Unilever and PepsiCo sign up to ITV’s ‘Matchmaker’ retail media scheme
A range of FMCG advertisers, including Heineken, Unilever’s Magnum and PepsiCo’s Walkers have joined ITV AdLabs’ ‘Matchmaker’ retail media solution, in partnership with Tesco and Boots.
The scheme allows brands who supply Boots and Tesco to bolster their video-on-demand targeting using customers’ loyalty data.
Walkers, Heineken and Magnum are some of the brands working with the Tesco solution, while Sure, John Frieda and Estrid Razors have signed up to the Boots solution.
Matchmaker uses InfoSum’s data collaboration platform to match up ITV’s first-party audience of 37 million with Boots’ Advantage Card and Tesco’s Clubcard databases.
The scheme will be rolled out to all qualifying FMCG advertisers from July.
“We are excited to be trialling ITV’s new proposition. Utilising retailer loyalty data allows us to deliver relevant ads to the most relevant audience, with the benefit of closed loop measurement,” says Katharine Crossland, digital commerce director at Unilever.
ITV’s controller of advanced advertising, Jayesh Rajdev, says there’s been an “amazing customer response” to the launch. “We’re now full steam ahead on customer roll-out and development roadmap with both retail partners,” he says.
Yell launches awareness campaign
Yell, former distributor of the Yellow Pages, has launched a campaign aimed at driving awareness for its services. With the strapline, ‘Whatever you need, just Yell’, the company hopes to remind customers that it’s there to help them find local services, from plumbers to decorators and solicitors.
The campaign emphasises the evolution of the company since it published the final edition of the Yellow Pages five years ago.
Last year, the campaign was trialled in Newcastle with the region scoring the highest search volume after London during the period. ‘Just Yell’ will run across digital and radio for an initial two months in the Midlands and North, before being rolled out across the UK.
“Yell has evolved a huge amount over the last decade – from saying farewell to the printed Yellow Pages to becoming a fully digital platform that helps millions of consumers find the right business for their needs wherever they are, across multiple devices,” says co-CEO Luke Taylor.
“However, one thing remains the same: Yell helps connect consumers to local businesses, and after a positive advertising trial in Newcastle, we’re excited to roll this activity out further to keep supporting and building these connections.”
Microsoft and Amazon to face anti-trust probe into cloud services
Ofcom, the UK’s communications watchdog, is calling for a probe into Microsoft and Amazon’s cloud services domination. The tech giants are facing a referral to the regulator for allegedly harming competition in the online cloud services market.
The concerns stem from Amazon and Microsoft’s position in the cloud services market. The two tech giants have a combined market share of between 60% and 70%, according to Reuters. Google, the closest competitor, has between 5% and 10%.
High barriers to switching are already harming competition in what is a fast-growing market,” says Fergal Farragher, Ofcom director. “We think more in-depth scrutiny is needed to make sure it’s working well for people and businesses who rely on these services.”
Microsoft and Amazon say they will continue to work with Ofcom ahead of its report being published in October.
“We remain committed to ensuring the UK cloud industry stays highly competitive, and to supporting the transformative potential of cloud technologies to help accelerate growth across the UK economy,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
“At AWS, we design our cloud services to give customers the freedom to build the solution that is right for them, with the technology of their choice,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “This has driven increased competition across a range of sectors in the UK economy by broadening access to innovative, highly secure, and scalable IT services.”
Amazon to close its UK online shop, Book Depository
Book Depository, Amazon’s UK-based online book store, is to close after almost two decades.
The retailer will close on 26 April. The news of its closure comes following Amazon’s announcement of its plans to cut thousands of jobs from its workforce.
It was a “difficult decision”, an Amazon spokesperson told the BBC.
The closure of Book Depository is part of an Amazon shakeup, announced in January. Other changes to Amazon’s books business include its decision to stop selling magazine and newspaper subscriptions on its Kindle devices.
In total, Amazon said it will be cutting more than 18,000 roles across the business. Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, said at the time it was a “hard decision” to “eliminate a number of positions across our Devices and Books businesses.”
P&O Ferries plans to cut more jobs in UK
P&O Ferries is considering cutting 60 UK jobs across managerial and supervisory positions, the company has said.
According to the BBC, another 60 jobs could be restructured into new or similar roles.
The news of layoffs at P&O Ferries comes a year after the company suddenly fired 800 workers without notice, leading to widespread backlash, and a large drop in the company’s brand health.
The layoffs are not expected to impact employees who work on the vessels. A representative for the GMB Union told the BBC the union was disappointed by the news, “especially as workers had gone the extra mile over the past difficult weekend”.
When P&O Ferries announced its widespread layoffs last year, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex tool, the company’s overall index score – a measure of total brand health using an average of its impression, value, quality, reputation, satisfaction and recommend scores – tumbled by 18 points between 14 to 20 March 2022.
Wednesday, 5 April
TikTok fined £12.7m for misuse of children’s data
TikTok has been fined £12.7m by the UK’s data watchdog for using the data of children under 13 without parents’ permission.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposed the fine after it carried out an investigation which found many children under the age of 13 were able to access the site, despite 13 being the minimum age to access TikTok.
The ICO found children’s data may have been used to track and profile them, and may have served them inappropriate content.
The platform claims it has “invested heavily” to prevent those under 13 from accessing the app.
The fine issued is one of the largest given by the ICO.
“TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had,” says information commissioner John Edwards.
In September 2022, the ICO issued the platform with “a notice of intent” and warned it may face a £27m fine. In its statement to the BBC, TikTok stated it disagreed with the ICO’s conclusion and highlighted the reduction of the fine.
“We are pleased that the fine announced today has been reduced to under half the amount proposed last year,” a spokesperson said.
It added that its “40,000-strong safety team works around the clock to help keep the platform safe for our community”.
Johnson & Johnson offers almost $9bn to settle talc powder claims
Johnson & Johnson has offered $8.9bn (£7.1bn) to settle thousands of lawsuits, which claim its talcum powder caused cancer.
The business, which is behind brands such as Neutrogena, Calpol and Listerine, stated it still believed the claims are “specious”, but the sum it is offering now is considerably more than the $2bn (£1.6bn) figure it had offered previously.
J&J has long been contending with legal issues over the talcum-based baby power. This deal would settle a decades-long legal battle.
In 2020, the company halted sales of the talc powder in the US, citing “misinformation”, which had sapped demand for the product. Last year it said it would stop sales globally. It has replaced the product with a corn-starch-based baby powder.
The company created a separate unit, LTL, to try to handle the claims in bankruptcy court. However, an earlier bankruptcy court found the subsidiary was not in financial distress and could not use it to settle the claims.
L’Oréal to acquire luxury beauty brand Aesop
L’Oréal will acquire Australian brand Aesop for $2.53bn (£2.03bn), in a bid to increase its presence in the luxury market.
The deal would be L’Oréal’s biggest-ever, followed by its $1.7bn (£1.36bn) purchase of YSL Beauté in 2008.
L’Oréal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus said the business sees “massive growth potential” in the Aesop brand, particularly in China and the travel retail sector. The business has followed a strategy of premiumisation, focusing on its products towards the upper end of the market as consumers of these are less impacted by inflation.
Aesop sits firmly at the higher end of the market, with a bottle of its 500ml handwash selling for around £30 online. It has around 400 points of sales worldwide, including 45 “signature stores” in the UK.
L’Oréal will acquire the brand from Natura & Co. Natura owns brands such as The Body Shop and Avon. The sale is designed to provide some relief for Natura as it experiences shrinking margins and high debts.
Most British consumers say loyalty schemes encourage them to buy certain products
Over half of UK consumers report feeling encouraged to buy particular products because of a discount offered under a loyalty scheme, finds research from Nielsen IQ.
Additionally, 44% of shoppers report retailer vouchers and coupons are important in determining where they shop. A “special price discount” on products from loyalty schemes is the promotion most likely to influence where consumers shop, finds the research, with 35% of the respondents stating this is most influential.
This was closely followed by “everyday low price”, which 34% stated is most influential.
“Our recent survey indicates that during a period of high inflation, shoppers are looking for different ways to save money and loyalty card savings are a ‘win-win’ strategy as they reward both shoppers and retailers,” says Nielsen IQ UK head of retailer and business insight.
The research comes as retailers such as Tesco and Boots have cut the value of their loyalty schemes. From June, points gathered under Tesco’s Clubcard scheme will be worth twice their value rather than three times, as they are currently.
Adidas launches Club Originals campaign
Adidas has launched a new campaign “Club Originals”, which celebrates the brand’s “community” across the worlds of music, art, style and movement.
The sportswear brand will host a series of parties, pop-ups and creative partnerships across Europe to bring its community together and launch the campaign. For example in London, the Saatchi Gallery will host an event later this month celebrating creativity.
The campaign is the biggest from Adidas since it celebrated its 50th birthday in 2020. The launch will target Gen-Z customers through TV, cinema, OOH, paid social and brand partnerships.
The campaign stars European artists and musicians such as singer Ashnikko and indie rock artist Bakar. It represents Adidas’s ambition to foster the next generation of talent, the brand says.
“We’re excited to bring together a collective of talent to inspire a new generation to think outside of the box and immerse themselves in the exciting activations taking place over the campaign duration,” says Adidas Originals Europe VP BU Chris Mitchell.
“Adidas Originals has played an authentic role in culture for over 50 years, and now we want to look ahead to the future of the brand, and to our future creative collaborators.”
Tuesday, 4 April
John Lewis wins Edgar the Dragon court battle
John Lewis has won its court case with an author who claimed Edgar the Dragon from its 2019 Christmas ad was a rip off of one of her books.
Fay Evans said the department store’s friendly but clumsy fire-breathing character bore a “striking” resemblance to her Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon.
But despite the similarities a High Court ruled yesterday there was “not a scrap of evidence” to suggest the John Lewis team or its agency Adam&EveDDB had been aware of her work.
Indeed, John Lewis showed evidence the idea for Edgar the Dragon was first put forward in 2016, a year before Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon was published. It also argued there were “numerous and substantial differences” between the two characters at a hearing in January.
While Evans agreed the initial concept was shared in 2016 she believed subsequent additions to the character, added ahead of launching the ad in 2019, did breach her copyright.
The court ruled there was no evidence to suggest John Lewis or Adam&EveDDB had seen her book ahead of the court case, though.
“The similarities between Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon on the one hand and Excitable Edgar are few in number and can easily be explained by coincidence rather than copying,” said Mrs Justice Clarke.
She added: “There can be no copying if the work alleged to have been copied has not been accessed (i.e. seen, in this case) by those said to have copied it.”
“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that… there can have been no copying.”
Hofmeister relaunches with ‘classier’ George The Bear
Beer brand Hofmeister has launched its first campaign in several years, fronted by a revamped version of the George The Bear character made famous in its ads from the 1980s and 90s.
The brand has repositioned with what it believes is a more “grown up” and “sophisticated” look and feel, which is mirrored in the revamped mascot.
Hofmeister says it is putting “quality, taste and sophistication” at the centre of the brand, while its famous brand character is now “classier”.
George The Bear was first resurrected in 2021 when new owners of the Hofmeister brand, Spencer Chambers and Richard Longhurst, launched a round of crowdfunding to raise cash for marketing after acquiring the business from Scottish & Newcastle in 2008 for £7.8bn.
“Everybody we’ve spoken to on the wrong side of 40 asked us what we’re going do with George,” Chambers told Marketing Week at the time. “George is the personification of the brand. The challenge was bringing this incredible iconic character back in a relevant way for this age.”
The new campaign, which lean heavily on out of home and print, shows a sleeker, more groomed mascot posing for a fashion-style photo shoot with the message ‘I’m Back. For Classier Beer, Follow the Bear.’
The media strategy, which also includes partnership content and social, was developed alongside Electric Glue.
Chambers, who is Hofmeister’s CEO, says: “We always knew at some point we just had to bring back George. A challenge that was going to require incredible creativity, courage, humour and a deft touch.”
L’Oréal’s top UK marketer takes on transformation role in fast growing markets
Lex Bradshaw-Zanger, who has headed up marketing for L’Oréal in the UK and Ireland since 2019, has been promoted to chief digital and marketing officer role for South Asia Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa (SAPMENA).
He will be responsible for 35 markets in the region, one of the beauty giant’s fastest growing and most populous areas.
Bradshaw-Zanger will be focused on building key strategic capabilities for the business in ecommerce, consumer engagement, data and analytics and marketing transformation. He has been tasked with reaching and engaging new consumers across the region, home to 3 billion people and a large digitally savvy Gen Z population.
Prior to taking on the UK role in 2019, Bradshaw-Zanger was L’Oréal’s chief digital officer for the Middle East and Africa, as well as Western Europe. He has also held senior digital strategy and marketing positions at McDonald’s and Facebook.
His replacement as chief digital and marketing officer for the UK and Ireland has yet to be confirmed. He takes on his new role on 1 May.
‘Autocorrect bias’ highlighted in ethnicity pay gap campaign
‘Autocorrect bias’ has been highlighted in a campaign to tackle the ethnicity pay gap by non-profit organisation People Like Us.
It puts the spotlight on autocorrect failures – Rishi being corrected to Rich, Ayan being automatically changed to Alan – that can lead to misidentification and a feeling of exclusion among people with diverse names.
The organisation says this “subconscious bias” in favour of British heritage names affects everything from autocorrect to pay.
Research by People Like Us shows workers from black, Asian, mixed race and other minority ethnic backgrounds are paid 16% less than their white counterparts. It also finds 67% of racially diverse working professionals believe a white colleague doing the same job as them is on a higher salary. A quarter (24%) say they suspect the disparity in pay could be up to £5,000.
Meanwhile, a report just published by The Living Wage Foundation highlights people from some backgrounds in London are significantly less likely to be paid a real living wage.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has shared his support of the campaign, saying on Twitter: “If your name is autocorrected, chances are your pay packet might be too.”
“Nobody should be paid less because of the colour of their skin. That’s why I’m supporting this campaign from non-profit People Like Us asking the Govt [sic] to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.”
The ‘Autocorrected’ campaign, launching in partnership with JCDecaux, has been designed to drive petition signatures to get the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.
Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder of People Like Us, says: “The problem with these types of clunky, and often, offensive autocorrections is that it perpetuates the myth that non-Anglophone names are foreign and difficult to pronounce. It reinforces a homogenous culture that excludes individuals with diverse backgrounds and undermines the efforts of organisations to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Anyone with a diverse name can give you examples of it. Ayan becomes Alan, Rishad becomes Richard and so on.
“And if your name gets auto-corrected by default, your salary might also default to the national average of 16% less – a reality experienced by people of ethnically diverse backgrounds.
The campaign has been developed with agency Worth Your While.
Coca-Cola launches global brand campaign to drive better connections
Coca-Cola has teamed up with model Gigi Hadid for a global campaign that looks to encourage people to “come together around a meal”.
‘A Recipe for Magic’ focuses on the “connecting force” of shared experiences and is the latest execution of Coca-Cola’s ‘Real Magic’ global brand philosophy.
Rolling out globally in all markets, including the UK, US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, China and Japan, the campaign will feature other influencers to bring the campaign to life locally.
“At Coca-Cola we’ve long recognised the inherent power of meals as a connecting force for positive shared experiences. When we looked at the data on this and saw people’s attitudes towards the meals occasion, it was interesting to note that despite living in a hyper-connected world, people are longing for greater connection,” says Elif Kaypak, global brand marketing lead at The Coca-Cola Company.
“Research tells us people wish they could share a meal more often with loved ones and that sharing a meal reminds them of the importance of connecting with others.”
Monday, 3 April
Tesla reports record Q1 sales following major price cuts
Tesla’s sales grew 36% over the first quarter of 2023 and hit a new record for the period, after slashing the price of its cars by as much as a fifth in January.
The electric vehicles (EV) company delivered 422,875 vehicles worldwide between January and March, up from around 310,000 a year ago. However, according to FactSet the firm fell short of analyst estimates of 432,000.
January’s price cuts were made to bolster demand amid a challenging economy for the EV market. They reached as high as 20% on some US models, while in the UK reductions were in the range of 10-13%. The cheapest Tesla Model 3 became £5,500 cheaper at £42,990, while £7,000 was knocked off the Model Y, now £44,990.
It was the first time Tesla had ever engaged in discounting. At the time, Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson warned the brand was not only starting an EV price war, but communicating its weakness to existing and future customers.
The price of Tesla’s more expensive models, the S and X, were also cut early last month, by between $5,000 (£4,054) and $10,000 (£8,107).
Consumers turn to own brands and price promotions to manage cost of living, survey says
Over half (55%) of UK consumers say they have cut down their non-essential spending so far in 2023, according to the latest KPMG Consumer Pulse survey, with 38% identifying rising utilities costs as their biggest spending deterrent in the next three months.
Asked how their shopping behaviours have changed so far this year, 37% of the 3,000 consumers surveyed say they have been buying more own brand or value range products. Almost as many (36%) are buying more promotions or discounted items, while a third are buying fewer products.
The same proportion (33%) say they are spending more time looking for bargains, while 31% are switching brands and 29% are switching to cheaper retailers. More than one in 10 are spending more on credit.
According to the survey, consumers are cutting back on eating out the most (63%), followed by takeaways (55%) and clothing (54%). The least affected categories are children’s clothing and toys (11%), pet products (12%) and meal delivery kits (15%).
Four in 10 (41%) are yet to purchase any ‘big ticket’ items so far this year, with 34% saying they won’t make one this year at all. Of those who do plan to make a major purchase, 28% plan to make a home improvement purchase, while 26% plan to buy a holiday. Some 17% plan to buy a home appliance, 13% expect to buy home electronics, and 12% plan to buy a vehicle.
Consumers’ top two considerations when purchasing goods and services this year are price (79%) and quality (69%). Following some way behind are sustainability (30%), convenience (24%), loyalty benefits (20%), customer experience (10%), ethics (4%), and data privacy (2%).
Specsavers unveils campaign hailing partnership model
Specsavers has launched a campaign highlighting the retailer’s partnership model and the local experts who own and run individual stores, with the aim to drive reappraisal of the brand.
The ‘Your Care is our Business’ spot will run on TV for six weeks. It takes a humorous tone, with people talking about someone they have a great relationship with, before it’s shown to be their optician or audiologist. Activity across radio, press, out of home (OOH), digital and social is to follow.
The campaign comes as part of Specsavers’ ongoing strategy to highlight its lesser-known services and communicate that there is more to the brand than just glasses. It follows the brand’s domiciliary campaign ‘I Don’t Go’, which launched last year.
“Our research shows that many people are unaware of our partnership model where each local Specsavers store is individually owned and run by the opticians and audiologist,” says marketing services director Victoria Clarke.
“The Your Care is our Business campaign has been created to drive brand reappraisal by highlighting the level of expertise and care that each Specsavers partner brings to the job, owning their own business within their local community.”
Google hit with second advertising lawsuit on behalf of publishers
Google is being sued for £3.4bn in compensation for online publishers, as the tech giant is accused of unlawfully using its leading position in online advertising to limit the amount of money publishers make from their own display inventory.
The legal claim is being made by the former technology editor of the Guardian, Charles Arthur. Filed on Thursday, the lawsuit claims Google has abused its position, driving up the price of advertising technology services and reducing the ad sales revenues of publishers.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the platform’s dominance in ad tech. However, the regulator lacks power to force Google to compensate any business which has lost out, Arthur wrote in his claim.
“We can only right that wrong through the courts, which is why I am bringing this claim,” he added.
According to the BBC, Google said it would fight the “speculative and opportunistic” action.
A similar lawsuit was launched in November by former Ofcom director Claudio Pollack, who is looking for £13.6bn in damages. Both claims ask to be certified as “opt-out”, meaning publishers will be automatically included in the case unless they say otherwise.
Mars and Asahi leaders become co-chairs of WFA’s Planet Pledge
Marketing and sustainability executives from FMCG giant Mars and alcoholic drinks company Asahi have been named as the first ever co-chairs of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)’s Planet Pledge.
The pledge asks businesses to commit to being a champion for the UN’s global Race to Zero campaign, which requires C-suite approval. Marketers are asked to champion sustainability both by transforming their business’s marketing organisation and driving behaviour change among consumers.
Mars’s global director of purpose marketing, Dale Green, and Asahi’s group sustainability director, Preeti Srivastav, have been appointed to drive uptake of the CMO-led framework and encourage marketers globally to adopt sustainable growth strategies.
Some 32 global brands have signed up to the pledge since it was launched in spring 2021, representing nearly $60bn in annual marketing spend. The newest signatories are AB InBev, Nissan and Schneider Electric.
“A collaborative marketing and sustainability strategy can accelerate, amplify and be a force for good towards creating a legacy that we can be proud of,” Asahi’s Srivastav says.
“At Asahi, sustainability and marketing are working closely to ensure that we engage, partner, and connect with our employees, consumers, partners and suppliers in a meaningful way. The WFA Planet Pledge is helping bring these indispensable levers of sustainability and marketing together.”
Mars’s Green adds: “We know that we need to make every corner of our business more sustainable and that we must act today if we’re to have impact on climate change. I look forward to helping lead the WFA’s Planet Pledge initiative alongside Preeti and other like-minded member companies to share best practices, identify where we can make a difference and encourage adoption.”