M&S replace food boss with exec from Steinhoff
Marks and Spencer (M&S) is replacing the company’s food boss Andy Adcock with Stuart Machin, the current CEO of South African retailer Steinhoff.
M&S says the move is part of a wider transformation plan and an overhaul of its food arm.
The move comes after the retail giant reported four straight quarters of like-for-like sales decline – the latest during the Christmas quarter.
Machin, who has worked across the sector for 30 years, is to join the company in April and will have overall profit and loss accountability for all aspects of the M&S food business.
Prior to joining Steinhoff, Machin was CEO of Target Australia for three years having previously been COO of Coles Supermarkets Australia.
“My heart lies in food retail and I’m excited to bring my passion for dynamic, customer-led food retailing to M&S. The business has many reasons to be proud of its food offer but there are also opportunities and lots to deliver under the transformation plan that Steve (M&S CEO Steve Rowe) has laid out,” Machin says.
Adcock had been at M&S for nine years.
YouTube introduces tighter gun policies
YouTube has this week updated its gun policies meaning content featuring demonstrations on how to use firearms will be banned from the video hosting platform.
According to reports, YouTube will also ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster.
Additionally YouTube will remove videos with instructions on how to set up a firearm, as the US gun debate heats up once again.
YouTube has previously been seen as a go-to for gun advocates and users who often visit the site for information on firearms. For instance, as a video containing information about how to assemble a gun has received 25 million hits.
Gun industry lobby group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, has deemed YouTube’s new policy “worrisome.”
Co-op to become first major supermarket at four summer festivals
The Co-op is partnering with Live Nation to become the first UK food retailer to have a supermarket at four major summer music festivals.
The retailer will operate a 6,000sq shop at Download, Latitude, and Reading and Leeds festivals over the summer to help cater for the 200,000 festival goers.
The Co-op says each store will stock a wide range of items, including food, water, beer and wine, toiletries and medicines.
Director of marketing communications at the Co-op Amanda Jennings says: “This industry-first deal puts Co-op at the heart of festival communities this summer. It shows our ambition to reach out to new and younger customers, providing essential and quality products. Co-op is all about being close to the customer and it doesn’t get much closer than being right outside your tent”.
It is understood the stores will stock more than 200 essential products, will be re-stocked daily and open between 7am and 1am.
British Airways senior marketer leaves airline after two decades
Head of customer for British Airways, Abigail Comber, is leaving the airline after 26 years with the company
She joined British Airways Holidays in 1992 and transitioned into the marketing team in 2012 where she was eventually promoted to head of brands and marketing before the airline split its marketing department, allowing customer experience to become a standalone unit. Comber was then named head of customer.
She is succeeded by Hamish McVey, the airline’s head of brand and marketing, a British Airlines spokesperson says.
“Abigail Comber decided to leave BA and goes with our thanks and much to be proud of including leading the relaunch of the brand promise ‘To fly. To serve.’, the success of BA’s Olympics campaign, as well as the delivery of customer programmes such as Buy on Board and New Club World,” the spokeswoman added.
Snapchat launches location-based ad filters
Advertisers can now target Snapchat users via their location after the mobile app launched a new analytics tool.
The apps new radius targeting feature will allow advertisers to target consumers based on their geographic point or location type. For instance, a beach, movie theatre or airport.
As part of the launch Snapchat will introduce three new tools, two of which include location-based targeting options and an in-store analytics tool that lets advertisers track traffic at their brick-and-mortar locations.
A Snapchat spokesperson says: “A swimsuit brand can reach Snapchatters currently at beaches nationwide, or a movie studio can reach them at the theatre. Advertisers can also get more specific by narrowing down their location categories by state, city, DMA, and more.”
The tools can be accessed via the self-serve ads manager via the new location search bar.
Thursday, 22 March
AB InBev commits to 100% recyclable packaging
AB InBev has unveiled a new set of sustainability goals to develop local initiatives in smart agriculture, water stewardship, circular packaging and climate action.
These include pledging 100% of packaging for its products – which include some of the UK’s biggest beer brands Stella Artois, Budweiser, Corona and Bud Light – will be returnable or made from majority recycled materials, and reducing carbon emissions by 25% across its supply chain – the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road every year.
It is also investing in smart agriculture to help British farmers grow barley in areas where they previously could not.
Jason Warner, president of AB InBev North Europe, says investing in sustainability is a “necessity for the business”.
“We recognise that climate change is the most pressing issue confronting our planet and could impact the natural resources we rely on to brew our beers to the highest-quality,” he says. “We’re excited to announce our new goals today, as well as update on our progress in the UK, and look forward to working together with local partners to find new ways to protect our environment and communities.”
Boots replaces M&S as top brand for women
Boots has overtaken Marks & Spencer as the most popular brand among women, according to YouGov’s latest BrandIndex.
The personal products retailer has climbed up from third place in last year’s ranking with an impression score of +54.2 – ahead of John Lewis (+53.9) and Heinz (+53.6), while M&S has dropped to fourth (+52.9) followed by BBC One (+50.3).
Amelia Brophy, UK head of data products at YouGov, says despite a tough time for high street retailers, Boots has “cemented itself as a force” among female shoppers.
“Women’s impression of the brand has improved in the face of some negative press around its morning after pill pricing, which threatened to damage its reputation,” she adds.
The rankings also reveal which brands have seen the biggest increase in impression among women over the past year. Netflix comes out on top following an uplift of +7.3 points, with the score mirroring a global trend for streaming services, with BBC One and BBC iPlayer also filling two top spots within the overall top ten.
McDonald’s takes the second spot in the most improved list, with a +6.8 point improvement in its score, followed by B&M bargains (+5.7), Comparethemarket.com (+5.5) and Tesco (+5.3).
Alzheimer’s Research UK unveils new campaign featuring Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston and Alzheimer’s Research UK have teamed up in a global effort to get people thinking differently about dementia.
To challenge the misconception that the condition is simply a by-product of age, the #ShareTheOrange campaign is encouraging viewers to share a short film on their social media channels. At the centre of the two-minute film is an orange that gradually strips away to demonstrate how the diseases that cause dementia attack the brain.
“Bryan Cranston’s support of our #ShareTheOrange campaign will help bring global attention to an important truth – that dementia is not an inevitability of age, but is caused by diseases that we can fight,” says the charity’s chief executive, Hilary Evans.
“By sharing this film and joining the millions who shared our first campaign film, we can educate and inspire around dementia, and make it our next great medical research success story.”
Specsavers’ global brand director retires
Suggesting quite a big shake-up at the company, Richard Holmes is hanging up his hat as global brand director of Specsavers after 11 years.
“I have had the time of my life working with Specsavers and travelling the world to help further build this tremendous brand,” Holmes said.
“There are many talented creative and marketing geniuses at the heart of this business who will continue to drive its fame, brand love and customer loyalty.”
Holmes joined the Specsavers board in 2007 as marketing director. Prior to that he spent 10 years at Boots in various marketing roles and 13 years at Unilever.
He will be succeeded by Barclaycard’s chief marketing officer Katherine Whitton, who will join Specsavers as CMO in May. She said: “I look forward to the challenge of evolving the brand and marketing model to support the business’ ambition to continue to grow and innovate in the consumer healthcare sector.”
Mark Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica scandal
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has finally responded to reports that the personal data of its users had been harvested and potentially used to influence the US election and EU referendum.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said “mistakes” had been made and that there had been a clear breach of trust.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he sid.
“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”
Zuckerberg said Facebook has banned Cambridge Analytica from using any of its services and that it is currently working with regulators to find out what happened.
“This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook,” he said. “But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.”
Wednesday, 21 March
900,000 people urge Starbucks to deliver on decade-old recycling promise
Nearly 900,000 people have signed a petition to get Starbucks to honour a commitment it made a decade ago to develop a recyclable coffee cup.
In 2008, the coffee giant said it would replace its existing cups with a 100% recyclable alternative. It also promised to get reusable cup usage up to 25% by 2015. Neither of which it has done.
This has led a number of environmental organisations to call for renewed efforts from Starbucks to make the change.
In addition to the petition, protesters gathered at Starbucks’ AGM to call for more sustainable packaging and nearly 15,000 people have contacted Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson directly urging him to make the change.
“We throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups each year in the UK, at great cost to the environment and the taxpayer,” Sondhya Gupta, a senior campaigner at SumOfUs, who are running the campaign jointly with US environmental organisation Stand.earth. “Starbucks cups are pollution, and people have had enough of the broken promises.”
There has been much noise in the press this year about brands’ commitments to cut down waste and eliminate plastic use. Brands including Coca-Cola, Pret, Evian and Diageo have all committed to make a difference.
Protein World rapped by ad regulator (again)
Protein World may have a new marketing strategy, but it is in trouble with the ad regulator yet again, this time for ads it posted last May (admittedly before its refresh) on Twitter and Instagram. Both made the “unsubstantiated” claim its ‘Carb Blocker’ food supplement could stop unused sugars from being stored as fat in the body.
The first ad saw TV personality Holly Hagan post a picture of herself holding a burger with a jar of Carb Blocker alongside the caption “Always take my @ProteinWorld Carb Blockers Before a Cheat meal, contain[s] natural ingredients and stop any unused sugars being used as fat #ad”. The second ad was posted by Protein World to its Instagram account with a similar message.
Protein World has removed the Instagram post and said it asked Hagan’s agent to take down the tweet, but argued that it had received advice about a certain ingredient that it believes substantiates the implied health claim.
It provided the Advertising Standards Authority with an extract from an independent laboratory report about the product, which stated that if the product was redeveloped “as a source of chromium” it would be allowed to use the claim. The extract stated that “the connotation of Carb Blocker will therefore be contributing to the prevention of excessive carbohydrate deposition which the body would naturally convert to fat.”
It also argued consumers may have thought the product completely prevented the reabsorption of blood sugars if it had been called ‘Carb Block’ or ‘Carb Blocked’, but the company said that “given the sporting context of the term ‘blocker’ and its use in medicines such as beta blockers [it] would be understood by consumers to mean something that impeded the action of something else without completely preventing it”.
However, the ASA said in its ruling that Protein World had breached the Code as it did not meet EC regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
“We considered that in the context of a food supplement, consumers would consider ‘Carb Blocker’ to refer to something that offered significantly greater prevention than the body could naturally achieve without its use, i.e. the significantly improved ability to prevent the storage of unused sugars as fat,” it said.
It also disagreed with Protein World’s claim that consumers would interpret the word ‘blocker’ differently to ‘block’ and ‘blocked’.
Boots and ITV reveal gender pay gaps of 21% and 16%
Boots and ITV are the latest brands to reveal the vast gender pay gap within their organisations.
Despite 78% of Boots’ 57,000-strong workforce being female, male employees earn 21% more on average. And a disproportionately large number of the most senior roles are held by men. If you take out the best paid 25% of staff, Boots’ workforce is 82% female. Among this group of lower paid and less senior employees, the pay gap is actually 1% in women’s favour.
ITV is the latest broadcaster to release its figures, which show its female employees are paid 16.4% less on average than its male employees. It says this is because although it employs more women than men (53% to 47%), more men work in the most senior or highly paid roles. As a result, the gender bonus gap is 49%.
ISBA launches initiative to tackle hate speech online
ISBA has launched an initiative to help advertisers tackle hate speech on social media platforms.
The advertising body has created the hashtag #challengehate to be used to flag abuse alongside practical advice on how to tackle hate speech online.
ISBA hopes the step-by-step guide will not only ensure that hate speech is tackled more often but also help ISBA learn more about the scale of the issue.
Tanya Joseph, ISBA’s director of public affairs says: “ISBA thinks it is time we stand up to hate which is why we are today asking our members and indeed any other organisations which feel the same to do their bit to change things.”
The initiative was developed in collaboration with Nationwide Building Society, the Metropolitan Police and Stop Hate UK and in consultation with Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Google pledges $300m to fight fake news
Google has taken a series of measures to help combat the spread of fake news as part of a $300m committment.
It has launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) to “build a stronger future for news” by bringing together everything it does with the industry, across products, partners and programs.
As part of the move it is launching the Disinfo Lab alongside the First Draft (a project of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center) to help fight false information being used in news and elections.
It is also introducing Subscribe with Google, to make it easier for consumers to subscribe to paid-for content such as that offered by the Financial Times and The Telegraph in the UK. So far, 17 partners across 10 countries have signed on to implement Subscribe with Google.
In order to stop the spread of fake news, it is also looking to help educate young people about digital information by joining forces with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a US project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers.
Twitter is not doing enough to protect women from abuse, says Amnesty
Twitter is failing to protect women from online abuse on its platform, according to a study by Amnesty International. It accused the social network of responding inconsistently when abuse was highlighted, even when it violated its own rules.
A survey of 1,100 British women carried out for the report shows just 9% think Twitter is doing enough to stop violence and abuse against women, while 78% say they don’t feel they can share their opinion without facing criticism.
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, believes Twitter has become a “toxic place for women”. “For far too long Twitter has been a space where women can too easily be confronted with death or rape threats, and where their genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations are under attack.
“The trolls are currently winning, because despite repeated promises, Twitter is failing to do enough to stop them. Twitter must take concrete steps to address and prevent violence and abuse against women on its platform, otherwise its claim to be on women’s side is meaningless.”
Tuesday, 20 March
UK secures conditional 21-month Brexit transition
Britain has secured a provisional agreement on a 21-month transition period for Brexit, causing a rise in sterling.
David Davis announced the “significant” deal on Monday which saw the UK and EU publish a joint withdrawal deal that will allow Britain to retain the benefits of the single market and customs union at the cost of some sovereignty.
According to the conditional deal, of which 75% is agreed, the UK will lose its role in any decision-making institutions but markets have reacted well to the news with sterling climbing to its highest level in three weeks.
The transition period will end on 31 December 2020 but legal certainty for UK businesses will only be in place once the agreement is signed and ratified.
Facebook shares fell by £26bn amid growing backlash over a data breach and growing questions from politicians in the UK and US about its privacy rules.
The social media giant’s stock fell by 7% on Monday, the most in four years, amid claims about Cambridge Analytica harvesting 50 million users’ data to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The company was filmed in a sting operation by Channel 4 aired last night admitting to using honey-traps to interfere in elections.
While Facebook has been working with the UK’s Information Commissioner, Cambridge Analytica has so far refused to co-operate and so the ICO is now asking for a warrant to enter its European HQ in London.
Channel 4 reveals 30% gender pay gap
Channel 4 has revealed that its female employees earn on average nearly 30% less than their male co-workers.
The broadcaster is the latest media company to reveal its gender pay gap, with women earning 28.6% less than men.
Overall, women make up nearly 60% of the company’s employees but two-thirds of its top 100 best paid staff are men. There is also a 47.6% average bonus gap between men and women.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s chief executive and the first woman to hold that role, said the figures released on Monday made for “uncomfortable reading”.
Channel 4 says the pay gap is down to men holding a higher proportion of senior positions.
BrewDog partners with Tough Mudder to become official beer sponsor
Brewdog and Tough Mudder UK have formed a partnership that will see the brewer provide its flagship beer to all participants.
The partnership will reward participants of Tough Mudders’s full and half events with BrewDog’s Punk IPA.
The beer will be available beginning at the inaugural Tough Mudder 5km event taking place this weekend in Stratford, East London.
Tough Mudder participants who complete the challenge will also be receive a headband that can get them discounts at BrewDog venues. Members of the Equity Punks scheme will also receive a Tough Mudder discount.
Monday 19 March
Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica over data breach
Facebook has suspended data company Cambridge Analytica over allegations that it collected data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without users’ permission. The data breach, which was revealed by The Guardian over the weekend, claims Cambridge Analytica received user data through an app developer in a way that violates Facebook’s policies.
Facebook says the company claimed it had destroyed that information in 2015, but it now appears this wasn’t the case. Both Cambridge Analytica and its parent Strategic Communication Laboratories have been suspended “pending further information”.
Cambridge Analytica says it has done nothing illegal and is now in touch with Facebook to resolve the issue. However, the FTC in the US as well as the Information Commissioners Office in the UK are investigating the allegations and MPs have suggested they may call both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to give evidence.
Cambridge Anaytica uses data to reach voters with hyper-targeted messaging on Facebook and other online services. It worked on both Donald Trump US President campaign and for the leave side in the EU referendum in the UK.
Disney and The FA launch campaign to encourage girls to play football
Disney and The Football Association have launched a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging more girls to play football. Airing ahead of FA Girls’ Football Week, which takes play from 23 to the 29 April, it aims to raise the profile of the women’s game and get more girls taking part.
The campaign marks the second year of a three-year partnership between the two, with the aim this year to beat last year’s participation figures – when 60,000 girls took art in 1,400 football sessions that took place in schools, universities, colleges, clubs and community groups. It features a 30-second film, created by Disney’s in-house creative team, that features three young female players from Coalville Town Football Club playing football interspersed with clips from three female characters from Disney films Moana, Tangled and Zootropolis.
The film will run in cinemas, on kids’ TV channels, during prime time terrestrial TV and on Disney’s own platforms from today (19 March). It aims to reach 5.7 million parents and children and raise awareness of FA Girls’ Football Week, as well as educating the public about the partnership between the two companies. It will be supported by a social campaign, as well as featuring in a special pack being distributed to girls.
Anna Hill, CMO at Disney UK and Ireland, says: “This campaign highlights how by using Disney’s storytelling and characters, we can help The FA attract new audiences to FA Girls’ Football Week and showcase that there are opportunities for girls of all ages and experience to take part; from those who have never kicked a ball before, to those who play regularly.
“This is another great example of Disney’s healthy living commitment in action, where we use Disney’s characters and IP to encourage families and children to be more active together, and at the same time empowering girls and building their self- confidence.”
L’Oréal makes a major move into augmented reality with ModiFace deal
L’Oréal is buying Canadian augmented reality company ModiFace as it looks to accelerate its digital ambitions. Founded 11 years ago, ModiFace has developed technology that tracks facial features and colours, enabling it to make skin diagnoses and recommend make-up. It is used by nearly all major beauty brands and owns more than 30 patents for its technology.
ModiFace will become part of L’Oréal’s digital services factory, which aims to design and develop new digital services for the company’s brands. It will work in collaboration with L’Oréal’s own research unit, but remain based in Toronto.
Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, says: “We are thrilled to welcome ModiFace to L’Oréal to become the heart of our digital services R&D. With its world-class team, technologies and sustained track record in terms of beauty tech innovations, ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and chose products and brands. We at L’Oréal and ModiFace want to pioneer this new page of the beauty industry and serve our customers with innovative services and experiences.”
Second Nike executive departs as it conducts a review of improper conduct
A second Nike executive has left the company as it conducts a review of improper workplace conduct. According to the Wall Street Journal, Jayme Martin, vice-president and general manager of global categories at Nike has left. He reported into Trevor Edwards, who as president of the Nike brand was its top marketer but who revealed sudden plans to retire in August.
Nike said on Thursday (15 March), that it was launching a review into workplace conduct after it says it received reports of conduct “inconsistent with Nike’s principles. Nike has not directly linked Edwards’s or Martin’s departures with the review into staff conduct.
Google looks to turn product searches into revenue
Google is launching a new programme with retailers that will enable them to list their products in it search, shopping and voice assistant services in exhange for a cut of each sale. According to Reuters, Google is pitching the feature as a better way to influencer shoppers’ purchasing decisions as it looks to stave off growing competition from Amazon.
So far US retailers including Walmart, Target and Home Depot are testing the service. Daniel Alegre, Google’s president for retail and shopping, says the move came after it saw an 85% uptick in mobile searches asking where to buy products and image searches that asked “Where can I buy this?” or “How can I but it?”.