5 things that mattered this week

In a week that has seen Pret A Manger launch a veggie-only shop and Coke invest £10m in revamping Coke Zero, we line up five of this week’s biggest marketing stories.

veggie pret

Pret launched a new veggie pop-up

After seeing sales of vegetarian items soar in 2015, Pret A Manger announced plans to launch ‘Pret’s Little Veggie Pop-up’ this week.

The site will open in Soho in June for a month and only serve meat-free options, with Pret’s chief marketing officer Mark Palmer admitting that “permanent sites could follow”.

The move comes after Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee wrote a blog last summer discussing the idea of opening new cafes that only serve non-meat options. After receiving 10,000 votes in favour of the scheme, the chain decided to progress and test out the format.

And Palmer says too many brands are failing to listen to their customers. He told Marketing Week: “A lot of brands say vote for a change, when they’ve already made up their mind. It is just lazy. If customers are good enough to give you their time, you need to listen.

“Marketers find it hard to listen, they usually have their minds already made up. That is a mistake because if customers want to be part of you brand, you need to take them seriously.”

Coke Zero got a £10m revamp and Coca-Cola redesigned all its packaging

coca-cola zero sugar

Coca-Cola is replacing its ‘Coke Zero’ variant with ‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’ in a bid to boost awareness of its zero-sugar variants.

The £10m revamp is its biggest new product launch in a decade, according to the soft drinks brand, which is currently under pressure to take action following the announcement of the government’s sugar tax.

‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’ will replace Coke Zero, which was launched in 2006, at the end of June and will be supported by an above the line marketing campaign. The move comes after research found half of people questioned did not know it contained no sugar.

Read more: Why Coca-Cola needs to focus on love not logic as it evolves its one brand strategy

Jon Woods, Coca-Cola Great Britain general manager said the changes to Zero will mean it tastes more like full-sugar Coke. He explained: “We know that millions of people love the taste of Coca-Cola and have been working here to refine the recipe of Coca-Cola Zero to match the taste of the original, but without sugar.”

Airbnb’s marketing boss explained why it wants to offer a ‘complete experiential proposition’

Airbnb - Guidebooks v1

Airbnb launched its biggest ever advertising campaign ‘Live there’ this week, as it aims to inspire people to live like a local and have more “authentic” holiday experiences.

The campaign comes as the brand relaunches its app with a new ‘Guidebooks’ feature that will allow users to unlock insights, giving travellers access to insider tips from Airbnb’s global community of hosts. The aim, says CMO Jonathan Mildenhall, is to offer a “complete experiential service proposition”.

Mildenhall told Marketing Week: “We see our future as offering travellers a whole lot more than just a home. Some of the best experiences when staying with Airbnb are not the homes but going to have experiences based on host recommendations,”

He also hinted that Airbnb could become more of a retail proposition. He added: “We are really developing our relationship with local business and hosts that offer more than just accommodation. You’ll start to see, particularly towards November this year, a much broader travel proposition from Airbnb that transcends space and accommodation. This campaign is a big step in that direction.

Marketers are wasting £600m a year on unseen digital ads


You might want to keep the receipt for your online ads as 46% of banner ads are currently not viewable, according to the latest research by Meetrics. Its report revealed that £600m is still wasted annually on unseen digital ads.

However, it isn’t all bad news as online ad viewability in the UK increased four percentage points to 54% in the first quarter of 2016,

The UK still lags behind other European countries in terms of viewability levels. For example, France stands at 66%, Austria at 65% and Germany at 60%. But Anant Joshi, director of international business at Meetrics, says industry initiatives are helping improve viewability levels.

He explained: “A key route to improving viewability is increasing webpage performance and ad serving systems drastically reducing the amount of web browser redirects going on behind the scenes before the content is loaded. Initiatives like the IAB’s Lean Ad Principles, which is designed to counter ad-blocking, should have a positive knock-on effect on viewability.”

Snapchat looked to shake off misconceptions about its audience

snapchat logo

It’s easy to think of Snapchat as a hip thing where teens and twentysomethings reside. However, Snapchat’s vice-president of content Nick Bell is trying to banish the misconception as he claimed two-thirds of its users are over 18 and 50% of new daily users are aged over 25.

Speaking at Ad Week Europe this week, he said: “When you’re young you have more time on your hands so people have had a chance to play and experiment with the product, but we’re seeing the demographic stretch pretty significantly now.”

Part of the reason Snapchat’s popularity is increasing among older users is because it doesn’t rely on people needing to endorse each other’s content. And Bell believes Snapchat encourages different behaviour to other social networks as a result.

“Because we don’t obsess or surface vanity metrics it’s not about trying to capture that perfect picture to see how many likes or hearts you can receive,” he explained. “It’s more about sharing a moment with friends so it removes a lot of the pressure that social media has created and therefore creates this willingness of expression.”


Airbnb’s marketing boss on polarising brands, mass tourism and why it wants to offer a ‘complete experiential proposition’

Leonie Roderick

Airbnb is rapidly expanding its service away from just offering accommodation to provide a full travel service as it looks to lure holidaymakers away from “mass produced tourism”. The brand’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall talks to Marketing Week about being a polarising brand, maintaining its “millennial cool” and its plans for the future.