Amazon, YouTube, BMW: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the week’s big marketing news, including YouTube upping its commitment to tackling unsavoury content and Amazon winning the Christmas ad battle.

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YouTube looks to hire thousands of new staff to battle unsavoury videos

It’s undeniable that Google has had a tough year. The digital giant has come under fire for a lack of transparency when it comes to sharing data, and “marking their own homework” with reporting campaign results. But one of the biggest scandals of the year surrounds its video platform YouTube.

At the start of 2017, an investigation by The Times into advertising appearing next to extremist content sparked a mass advertiser boycott. More recently, YouTube found itself in hot water once again for allowing child abuse videos to be hosted on the platform.

And this week the brand’s CEO finally spoke out about how it will look to restore brand trust. Its biggest promise surrounds the hiring of new staff – YouTube will take on thousands of extra people to combat unsavoury content, bringing the total number of employees across Google working to address content that might violate its policies to over 10,000 in 2018. Marketing Week understands the new staff will be working across a number of different areas, from reviewing content to machine learning.

YouTube is working hard to win back advertisers’ trust once again, but will most of them care about the scandals? Judging by Google’s latest financial results, it seems unlikely.

READ MORE: YouTube to recruit thousands of new staff to tackle ‘troubling’ content

Plain packaging poses a big threat to the drinks industry

The average tobacco product has noticeably simplistic packaging. The main reason the boxes are boring and grey is to make them look as unappealing as possible – and there are calls to extend this type of packaging to the drinks industry.

If this was to go ahead, the results could be far-reaching, according to a new report. After all, the drinks industry could stand to lose $293bn.

The analysis by Brand Finance looks at the potential financial impact of such legislation across four categories, including alcohol, confectionery, savoury snacks and sugary drinks, with drinks brands found to be most vulnerable.

Eight major brand-owning businesses were analysed. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo stand to lose $47.3bn and $43bn respectively, according to the speculative analysis, equal to 24% and 27% of their total enterprise values. AB InBev, Heineken, Pernod Ricard would see 100% of their brands exposed.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, says: “Plain packaging also means losses in the creative industries, including design and advertising services, which are heavily reliant on FMCG contracts.”

Amazon trumps John Lewis in the Christmas ad battle

For many Brits, the Christmas countdown doesn’t officially start until the John Lewis ad hits the nation’s screens. And while John Lewis’ Moz the Monster TV ad may have generated the most amount of headlines, Amazon’s ‘Give’ campaign featuring singing boxes is the ad most likely to persuade Brits to buy, according to a new study by brand valuation firm Kantar Millward Brown.

The study, which tested 17 of this year’s “most talked-about Christmas ads” across 12 factors including persuasion, entertainment, involvement, originality and likeability, finds Amazon is the strongest overall performer, coming top in seven areas.

For persuasion – a score based on how likely an ad will convert a viewer into a buyer – Amazon scored 3.78. It is closely followed by Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot (3.72) and Argos’s Ready For Take Off (3.47).

In comparison, John Lewis’s persuasion score comes in at a disappointing 3.07, placing it 13th on the list. Only Asda (3.04), Sainsbury’s (3.03), Waitrose (2.86) and House of Fraser (2.61) fare worse.

Could this be a sign that John Lewis is finally losing its creative spark when it comes to Christmas?

READ MORE: Amazon’s Christmas ad is this year’s big winner as John Lewis ‘misses the mark’

Christmas catalogues are playing up to gender stereotypes

This year, many positive steps have been made to change the way brands approach gender in their advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority, for example, is introducing new rules to crackdown on gender stereotypes in advertising and the likes of Unilever are making bold changes to improve the way women are portrayed in its ads.

But we can’t get too complacent, as there is still a long way to go. A new study from campaign group Let Toys Be Toys shows this year’s Christmas catalogues are still a long way from avoiding gender stereotyping children.

Having reviewed toy catalogues from brands including Argos, Toys R Us, Smyths Toys, Early Learning Centre and Tesco, the study shows girls are twice as likely to be shown with kitchens or other ‘domestic’ toys. In fact, girls are seven times more likely than boys to be shown taking part in caring or nurturing play, and 12 times more likely to be shown playing with baby dolls.

Unsurprisingly, on the flip side boys are four times more likely to be shown playing with cars. Boys also account for 97% of the children shown playing with guns and war toys. In total, only one boy was shown with a doll, with male children twice as likely to be shown playing alongside construction toys.

So despite the progress the industry has been making, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet.

READ MORE: Majority of Christmas toy catalogues play to gender stereotypes, study finds

BMW gets in trouble for ‘misleading’ environmental claims

BMW has had an ad promoting its i3 electric model banned after the ASA found it to contain ‘misleading’ environmental claims.

The video post, which appeared on Facebook back in May, included the claim “Having driven petrol guzzling cars before, I realised that it is now time to switch to an electric car. With zero emissions, the i3 really is a clean car and helps to give back to the environment” in its voiceover.

However, the ASA said the car brand falsely claimed the i3 was a “zero emissions” and “clean” vehicle. It said BMW’s claim the car “helps to give back to the environment” was also misleading.

It said in a statement: “We noted that BMW considered the statement was meant as a comparison between buying an electric car and buying a petrol car rather than not buying a car at all. However, we did not consider that this was sufficiently clear in the ad and concluded that the claim was misleading.”

With more manufacturers looking to produce vehicles that are less taxing on the environment, this ruling should make car marques sit up and listen.

READ MORE: BMW ad banned for making ‘misleading’ environmental claims



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