Asos, John Lewis, Aunt Bessie’s: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all this week’s marketing news including Asos scrapping its loyalty programme, Aunt Bessie’s modernisation push and the new campaign from Sport England for ‘This Girl Can’.

Asos brings loyalty scheme to a close

Asos decided to scrap its A-List loyalty programme this week in a supposed necessary move to allow it to get to work on rewarding its customers “even better”.

The online retailer said the four-and-a-half year old scheme had failed to engage customers, who preferred its Premier Delivery service instead.

As far as loyalty schemes go, this one was basic (similar to Boots’s Advantage card) but it wasn’t bad. And it doesn’t mean that simple points-based schemes don’t work.

What it suggests is that Asos has engendered loyalty from its 18.4 million active customers in some other way, which is likely to do with the speed, ease and convenience of the service it offers.

£9.95 will get you free next-day delivery for a whole year, meaning you can order something, try it on and return it within 12 hours. In a world of Ubers and Just Eats, this is an incredibly valuable USP for a retailer.

Does this mean people aren’t loyal to Asos as a brand? Perhaps. The same could be argued for other fast fashion retailers like Missguided and Boohoo. Which raises a bigger question: is good customer experience enough to keep people loyal?

READ MORE: Asos A-List’s failure shows you don’t need a loyalty scheme to drive loyalty

John Lewis customers like to do things on their phones

For us, the key take-out from John Lewis’s annual 2018 retail report was that six people paid £16,500 for a mattress. That, and thong sales have increased by 72%.

For John Lewis, it was probably that mobile has overtaken desktop and tablet for the first time as the most convenient way for customers to browse and shop online.

So much so that JLP declared 2018 the “year of shopping on the move”, with smartphones now accounting for 42% of visits compared to 30% on desktop and 22% on tablet.

But before marketers start throwing all their pounds at mobile, desktop is still the most popular place to actually make purchases (accounting for 51% of sales compared to 22% on tablet and 21% on mobile).

Another sign that mobile optimisation and experience on smaller screens is still not up to scratch. Could 2019 finally be the year marketers get to grips with mobile?

It’s been a long time coming – and given desktop computer sales at John Lewis were down 15% year on year, brands should probably get a move on.

And finally: a sad farewell to the traditional doorknocker, which is being ousted by a new breed of super smart doorbells. It’s OK, doorknocker. Give it 20 years and you’ll be on trend again alongside CDs, DVDs and iPhones #vintage.

READ MORE: At John Lewis, smartphones are now the most popular way to shop online

Aunt Bessie’s gets rid of Margret and Mabel in £5m marketing push

Aunt Bessie’s has dropped its brand characters Margret and Mabel in a new campaign that it hopes will modernise the brand.

The ad, created by St Luke’s, shows no sign of the nosy pensioners who have fronted the campaigns for a decade. Instead they have been replaced with a father of two children who races to get home. The pushy Margret and Mabel seem a bit outdated in the context of today’s advertising and in testing Aunt Bessie’s found that the characters had high awareness but consumers weren’t responding to them anymore. Plus, it’s nice to see a father cooking for his children and the breakaway from stereotypes will go down well with younger consumers.

The first run of the ad will stop on 23 December but should be released again next year alongside new packaging which is designed to drive purchases as the brand found that although consumers were being driven to the frozen food aisle by their ads packaging was letting them down.

The £5m campaign signifies the largest marketing investment Aunt Bessie’s has ever had and this is in part thanks to new owners Nomad Foods. Aunt Bessie’s was bought earlier this year by the company and although the brand was already planning TV and redesign the new owners were enthusiastic about pushing more money into marketing.

READ MORE: Aunt Bessie’s shifts marketing message in biggest ever campaign

Facebook hit with £500,000 fine


The UK data protection watchdog confirmed this week that Facebook would face a £500,000 fine, the maximum it could hand out, over its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) called the incident a “serious breach of data protection law” and said Facebook “failed” to keep personal information secure by not checking which apps and developers were using its platform and that it processed personal information “unfairly”.

The fine was not a surprise, with the ICO saying over the summer it was likely to fine Facebook the maximum allowed. And the social network was lucky the breach happened prior to GDPR otherwise it could have been facing a fine of £17m or 4% of global turnover. Facebook admits it was too slow to act, although it “respectfully disagrees” with some of the ICO’s findings.

However, this isn’t the end for the US firm. The ICO is still investigating the relationship between data analytics and political advertising and is due to give evidence in front of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee at the start of November.

It is also likely to keep impacting its brand, if not its business. While advertisers appear nonplussed by the breach, consumers are seemingly more concerned and brand perceptions have taken a nosedive. This, couple with some of the other challenges Facebook faces around issues such as fakes news, means it is also holding the attention of governments. The next few months should be a very interesting time for the social network!

READ MORE: Facebook receives maximum fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

This Girl Can makes a comeback

Sport England 'This Girl Can'

Few campaigns have captured the zeitgeist in quite the same was as Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’. Launched as a behaviour-changing campaign that aimed to get more women exercising in 2015, it has done much more than that, helping to change the way women are portrayed in advertising and how brands market to women.

Of course there’s still some dodgy stereotypes of women about, but it has helped proved that despite what advertisers say, women actually want to see people that look like them in adverts, not just svelte models. And that if they do they will take action. As Sport England’s Kate Dale puts it: “Women actually want to see themselves on screen and you can still sell.”

It has also convinced government as to the effectiveness of the marketing, so much so it has managed to secure funding for another two years, giving it the ability to plan a little more long-term. The new push, which launched this morning, aims to dig a bit deeper into the issue. It isn’t just about showing people that it doesn’t matter what they look when they exercise, but also about how they can fit exercise into their life.

It’s another brilliant bit of creative from agency FCB Inferno, tasked with creating the difficult third album after the success of the first two ad pushes. And the stories of how women are fitting in exercise, whether running with a pram or hula hooping round the kitchen, are bound to resonate.

READ MORE: ‘This Girl Can’ tackles inequality as it vows to ‘leave no woman behind’ in new push



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