 stores around the world under brands such as Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, recently announced its 14th consecutive month of declining sales. Ritson described its current share price as “officially in the toilet” and “now worth half what it was trading for a year ago.”
Ritson joked: “Morbus digitalis hits all companies hard, but its effect on retailers can be particularly severe and, in many cases, fatal”.