Coca-Cola, Ikea, HMV: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Coca-Cola’s new campaign to promote its Premier League sponsorship to the future of the HMV brand and the magazine industry making a play for more ad budgets, catch up on all the major news in the marketing industry this week.

Coca-Cola celebrates ‘everyday people’ with Premier League campaign

What does Coca-Cola and a piece of battered fish have in common?

Answer: Jermaine Jenas – It will make sense when you watch the campaign.

This week the drinks giant officially marked the beginning of a three-year sponsorship deal with the Premier League by unveiling a new campaign designed to champion the “everyday people” who make the game what it is.

‘Where Everyone Plays’ tells the story of football fans, from groundskeepers to general spectators, from all 20 Premier League clubs and the contribution they make to the game beyond the pitch.

It features Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard and former Premier League player-turned commentator Jermaine Jenas whose face appears inside a crispy piece of cod.

Coca-Cola says the campaign is designed to promote its plan to boost growth beyond its core brand and increase sales of its healthier variants – Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

The company’s new marketing director for the UK and Ireland, Paul Grace, says the brand is focused on “celebrating the people who make the Premier League the best in the world, as well as raising awareness of our wide range of drinks”.

The TV ad is accompanied by other activations including a nationwide Premier League trophy tour and on-pack promotion, and will be supported through media partnerships. But will it boost awareness of Coca-Cola’s wider portfolio and healthier variants, or instead give fish and chips sales a helping hand? Only time will tell.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola makes the fans the stars as it kicks off Premier League sponsorship

Magazine brands put focus on attention in bid to attract advertisers

Magnetic campaign 'Pay Attention'

The magazine industry has had a tough few years as the reality of the shift to digital bites. Some big names including NME and Glamour have been forced to close or cut their magazine operations as they find it increasingly hard to make money.

That should come as little surprise given the ongoing decline in magazine ad sales. The Advertising Association and Warc’s expenditure report estimates that magazine ad revenues fell by 7.5% year on year in 2018 and it is predicting a further 6.2% decline this year. Even digital ad revenues are struggling, down 1.2% last year and with minimal growth of just 1.3% expected in 2019.

That magazines continue to struggle to attract advertisers despite the wealth of challenges elsewhere in digital advertising is a concern. Despite issues including measurement errors, brand safety and data privacy, the likes of Facebook and Google are still hoovering up budgets.

And so Magnetic, the magazine industry body, is trying to get brands and agencies to reappraise magazine advertising. It has launched its first campaign with the focus cleverly on an area where it has a key advantage – attention. And it has backed this up with some independent research that shows magazines doing a better job of commanding attention and making advertising part of the experience than mediums such as social media and websites.

This is much the same message that both Thinkbox and Radiocentre have been trying to hammer home to the ad industry recently. Yes digital is new and shiny and easy to measure, but there are still huge benefits to other media most notably in context and longer-term effectiveness.

The campaign from Magnetic is eye-catching stuff, especially the cover wraps around magazines such as Grazia, Time Out and Radio Times. Getting all the magazine brands singing the same tune should also help get the industry’s attention. Whether it leads to a change in budget allocation is another matter but it at least kick-starts the debate about quality attention and the value of trust, relevancy and context.

READ MORE: Magazine industry calls on brands to pay more attention to attention

HMV rescued from administration


A stalwart of the high street was rescued from administration this week when Canadian businessman Doug Putman signed a deal to take over the chain. Putman knows a thing or two about running record stores and HMV in particular – he took over Canadian music chain Sunrise Records in 2014 and expanded it to almost 80 stores when he bought HMV’s Canadian stores back in 2017.

However, there’s no doubt he faces an uphill struggle to turn HMV around. It might be a well known brand but years of declining sales, as well as news of two administrations, have left it needing some love. And it operates in a market where the writing seems to be on the wall: physical music sales were down 16.6% year on year in 2018, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. Physical video sales were down 16.9% and physical games also dropped, by 2.8%.

If HMV is to have success in a declining market it will need to give people more reason to go to its stores and look to make money beyond CD and DVD sales. The recent move into live events needs to be picked up, while it could also offer fans a place to come and chat about music by installing bars and coffee shops in its stores – much like the department stores are doing.

But that can only work if HMV shakes off its associations with the old ways of consuming content and looks to the new. That will mean getting people to reappraise the brand and what it stands for, rather than hoping that its heritage and awareness alone will guide it to success.

READ MORE: The HMV business has a buyer but should the brand be saved?

Ikea eyes rental market as shift to convenience ramps up


Swedish furniture giant Ikea is poised to make its first foray into the rental economy with a pilot project leasing office furniture to businesses in Switzerland. Based on the success of the pilot, the subscription model could be extended other Ikea products from kitchens to sofas.

It is shrewd play from the flatpack pioneer. While offering customers the chance to trade in leased products for new pieces to update their home, extending the product lifecycle would help Ikea meet its target to achieve a fourfold increase in sales from products that ‘help people live a sustainable life’ by 2020.

The retailer then announced on Thursday it was testing the sale of used and renovated furniture, and launching a textile recycling scheme across the UK, following a successful trial in Edinburgh. Rolling out to the Glasgow store in June, customers will be able to exchange used Ikea furniture for a reward voucher, while the refurbished products will be sold in the bargain area.

And if that wasn’t enough Ikea news for the week, yesterday the company opened its first full sized store in London in 14 years, built on a sustainable blueprint which includes solar panels, rainwater harvesting and geothermal heating. The new Greenwich store even features a flexible working area, roof garden, a pavilion space free to hire for local community groups and a ‘learning lab’ that will teach shoppers how to upcycle old furniture.

The move into rentals, the push towards furniture renovation and the eco-focus of the new Greenwich store shows Ikea is working hard to change perceptions that just because its furniture is affordable it is inherently disposable.

The sustainability angle aside, these developments also show a retailer finding new ways to stay relevant for consumers, playing into a ‘revised strategy’ focused on smaller format city centre stores, high profile brand partnerships and investments in affordable smart home products.

READ MORE: Charlotte Rogers – Ikea’s foray into the rental economy shows a brand firmly on the front foot

Aldi’s Adam Zavalis joins Boots

adam zavalis

Adam Zavalis is leaving Aldi after six years, during which time he has been central in shifting the UK’s perceptions of the brand, from budget and basic to value and quality.

His task will be quite different when he joins Boots as director of brand and communication later this month. Compared to Aldi, which is still in its relative infancy in the UK having only opened its doors in 1990, Boots is a high street stalwart, preparing to celebrate its 170th anniversary this year.

It hasn’t been an easy ride for retailers so far this year (or last) and the storm clouds don’t look set to part just yet. While Boots, which is owned by Walgreen Boots Alliance, increased its market share during its first quarter, gross profit dropped 7.8% compared to the same three months in 2017. And the division in which it operates saw sales fall 5.9% to $2.9bn (£2.3bn), with Walgreens blaming “weak UK market conditions”.

But given his track record for shaking things up and breathing new life into a brand, Zavalis could be just what Boots needs. As well as turning around perceptions of Aldi, Zavalis also helped the supermarket double both its sales and market share during his tenure.

Far from being a career retail marketer though, Zavalis actually spent the majority of his early career agency side, working at McCann Erickson and TBWA across accounts as diverse as Nissan and the London 2012 Olympics, so he brings a slightly different perspective to what can be quite an insular sector.

Helen Normoyle, Boots’s UK and Ireland marketing director, who Zavalis will report to, says: “I’m delighted to welcome Adam to Boots. He brings a lot of valuable experience to the role, and as we celebrate the 170th year of Boots this year I, and my colleagues, look forward to working with him to take this amazing brand into the future.”

Aldi has yet to name a replacement but given the discounter’s success over the past six years whoever takes over has a hard act to follow.

READ MORE: Adam Zavalis leaves top marketing job at Aldi for Boots



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