Diet Coke, VW, John Lewis: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the marketing news this week, including Diet Coke’s new campaign, Volkswagen’s rebrand and 2019’s ranking of the UK’s 75 most valuable brands.

Diet Coke launches ad campaign to appeal to younger generation

Diet Coke is launching an ad campaign that features cool grannies and cans marked with phrases such as “it’s lit”, “okay next” and “yasss”.

‘You Do You’ is clearly an attempt to connect with the nation’s youth but the transparent appeal to be cool is unlikely to land. Already Twitter has been mocking the new cans with one user writing “Congratulations to Diet Coke for going on the internet for the first time ever this year”.

The cans are clearly missing the mark but perhaps the brand was going for irony? However, as an FMCG giant this won’t translate and consumers will see it as big men in suits failing to connect with culture – exactly what the brand doesn’t want.

The ad featuring OAPs using internet slang is better and will perhaps help to provide context for the cans. But Coke isn’t the first to use an older generation to appeal to a younger one and the idea doesn’t feel fresh.

Plus the ad is just three months since the last one. In fairness to Coke, the latter was to promote its new flavours, but the influx of constant ads might mean consumers face some fatigue. MF

READ MORE: Diet Coke launches new campaign that sees grannies navigate dating apps

VW enters a ‘new era’ which focuses on ‘authenticity’

Volkswagen has been teasing the ‘New VW’ for some time and finally revealed details of that monumental rebrand this week.

It is a huge undertaking happening across all 171 markets, including at the 10,000 facilities of dealers and service partners, and will involve replacing around 70,000 logos.

The brand’s plans include making the iconic logo two dimensional, using a female voice in all its communications and a promise to become more “authentic” in its new digital-first approach.

All this marks the start of a “new era” and one the brand could certainly do with. VW has been plagued with scandal after scandal including safety problems, lying about emissions and testing on monkeys. The old era is better left in the past.

Somehow, VW has mostly managed to recover from these blips. According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Volkswagen’s Index score (a measure of a range of metrics including quality, value and reputation) is up significantly since the height of its emissions scandal.

On 1 September 2015, just before Dieselgate broke, the brand had a score of 25.3; exactly four years on, it has a score of 20.5, well up on the lows it experienced at the height of its problems.

This is mirrored across other metrics and its sales have also been relatively strong. That being said, VW has not returned to its peak and this rebrand is definitely needed. MF

READ MORE: VW overhauls its brand for a ‘new era’ as it attempts to put emissions scandal behind it

2019’s top 75 UK brands

DeliverooThis year’s 75 most valuable UK brands have been revealed, with the results of Kantar’s latest BrandZ ranking making a compelling case for the importance of brand building.

With more British brands now declining in value than growing, brands are being urged to stop over-relying on their fame and wake up to the fact they need to do much more to ensure they are still here in years to come.

The value of UK brands has declined 3% year on year. This is well behind the growth rates of both the global economy and BrandZ’s top 100 most valuable global brands, meaning the UK is fast losing influence on the global stage.

However, there are a suite of brands that are growing their value much faster than others. These brands are strong communicators, perceived to be meaningfully different, and seen to generate a clear sense of momentum in otherwise challenging and uncertain times.

These brands are also much less salient than they are meaningfully different, which BrandZ flags as a huge potential growth opportunity. Those that are salient but lack meaningful difference, however, are in trouble.

In a nutshell: saliency is no longer enough to drive growth. Brands must have a clear point of difference and be able to communicate that with consumers. Those that don’t are leaving themselves open to disruption and, like many other brand casualties, might not be here in the years to come. EH

READ MORE: A call to arms for brand building: What the UK’s top 75 brands says about marketing in 2019

Eurostar promotes no flying in new ‘challenger’ campaign

September often marks the beginning of travel campaigns and Eurostar has jumped on board with a campaign aimed at getting holiday-makers to consider trains over planes.

The brand’s new outdoor ads cleverly feature an ostrich with a promise that ‘you see more when you don’t fly’. It not only promotes how lovely a train journey can be (especially compared to a cramped Ryanair flight) but also cleverly taps into a new eco-conscious consumer.

As more people become concerned with the environmental impact of flying and dabble with carbon offsetting, Eurostar is emerging as a viable alternative. Admittedly this is a small minority of consumers and not the focus of its campaign, but it is a trend that is only set to grow.

Eurostar is also attempting to be “braver” with its new ads and tap into its challenger roots. Eurostar’s customer engagement director Richard Sherwood, says as brands become more established they lose that excitement which is something he wants to revive in the company.

The ads are clever and will no doubt gain support from consumers but if Eurostar wants to go big it should take this campaign to TV. MF

READ MORE: Eurostar looks to stand out from ‘generic’ travel ads with new campaign 

John Lewis won’t let Brexit impact marketing investment

John LewisJohn Lewis posted its first-ever half-year loss this week, alongside a warning of the “significant” impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the business.

Trading conditions are tough and British politics definitely isn’t helping. Yet both John Lewis and Waitrose say they will continue to invest “significantly” in marketing to make sure customers “appreciate and understand” their brands.

It is all part of the John Lewis Partnership’s strategy to “differentiate” and bring both brands closer together. So far that has included a rebrand, new visual identities, one joint marketing campaign and a few synergies in-store. It is also trialling a joint loyalty scheme, details of which will become more apparent next year.

JLP says it is looking at further opportunities to unify its two brands, both in terms of marketing communications and promotional activity, as well as the “opportunity for customers to see the best of both brands together”.

Other than that, it is all a bit vague. What we do know is Waitrose has performed much better than John Lewis in the first half, so it will be interesting to see whether the halo effect JLP is hoping for plays out better in the second half.

A “significant” amount of this marketing investment will no doubt be saved for the back end of the year too. Not long now until the retail festive extravaganza begins… EH

READ MORE: John Lewis pledges ‘significant’ marketing investment despite first half-year loss

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