Kraft Heinz debuts new TikTok ad feature
Kraft Heinz has launched what it says is the world’s first branded food campaign to utilise TikTok’s new Jump feature – letting users save a full recipe with one click while shopping for ingredients using the Whisk app.
The brand has partnered with Whisk and food and drink social publisher Twisted to develop the campaign, which features a recipe for the Classico x Twisted Pesto and Tomato Babka.
TikTok Jump allows creators to link their content to third-party providers, apps and services, in a bid to appeal to advertisers who want to connect consumers to a brand action. The Whisk Jump helps users to organise recipes, plan meals and shop for groceries. Twisted’s TikTok has gathered more than half a million followers in less than a year.
“We are thrilled to be working with true innovation partners like Twisted and Whisk to learn how to better convert engaging TikTok content into actionable brand campaigns that lead to business results and deeper relationships with our consumers,” says Alan Kleinerman, head of disruptive innovation KSB at The Kraft Heinz Company.
“TikTok and Whisk have helped alleviate a long-standing problem that recipe creators face: how to allow TikTok users to view and save full recipe content. Not only are TikTok creators using Whisk to add recipes previously published online; they’re also sharing unique TikTok recipes that don’t exist anywhere else,” adds head of Whisk Nick Holzherr.
‘Bold marketing’ delivers lockdown boost for Watches of Switzerland
Specialist retailer Watches of Switzerland has reported record revenues and profits for the 53 weeks to 2 May, enhancing its market share in the UK despite lockdown closures of its stores.
The brand’s customer base has accumulated additional disposable wealth which is being used for discretionary purchases, according to the company. Luxury watch sales increased by 16% as the brand experienced “dynamic consumer trends”.
Group revenue rose by 13.3% during the period to £905.1m, with an adjusted EBITDA up 34.9% to £105.4m. UK revenue was up by 3.6%. While airport and tourist sales reduced, online sales more than doubled during the period.
“Our performance is testament to the resilience and hard work of our colleagues, good support from our brand partners and our proven model, including our leading online platform and bold, impactful marketing approach,” says Watches of Switzerland CEO Brian Duffy.
The group plans to build on its momentum with selective company acquisitions to become a clear market leader.
Watches of Switzerland maintained employment levels and full salaries during the Covid-19 pandemic and has repaid furlough money received during the year. It is now launching The Watches of Switzerland Group Foundation, to provide essential community support in the UK and US.
McGuigan renews Drama Channel sponsorship
McGuigan Wines has renewed its sponsorship deal with The Drama Channel, after crediting its presence on the channel with helping to achieve an 18% increase in brand awareness over the last two years.
The Australian winemaker will now continue its sponsorship, worth more than £2 million in media value alone, for a further 12 months. New creative will see ‘disruptive’ idents that build on dramatic scenes with a humorous twist, designed to show that wine should be an effortless pleasure, ready to enjoy at any time.
“Our Drama Channel partnership is working really well for our McGuigan brand, as we’re reaching the right audience in a relaxed at-home environment. Alongside this, we’re delighted with how our new idents have turned out which bring to life our updated brand positioning of ‘Just Because’, whilst also reinforcing that McGuigan is the perfect choice for everyday quality wine. We hope these idents will help continue to drive further brand awareness and growth,” says Ben Turner, marketing director of McGuigan Wines parent company Australian Vintage.
Record viewers for England’s semi final win
Advertisers benefitted from record viewing figures for the England v Denmark Euros semi final match this week.
Exclusive coverage on ITV saw a peak of 27.6 million viewers across ITV, ITV Hub and STV, making it the most-watched football match ever shown on a single UK channel. The one-minute peak figure includes viewers on phones, laptops and other smart devices.
The match saw ITV monopolise viewing with a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ audience share of 82.3%. The figures are slightly above the 27.5 million who tuned in for England’s defeat by Croatia in the 2018 World Cup and the 26 million who watched England play Argentina in 1998.
Sainsbury’s axes CD and DVD ranges but vinyl lives on
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is to stop selling CDs and DVDs as customers increasingly choose streaming services instead, reports the BBC. However, the retailer will continue to sell vinyl records in some stores.
Total CD sales have fallen sharply over the last decade but were still worth £115m last year. According to the British Phonographic Industry the value of vinyl sales this year is expected to surpass CDs for the first time since the late 1980s.
“Our customers increasingly go online for entertainment, so earlier this year we took the decision to gradually phase out the sale of DVDs and CDs, so that we can dedicate extra space to food and popular products like clothing and homewares,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesperson.
Thursday, 8 July
BrewDog defies ASA ruling over hard seltzer advert
Beer brand BrewDog has reposted a “misleading” ad for its Clean & Press hard seltzer drink on social media.
BrewDog CEO and co-founder James Watt uploaded the ad on Twitter and LinkedIn and replied directly to the Advertising Standards Agency’s ruling against the ad.
It reads: “The ASA have banned our Instagram advert for saying that we cannot call our seltzer a health drink because we cannot call our seltzer a health drink. Pretty meta. We are also not allowed to tell people it only has 90 calories. Even though it has.”
The ASA has told the BBC: “We’re aware of Mr Watt’s comments on social media. The ad rules are clear: you can’t make health claims for alcoholic beverages, and that still stands.”
The ad first ran in January in an attempt to be “tongue in cheek” by the brand, which said it accepted the ruling.
The post was of a can of Clean & Press and says: ‘Even though Clean & Press is only 90 calories per can, with no carbs or sugar and a little bit of alcohol, this is not a health drink. If you are looking for a health drink, do not drink Clean & Press.’
The ASA took issue with the brand’s health claims of ‘a little bit of alcohol’ and ‘no carbs or sugar’ as health claims are not allowed on alcoholic beverages, and the drink has an alcoholic strength by volume (ABV) of 5%.
Prior to this the Scottish brand also fell foul of the ASA due to a competition prize.
BrewDog gave away solid gold cans apparently worth £15,000 inside a case of beer, but winners contested the valuation, stating the cans are actually gold plated. The ASA continues to investigate this matter, BrewDog is standing by its claim.
Wetherspoons warn of food price rise in September
Pub chain Wetherspoons says it will be forced to raise food prices by 40p if a tax cut for the hospitality industry is not extended.
During the pandemic, the government slashed tax on food sold in pubs from 20% to 5% to aid businesses affected by stay-at home orders.
But this is set to return to pre-pandemic levels in stages over the next year, and targeted by the government to rise to 12.5% in September. The pub chain will raise prices in the same month.
Wetherspoons has criticised the move saying it will “make the entire hospitality industry less competitive”.
“It is an important principle of taxation that taxes should be fair and equitable,” it says.
“One area of undoubted unfairness, which creates economic distortions, relates to VAT. Supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, but pubs and restaurants pay 20%, in normal circumstances.”
Deliveroo posts 400 vacancies to ramp up services
Deliveroo has committed to creating 400 technology jobs over the next year to boost services and brand after a rocky stock market entry.
The food delivery brand is aiming to hire across a range of roles based in the UK such as software engineers, product managers, designers and data scientists.
The expanded team will be tasked with boosting the experience for restaurant partners, riders and customers.
This also includes a boost to the brand’s rapid delivery grocery offering, expansion of Signature service and boosting delivery-only Editions kitchens.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says the jobs boost is a “fantastic vote of confidence in the UK as a global hub for tech”.
Deliveroo’s debut into the London Stock Exchange was labelled the worse initial product offering in the exchange’s history, with more than a quarter of its value lost on the first day but it has since recovered.
“Deliveroo is proud to be at the forefront of Britain’s dynamic technology sector and we are excited to be expanding our tech team to help drive Deliveroo’s growth,” says chief technology officer Dan Winn.
“These new team members will play a vital role in building best-in-class technology to help restaurants reach new customers, improve rider experience, and give customers access to the food they love.”
National Lottery partners with Team GB and Paralympics GB
The National Lottery operator Camelot is launching its “largest ever brand campaign” in partnership with Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes.
Camelot is pushing the campaign across TV, radio, digital and out-of-home, internal channels and 44,000 retailers.
Fronting the campaign is a 30-second ad which features a number of athletes including sprinter Jonnie Peacock, wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley, taekwondo athlete Lutalo Muhammad and discus thrower Dan Greaves.
In the ad, members of the public comically lend their support to the athletes by making cups of tea and attempting to put them through their paces.
The ad ends with a voiceover from TV presenter Dermot O’Leary declaring: “There is an easier way to support our athletes. Just play The National Lottery. When you play a little, you help our athletes a lot.”
It featured during the England vs Denmark game yesterday (7 July), with further primetime slots throughout the week, including the Euro 2020 final on 11 July. The TV ad was created by agency adam&eveDDB, with media planning and buying done by Dentsu.
Alongside the core campaign will be advertising for the individual National Lottery games which will be badged with the Team GB and Paralympics GB logos, and the Lotto ‘It Could Be You’ TV ads will be updated with a “Tokyo twist”, alluding to how players will be reminded when they play a game they are funding athletes.
Camelot CMO Keith Moor says: “Through the scale and reach of this campaign – The National Lottery’s largest ever – we want players left in no doubt of the role that they play in supporting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
Carex launches interactive billboard to rally consumer confidence
Handwash brand Carex has launched an interactive sampling billboard and opportunities to win tickets to attractions, to encourage consumers to “resume daily life safely”.
The billboard is situated in London’s Southbank and encourages those passing by to ‘grab, squeeze and seize the moment’, with free samples of on-the-go sanitiser to take away.
Consumers will also be given the opportunity to win tickets to Merlin’s top attractions including The Lastminute.com London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Shrek’s Adventure and London Dungeon’s.
The billboard is part of a wider integrated marketing campaign, ‘Always Carry Carex’ by the brand to encourage consumers to continue sanitising and allay fears on the UK coming out of lockdown restrictions on 19 July.
The brand cites a YouGov study, which states almost half of Brits are nervous about readjusting to life after lockdown restrictions are lifted, with many hesitant to socialise normally again.
PZ Cussons UK marketing director Megan Harrison says: “As we prepare for the return of normality and the lifting of lockdown, naturally many of us are nervous about being in contact with others again, and how to resume daily life safely. We want to give consumers the confidence to get back out there knowing they have the best protection for their hands.”
Wednesday, 7 July
Strong-performing Ocado Group to up its marketing spend
Ocado Group’s financial year 2021 half-year results showed revenue increasing by 21.4% to £1.3bn and a 22% increase in active customers, up to 777,0000, suggesting that consumer behaviour was starting to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In keeping with that sense of optimism, marketing costs were up to £14.8m (a 1.2% increase, or £3.1m), with the ‘There’s An Ocado Just For You’ multi-media campaign launched in May to drive brand awareness during the first liftings of social distancing.
Now, with further capacity for customer acquisition activity available through the second half of the year, the brand expects more marketing investment to follow.
“As we head towards a post Covid-19 future, it is increasingly clear that the landscape for grocery worldwide has changed, for good,” Ocado Group CEO Tim Steiner said in a statement
“We continue to build strong partnerships with our clients and win new clients, based on our 20-year experience as a technology company and a food retailer, and these partnerships are the bedrock of our business.”
Ryanair forms customer advisory panel
Budget airline Ryanair is to form a customer advisory panel made up of seven customers from six European countries.
The seven customers will travel to Dublin for a first round of meetings, to provide feedback and make recommendations to improve Ryanair’s services.
The seven range in age from 20 to 66 and come from Ireland, Poland, Italy, Spain, Germany and two from the UK (where almost a third of applicants came from).
Future meetings are scheduled to take place in Madrid, Rome and Berlin, with flights and accommodation provided for each panel member and their partners.
“The panel is a diverse cross-section of Ryanair customers, equipped with valuable insights, who possess great energy and we are excited to have them on board to help us drive improvements in Ryanair’s customer care and service,” says the airline’s director of marketing and digital Dara Brady.
Schweppes campaign celebrates ‘Britain’s summer spirit’
Soft drinks brand Schweppes is celebrating the British public’s determination to enjoy summer, even if it’s pouring with rain and everywhere’s choked up with traffic.
Two 10-second slots will be accompanied by a number of OOH displays across Birmingham, London and Manchester, with a series of digital ads in 11 cities, including Liverpool, Leeds and Glasgow, as well as on the London Underground system.
A social media campaign will run throughout the summer, with a Pinterest partnership providing inspiring summer cocktail recipes.
“As we continue to build on our new and unique identity, we are seeing both loyal and new consumers enjoy the fresh taste of Schweppes and we’re bubbling with excitement at the launch of our new campaign,” explains Schweppes senior brand manager Ana Amura.
“Schweppes has long been Britain’s mixer of choice and is a summertime staple for many consumers. Our light-hearted campaign champions the Great British public’s relentless spirit to enjoy the summer months regardless of its unpredictability.”
Salesforce partners with Team GB ahead of Tokyo Olympics
American cloud-based software company Salesforce is partnering Team GB, delivering marketing programmes that look to bring fans and athletes closer together for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and future Olympic and Paralympic events.
Salesforce will use data to create fan engagement hubs, as well as providing athletes with training and reskilling programmes for life beyond the track, when thoughts turn to new careers.
The company already has a long-term partnership with Team USA athletes and is a founding partner of the LA28 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
“Our mission at Salesforce is to help customers achieve success from anywhere,” says Salesforce UKI president and CEO Zahra Bahrololoumi. “We’re incredibly proud to support Team GB by helping them do the same — engaging with their fans around the world.”
British Olympic Association CEO Andy Anson says that the partnership will help drive the association forward. “Engaging with Team GB fans through an effective data strategy is at the heart of our plans for the next Olympic cycle,” says Anson.
“Working with a market leader like Salesforce is incredibly exciting for the BOA. We really couldn’t ask for a better-equipped partner, whose expertise in this field will help drive the BOA forward and we’re excited to get started.”
Pubs to stay open later for Euro 2020 final
In a move that hopefully won’t jinx England’s chances in tonight’s semi-final, the government has announced that pubs will be allowed to stay open on Sunday until 11.15pm, in case the Euro 2020 final goes to extra time, or even penalties.
With the final kicking off at 8pm, there were concerns that last orders would ring out at a crucial moment in the game and, with England among the semi-finalists, the thought of ordering fans out on the streets before the final whistle didn’t really bear thinking about for most pub owners.
However, a relaxation of the licensing laws in both England and Wales will now allow fans to watch the full game and save pubs from having to apply to local authorities for an extension to opening hours.
Tuesday, 6 July
John Lewis to introduce flexible working
The John Lewis Partnership is set to introduce flexible working when the government’s work from home guidance ends.
“We won’t tell our head office staff where to work,” Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations at the retail group told the PA news agency. “The pandemic has forced us all to rethink the norm of five days in an office.”
If restrictions are lifted on 19 July, as indicated by Boris Johnson yesterday, people working at John Lewis and Waitrose will be given the option to work in whatever way best suits their job.
“We will continue to support and enable our partners as they figure out how and where they work best for the type of work they do,” he added.
Sainsbury’s pledges £50m price cut on everyday items
Sainsbury’s plans to cut the price of everyday items by £50m, according to CEO Simon Roberts, as it looks to offer customers “even better value”.
Roberts made the statement as the supermarket posted a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 16 weeks to 26 June.
The supermarket says a combination of improved value, more innovation and better customer service have all contributed to it increasing market share over the period.
Grocery sales increased by 0.8% over the period, compared to Q1 2020, and 11.3% compared to two years ago.
Sainsbury’s says it is seeing “encouraging early results” from its ‘Sainsbury’s Quality: Aldi Price Match’ campaign, which is having a halo effect across the rest of the basket.
Overall general merchandise sales, including Argos, dropped by 1.4% year on year, but increased by 5.6% on a two-year basis.
Argos sales dropped by 3.7% during the first quarter compared to the previous year, but increased by 6.7% on a two-year basis. Sainsbury’s general merchandise sales increased by 11.2% year on year, and by 0.9% compared to 2019. Clothing sales increased by 57.6% year on year and 15.5% compared to Q1 in 2019.
Roberts says: “Over the coming months we expect to see customer shopping patterns normalise further and we are well set up to serve them however they want to shop.
“We are focused on offering our customers even better value and regularly creating new and exciting products for them to try. From today we are reducing prices by £50m on everyday products from strawberries and cherries to bacon and potatoes, helping customers make the most of this summer. I’m delighted that customers are responding to the changes we are making and that we are growing our market share.”
Men saved twice as much as women last year
People in the UK saved £154bn in the year to March 2021, but men were able to save more than double that of women, according to new data from Kantar.
While 46% of women and 50% of men say they were able to save more than usual during the pandemic as a result of lockdowns and reduced commuting costs, women saved £50bn less than men.
Men saved an average of £5,335 over the 12 months to March, while women saved £2,628. This reflects men’s higher average salaries, their increased likelihood to stay in work and the added pressure Covid put on household spending, much of which was shouldered by women.
Women under 35 who earn under £30,000 were least likely to be able to save, with one in six women in this category finding their ability to save seriously impacted.
Fewer than one in 20 of all respondents have invested the extra money they saved, with women less likely to do so. Just over a quarter (26%) of women describe themselves as investors, compared to 37% of men. Low confidence is one of the main barriers for women, with a third saying they don’t invest because they don’t know enough about it. This rises to 44% for millennial women.
Amy Cashman, executive managing director of Kantar’s Insights division, says: “It’s a crucial time for financial services brands to boost their engagement with consumers, whether that’s helping savers to maximise their extra cash or offering guidance to people who have faced financial hardship.
“Quantifying the impact of Covid-19 on men and women’s finances is the first step to understanding their different wants and needs and our data shows just how much their use of financial products varies.”
Iceland’s four-day week trial deemed ‘overwhelming success’
Trials of a four-day working week in Iceland have been called an “overwhelming success”, with research showing productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of cases. Stress was also reduced, while people reported benefits to their health and work-life balance.
As part of the trials, which were run by Reykjavik City Council between 2015 and 2019, workers were paid the same amount for doing shorter hours.
More than 2,500 workers took part in the trial, around 1% of Iceland’s working population, with most moving from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours
As a result, 86% of Iceland’s workforce have either moved to shorter hours for the same pay, or will have the opportunity to do so, according to researchers from UK think tank Autonomy and the Association for Sustainable Democracy (Alda) in Iceland.
Gudmundur D Haraldsson, a researcher at Alda, says: “The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too.”
A number of other trials looking at the possibility of a four-day week are also underway, including in Spain and by Unilever in New Zealand.
Dunelm to ditch glitter this Christmas in sustainability drive
Homeware retailer Dunelm is removing glitter from all Christmas products as it looks to reduce the amount of plastic it creates. Instead it will be using lurex and metallic threads to add sparkle.
The brand will also remove plastic packaging from its baubles – the equivalent of 1.8 tonnes – plus it will be ditching the shrink wrap previously used to protect wrapping paper, meaning the range is now fully recyclable.
Dunelm’s Christmas range also includes reusable hanging paper decorations, gift bags made from recycled plastic bottles and stuffed toys using recyclable fillings.
Shriya Pancholi, senior sustainability manager at Dunelm, says: “At Christmas, as a nation, we are notoriously guilty of wasting huge amounts of plastic and so our aim is to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Monday, 5 July
Morrisons agrees £6.3bn takeover bid
Morrisons has accepted a £6.3bn takeover bid from US private equity group Fortress, owner of the Majestic Wine chain.
However, a bidding war could be looming as US investment firm Apollo Global has this morning indicated it could make a rival offer for the supermarket.
It comes a month after Morrisons rejected a £5.5bn bid from rival private equity firm Clayton Dublier & Rice (CD&R).
It is understood that Fortress intends to support the strategy set out by the current management team and keep the retailer’s Bradford-based head office open, enabling the supermarket to operate as a “standalone business”. Fortress describes the existing strategy as having a “strong customer focus”, with a view to growing online and wholesale, and maintaining a vertically integrated supply chain, as well as rolling out targeted store openings and enabling job creation.
The private equity company has confirmed it does not plan to sell and then lease back the chain’s 497 stores, 85% of which are owned by Morrisons.
Fortress also says it recognises that the relationship with customers is a “central part in the fundamental character of the Morrisons business” and that listening carefully to consumers and enhancing the shopping trip will be a “central priority” for the company.
The supermarket’s chairman Andrew Higginson describes the deal as fair and one that will help the business “continue to prosper”.
“Morrisons is an outstanding business and our performance through the pandemic has further improved our standing and enabled us to enter the discussions with Fortress from a hard-won position of strength,” Higginson adds.
“We have looked very carefully at Fortress’ approach, their plans for the business and their overall suitability as an owner of a unique British food-maker and shopkeeper with over 110,000 colleagues and an important role in British food production and farming.”
The potential counter offer from Apollo is not entirely unexpected. Following the interest last month from CD&R, there had been speculation Amazon – which has an online delivery partnership with Morrisons – might make a bid. Nor is the Fortress deal the first such buyout in the UK grocery sector, as only last year the Issa brothers acquired Asda for £6.8bn.
Over the past two months Morrisons has been redoubling its marketing efforts, launching a revamped loyalty scheme offering ‘instant money’ offers and rolled out the first ad under its new ‘Make Good Things Happen’ brand platform.
TfL suffers record £100m plunge in ad revenue
Transport for London (TfL) has suffered a record £100m drop in advertising revenue across its network as a result of Covid-19 restrictions insisting people work from home.
Across the more than 100,000 billboards, posters and panels spanning London’s train, bus and tube network, ad revenues plummeted to £50m in the year to the end of March, the Guardian reports. This is compared to advertising income of £158.3m in 2019.
The total £50m spent by brands was spread across 7,818 campaigns from the likes of Sony, Dettol and Netflix. Government, political and social campaigns (1,448) represented the largest category for ad spend, followed by retail adverts (1,207) and those promoting entertainment and leisure (1,029).
TfL rejected 55 adverts submitted by brands in 2020 due to rules around advertising HFSS products (high in fat, salt and sugar), although the organisation claims the ban on such content has not impacted revenues as many campaigns have been repurposed to fit the rules.
Retiring customer and revenue director Chris Macleod describes the situation as “reverse marketing”, whereby TfL has encouraged travellers to follow government guidelines and not travel, hurting ad sales but meaning tube passenger numbers fell by 90%.
Macleod is hopeful ad revenue will kick back into gear and receive a boost from the opening of the Elizabeth Line and new stations on the Northern Line. This will be crucial as in June TfL agreed a £1bn funding deal with the government, taking the total amount of financial support it has received since the onset of Covid-19 to £4bn.
With an element of working from home likely to become the status quo, the hope is that by March 2022 passenger numbers across the TfL network will be around 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
“Confidence is coming back. There are quite a lot of people travelling now, but you don’t have that same five-day-a-week frequency,” says Macleod. “But in the old world we were probably overcovering. If you have a decent quality audience moving about, there is money in that. You can build good campaigns. It is not like there is no one out there.”
John Lewis explores housebuilding in bid to diversify
John Lewis is planning to build 10,000 rental homes over the next 10 years as the business looks to diversify away from high street retail.
The Sunday Times reports that the Partnership has identified space for 7,000 rental homes across its property portfolio, alongside plans to develop new sites. The homes will span everything from studio flats to four-bedroom houses, and could be built in John Lewis car parks, near distribution centres and above Waitrose stores. The first batch of homes will be built in the south east of England, although the business sees scope to expand nationwide.
It is reported that residents will have the option to have the home furnished with either John Lewis products or their own, while the properties will feature a concierge and could have a Waitrose store located nearby. It is possible that the homes will be identifiable by a John Lewis sign above the door and staff may be offered discounts on rents.
The Partnership already has several homes in Leckford, Hampshire, where properties painted with a green door are John Lewis-owned. It is also understood that the company is preparing to file a series of planning applications as it looks to expand its footprint as a residential landlord.
UKTV head of marketing assumes channel role
Head of marketing Cherie Cunningham has been promoted to the role of channel director for UKTV’s comedy entertainment channel Dave.
The 2021 Marketing Academy scholar, who joined UKTV in 2016 as senior marketing manager on Dave, will report to genre general manager for comedy and entertainment, Steve North.
Cunningham was made head of marketing for the Dave and W channels in 2019 and over the past five years has helped grow UKTV’s channels, orchestrating launch campaigns for shows like Taskmaster, Red Dwarf and Hypothetical. During the first quarter of 2021, Cunningham’s team launched a brand campaign for Dave highlighting the array of shows on the channel, which contributed to a 20% rise in viewership among 16 to 34-year-olds compared to last year.
She also established the broadcaster’s long-term partnership with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which seeks to drive awareness and fundraising through marketing, podcasts and merchandise to support mental health and suicide prevention.
Cunningham kicked off her career as a marketing coordinator at 3M in 2007, before assuming the role of commercial marketing coordinator at Nickelodeon. She joined Sky as a marketing executive in 2010, rising to the position of marketing manager for Sky 1 and Sky Living. During her time at the broadcaster Cunningham led the channel brand strategy for Sky 1, launching programmes such as A League of Their Own and An Idiot Abroad. Her final role before joining UKTV was as senior marketing and PR manager at Sony.
Responding to her promotion, North credits Cunningham’s “exceptional” leadership skills and “extensive marketing knowledge”, which he hopes will take Dave to the “next stage”. She is tasked with growing the channel’s viewership, which currently stands at 20 million viewers per month, and continuing to establish its reputation as the home of new award-winning comedy.
“Dave is a challenger brand and I’m committed to ensuring we surprise and excite audiences over the coming months and years by supplying non-stop creativity, content and innovation,” says Cunningham.
“We’ve had an incredible success rate with new and returning UKTV Original commissions, we’ve landed brilliant purpose driven work with CALM and, as a brand, Dave has bags of personality. So, with all that in mind, the future looks set to be very exciting.”
Channel 4 and Sky strengthen content partnership
Channel 4 and Sky have signed a multi-year agreement extending their “successful strategic relationship”, with a view to giving both parties greater opportunities to fuel commercial growth.
The deal extends the existing partnership by several years, ensuring viewers will continue to have easy access to Channel 4 content across Sky products. The deal facilitates the deeper integration of on-demand service All 4 into all Sky’s existing and future TV products, including more than 1,000 hours of All 4 exclusives.
The new partnership also means Channel 4’s advertising inventory on linear and on-demand TV will become addressable across Sky’s platforms. This builds on the existing relationship, which has seen Channel 4 integrate with Sky AdSmart tech to tailor ads to different pay TV households.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon says securing strategic distribution partnerships is a “vital part” of the Future4 strategy announced last year, which is focused on maximising the broadcaster’s reach among viewers in a “digital age”.
“We know how much Sky customers love Channel 4’s content so it’s great that we’ve secured an extension, and expansion, to our existing agreement,” adds executive vice-president and chief executive of Sky UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen.
“This brings Sky customers more of what they want and supports Channel 4 to deliver on their key priorities, all while providing both parties with long-term confidence in the strategic partnership.”
Sky has been beefing up its partnerships over the past year, finalising a multi-year European tie-up with Amazon to bring Prime Video to Sky and Now devices. The broadcaster has also signed long-term deals with Entertainment One and Studio Canal on the cinema side, as well as integrating lifestyle and entertainment apps like Fiit, Roxi and Peloton into the Sky Q platform.