AB InBev, Tesco, Amazon: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From AB InBev’s bid for fame to Amazon’s bid for Premier League rights and the best campaigns of the last five decades, we round up all the marketing news you need to know from the past week.


AB InBev wants to be famous

AB InBev want to be famous, think Procter & Gamble and Unilever famous. It seems that the world’s largest brewer is on a mission to become as well-known as its brands Budweiser and Stella Artois. However, how AB InBev is going to do this is somewhat of a mystery but Tatiana Stadukhina, the company’s marketing director of northern Europe did reveal that plans are in place to build a brand purpose.

Stadukhina has been the top European marketer at AB InBev for six months after being promoted from Stella Artois’s director of Europe, and is clearly passionate about a business she has spent most of her career at, specifically what she describes as the unique pressurising culture. She says: “At AB InBev the culture is you get given roles to stretch so I think it’s fair to say at most points in time I feel very uncomfortable but really excited.”

However, what some might describe as overwhelming (Stadukhina was working both her current and old role simultaneously for a couple of months) Stadukhina believes is beneficial. She is also clear that this environment is at the core of the company’s culture and something that every candidate is informed of while being interviews. This attracts top talent rather than deters them. With great pressure comes great responsibility and AB InBev appears to shun “traditional” career ladders instead providing opportunities for the less experienced but potential-filled candidates.

Stadukhina is already unleashing her potential re-hauling marketing to provide more integrated and seamless campaigns. Most notably she has moved marketing from central London offices (near agencies) to Luton to be closer the rest of the business. She is clear that she wants AB InBev’s European marketing to be more lean, agile and personal.

READ MORE: AB InBev plots strategy to make the company as famous as its brands

The best campaigns of the last five decades

Marketing Week is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, and no celebration would be complete without a look back at some of the best marketing campaigns for each decade the magazine has been in existence.

Working with YouGov we came up with a shortlist of campaigns based on input from our editorial team, as well as an advisory panel of marketers, industry experts and Marketing Week readers. Consumers were then shown an image of each campaign and asked which they remembered, whether they knew what brand it was for and, out of those they recognised, which they thought was the best.

And we have some very worthy winners. ‘The Bike Ride’ directed by Sir Ridley Scott for Hovis, was crowned the winner of the 1970s; Yellow Pages’ ad featuring JR Hartley and his infamous book on fly fishing came out top in the 1980s; Guinness’s ‘Surfer’ claimed the prize for the 1990s; Cadbury’s drum-playing gorilla won the 2000s; while Aldi’s cheeky ‘Like Brands, Only Cheaper’ was the winner of the 2010s.

In addition to creative excellence, the one thing all these campaigns have in common is the impact they’ve had on the brands involved, propelling each and every one of them into the spotlight for all the right reasons and triggering business growth. The fact some of these ads are still remembered – and loved – decades later is no mean feat given people’s general apathy towards advertising, but it is testament to the creativity and marketing strategies of these brands.

Marketing Week has spoken to all the marketing directors and agencies involved in the winning campaigns so look out for a behind-the-scenes look at how all of these ads came to light every day next week.

READ MORE: Aldi, Guinness, Yellow Pages – The nation’s favourite marketing campaigns revealed

Tesco evolves Food Love Stories campaign

As part of ongoing efforts to rebuild trust in the brand, Tesco has launched the latest part of its Food Love Stories campaign to try and “bring to life its passion and care” for food.

The supermarket’s chief customer officer, Alessandra Bellini, says the new TV ad – created by BBH London and voiced by comedian Sarah Millican – puts the quality of Tesco’s food “centre stage” and shows the lengths it goes to “to bring great tasting food to our customers”.

Tesco is on a mission to improve both value and quality perceptions of its products, with the newest ad focusing on how all of Tesco’s fresh berries are handpicked and chilled within 60 minutes to ensure they are at their freshest.

In the first major interview Bellini has done since taking on the role at the beginning of last year, she tells Marketing Week: “Rebuilding trust in a brand is something that takes a long time and we want to do everything we possibly can to earn and deserve that trust from our customers.

“We believe we’ve made very good progress in three years given where we started. However, we are incredibly conscious that we have a long way to go.”

Since Dave Lewis took over as CEO in 2014 – when Tesco’s YouGov BrandIndex score had plummeted to an all-time low of almost zero following a long run of hitting the headlines for all the wronf reasons – perceptions of the supermarket have been on a steady upwards trajectory. It now has a score of 23.6.

READ MORE: Tesco talks up its ‘passion’ for food in evolution of Food Love Stories campaign

Amazon’s Premier League bet

Premier League rights

Amazon has broken the hold Sky and BT have over Premier League football, buying up the rights to show 20 matches from the 2019/2020 season for three years. It might still be a small player – Sky has 128 matches – but its move could have big repercussions.

The three-year deal is likely an attempt by Amazon to test the water and see if it can drum up demand for livestreamed football games. The goal in the short-term is to drive up Prime subscribers by giving consumers another reason to try the service, but if it proves successful it could be a longer term model for the company.

If that is the case, however, Amazon will need to look at the model for funding. Sports rights are expensive and unlike its other content have a short shelf life and tend not to be global in nature. That model could well see subscribers charged more to add-on sport to their package, or it could see Amazon turn to advertising.

Whatever the long-term plan, the short-term challenge is a marketing one. People are used to subscribing to Sky and BT and watching their matches on TV. Getting them to change that behaviour and livestream will require an education and awareness campaign. Sky and BT spend millions every season promoting their matches, Amazon will also need to make a big investment if its foray into football is to prove a success.

READ MORE: Could Amazon’s Premier League rights deal mark its first move into ad-supported content?

House of Fraser reveals the ongoing struggles on the high street

House of Fraser’s decision to shut 31 stores, including its flagship on Oxford Street, is just the latest sign of the growing problems on the high street. The plan would see more than half its stores shut with the loss of around 6,000 jobs.

Poundworld’s situation is even worse. It is believed to be on the brink of administration as it looks to avert a total collapse of the chain.

Talking about the decision to close stores, House of Fraser chairman Frank Slevin talks to the “fundamental changes” going on in the retail industry and how legacy stores are an “unsustainable cost base” that could pose an “existential threat” to the business.

Coming on the back Maplin, Toys ‘R’ Us and Mothercare, it shows a retail landscape in serious trouble. The rise of online, weak consumer confidence and spending, and rising costs are hitting the sector.