UKTV, Lidl, Poundland: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Source: Lidl

Lidl launches initiative to diversify and increase food donations

Budget retailer Lidl has launched its ‘Good to Give’ trust mark, an initiative that is aiming to diversify and increase food donations in the UK.

The signage across all Lidl GB stores will highlight “long-life” products that offer greater nutritional benefits, and which can be then donated at food donation points in the stores.

Lidl says this move comes in response to the cost of living crisis, citing Neighbourly data showing nine in 10 charities believe it “will have a significant impact on their organisation and the communities that they serve”.

The symbol will feature on 30 products, including tinned fruit, lentils and brown rice. Lidl worked with Neighbourly, the giving platform and charity tool, to develop the initiative.

“At Lidl, we’re committed to making good food accessible to everyone and now, more than ever, it’s important that we stay true to this. We’ve been listening to feedback from our charity partners on how we can best support them at this time,” says Lidl GB CEO Ryan McDonnell.

“Through these conversations it became clear we can play a leading role in helping those relying on food banks to maintain a more nutritious, balanced diet by encouraging our customers to donate a little differently.”

UKTV names BBC Studios’ Penny Brough CMO

UKTV has a new CMO, as Penny Brough takes on the role to lead the broadcaster’s marcoms division.

Brough will oversee its seven brands: Dave, Gold, Drama, W, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday, as well as streaming service UKTV Play, where she will be responsible for growing viewership and reputation.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining UKTV. I cannot wait to work with the talented team, to continue to grow the fantastic brands and be part of shaping the next phase of UKTV’s digital journey,” she says.

She joins UKTV from BBC Studios, where she has worked as senior vice president of marketing and audiences since June 2021, responsible for marketing and B2B customer engagement.

Before taking up her role at BBC Studios, Brough spent eight years at ViacomCBS, now Paramount, initially as vice-president, director of marketing for Comedy Central, before taking on MTV UK and the international remit across 149 markets for Comedy Central and Paramount Network.

She was made CMO for ViacomCBS in 2020. Before joining the media and entertainment conglomerate, Brough worked agency side with clients like Nokia, Honda and Kraft Cadbury before her first client side role as head of consumer communications at Vodafone UK.

“Penny’s expert marketing credentials combined with her vision, passion, creative flair and personal values make her the perfect fit for UKTV,” says CEO of UKTV and president of BBC Studios UK & Ireland Marcus Arthur.

“I’m also looking forward to her joining UKTV’s Executive Leadership Team where I know she will make a strong contribution to shaping the growth strategy for the business,” he adds.

She replaces former CMO Simon Michaelides who joins cruise and tour operator Riviera Travel in August as its first chief customer officer.

Majority of consumers wouldn’t switch to a cheaper brand if unaligned on values

More than three-quarters (78%) of consumers would not switch to a cheaper brand if its company values were not aligned with their own, according to new research from Retail Economics and Squire Patton Boogs.

As the cost of living crisis continues, the data also highlights that 7 million households in the UK – almost a quarter of consumers – plan to buy second-hand or shop on resale sites “more often” in response to rising costs.

And around one in three shoppers are “consciously” looking to switch to cheaper brands or retailers, with one in four planning on researching and using price comparison tools before committing to a purchase.

Gen Z – those born 1997 and 2012 – are the most concerned when it comes to the ethics and sustainability factor of brands, more than other age groups at more than two-thirds, according to the research.

The research also highlights that more than two thirds of consumers plan on spending less on non-essentials and services this year, and more than a quarter (29%) plan to stop purchasing holidays, furniture and electrical goods altogether.

For the “least affluent”, the figure rises to 90% cutting back on non-essential spending, compared with 49% of the “most affluent”.

Poundland owner says UK consumers are suffering most in cost of living crisis

Source: Shutterstock

Pepco Group, which owns Poundland alongside European discount brands Pepco and Dealz, warns that UK shoppers appear to be suffering most amid rising costs and inflation.

The company says that while “inflationary pressure” is higher in its Central and Eastern European markets, wage growth there is offsetting the impact on sales in the short term, in comparison to the UK, reports Reuters.

It adds that in Western European markets, inflation and stagnant wage growth has resulted in “absolute lower spending”.

“Specifically in the UK, the cost of living crisis has impacted customers’ disposable income as they scale back even on essential purchases in the short term,” Pepco says.

However, the company says Poundland in the UK is trading ahead of its pre-pandemic levers. “We’re a value retailer, this is our time, this is when we can really drive our agenda,” Pepco Group interim CFO Mat Ankers says.

Ankers adds that the group invested £29m (€35m) to protect prices in its first half to 31 March, which it says dented its gross margin.

The company reports a 7.3% rise in first-half core earnings, with revenue rising 18.9% to £2bn and like-for-like sales up 5.3%.

READ MORE: Poundland owner sees UK shoppers cutting back on essentials

Michael Owen forced to delete tweet claiming his NFTs couldn’t lose value

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) contacted the former England footballer Michael Owen to delete a tweet about his non-fungible token (NFT) project, which aimed to tell the story of his football career.

The tweet claimed that “despite the critics,” Owen’s NFTs would be “the first ever that can’t lose their initial value”.

The ASA contacted Owen to remove the tweet after concerns were raised that it could mislead customers, according to the BBC.

At the same time, the ASA is currently carrying out a review of the issues around NFT advertising.

Owen’s tweet controversy comes as former England footballer John Terry released an NFT range in February this year, before dropping value by 90% in March.

Speaking on The Sports Desk Podcast, a cofounder of the NFT company that partnered with Owen, Oceidon, Andy Green said that NFT’s losing money “can happen”.

READ MORE: Michael Owen: NFT tweet deleted after Advertising Standards Authority contact

Thursday, 9 June


IPA warns of ‘inevitable’ rise in agency fees

The IPA, the trade body representing agencies and individuals in advertising, has today warned advertisers that agencies will be forced to increase their prices as inflation takes its toll.

On top of rising inflation, agencies are also struggling with the fallout from Brexit and the pandemic, as well as the sector-wide skills shortage, energy costs, wage pressures, and increasing recruitment fees. This is creating cost increases “they can no longer be expected to absorb”, according to IPA director general Paul Bainsfair.

“After years of responding to the procurement demands of clients there is little or no room to respond with cost reductions, therefore, fees will have to increase,” Bainsfair says.

“This is something that clients – facing enormous pressures themselves and in the main having to ensure that selling prices are moving in response – may not welcome but will certainly understand.”

The IPA is advising advertisers to keep the value agencies provide “front of mind”, as evidence shows those companies which invest in advertising during a downturn fare best in the long term.

The trade body also suggests both advertisers and agencies sign up to the Pitch Positive Pledge, a joint initiative with ISBA which aims to improve the behaviours of agencies and advertisers around pitching for the benefit of their people, the planet and profit.

“No agency would take the decision to raise their fees lightly. But with inflation levels at their highest level in 40 years – rising by 9% in the 12 months to April 2022 and potentially hitting 10% in the last three months of this year, such decisions are, unfortunately, inevitable,” Bainsfair concludes.

Amazon brings luxury fashion stores to Europe

Amazon has launched its Luxury Stores at Amazon concept in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, allowing shoppers to add high-end fashion to their shopping baskets.

The venture first launched in the US in September 2020 in collaboration with designer Oscar de la Renta. As it launches in Europe, nine labels including Christopher Kane, Dundas, Elie Saab and Altuzarra will be available, with more to be added.

The microsite features videos and images of models including Precious Lee and Kristen McMenamy posing in a European villa.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dundas’s chief marketing officer Akiko Takashima says the Norwegian designer has seen sales grow up to 30% of its direct-to-consumer business.

“Amazon has shown that convenience is the new luxury,” she says. “We used to look at Amazon as a marketplace for household goods. But now, with its strong returns policy, there is a new confidence around buying big-ticket items there.”

READ MORE: Amazon’s online luxury fashion stores open in Europe after US success

John Lewis pushes ahead with homebuilding plans in South East

John LewisThe John Lewis Partnership is moving forward with plans to build 10,000 rental homes on John Lewis and Waitrose sites over the next few years, as the business looks to diversify its revenue streams amid its high street struggles.

According to reports, the business initially plans to target commuter towns and suburban locations in the South East of England. It plans to build homes over supermarkets in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London, and to replace an empty John Lewis warehouse in Reading. Local residents will be invited to a public consultation to discuss the move.

The properties are expected to have access to a dedicated John Lewis rental service, and some may feature Little Waitrose convenience stores.

The company has previously claimed the initiative will play into its social purpose values by helping to address Britain’s housing shortage.

However, according to mortgage lender Halifax, the housing market is showing signs of cooling as households face the financial squeeze of inflation.

In March, The John Lewis Partnership declared its five-year business turnaround strategy “on track”, as it successfully cut its pre-tax losses from £517m to £26m within its first year.

READ MORE: John Lewis targets South East suburbia in homebuilding push

Ad Association unveils next three action points for All In

All In, the action plan from the Advertising Association (AA), IPA and ISBA towards building an inclusive industry, is focusing on mental health, LGBTQ+ and physical disability in its three new action points.

The action plan now has nine steps shaped by data from the first All In Census, in which 16,000 advertising professionals took part. Those action points already cover improving the experience and representation of women, black and Asian talent, disabled talent, working class talent and older talent.

The latest three steps have been developed by the AA’s Inclusion Working Group, industry wellbeing charity NABS and industry LGBTQ+ inclusion organisation Outvertising.

They ask companies to support the mental health of their staff by donating and signposting to NABS, to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ talent by welcoming the use of gender pronouns, and to improve the experience of disabled talent in the workplace by using the BDF accessible premises checklist. The AA will continue to provide guidance with a series of free sessions.

The new steps come ahead of revealing the first All In champions next week, companies which can evidence that they have adopted the first six action points on the plan.

“The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of supporting our industry’s wellbeing and services such as NABS, which cannot continue their vital work without everyone’s help,” says chair of the inclusion working group and CEO of Pearl & Dean, Kathryn Jacob.

“As we announce the next three All In Actions, every company has a dedicated roadmap to change at their fingertips.”

The All In Census, the industry’s first inclusion survey, will be repeated in March 2023 and then every two years to track progress.

Three to raise pay-as-you-go prices by up to 250%

Mobile network Three is making further significant price increases for its pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers, with call costs to jump by 250%.

From 12 July, calls will rise from 10p to 35p a minute, while the cost of a text will jump 50% to 15p and data will double to 10p per MB. These increases affect only traditional PAYG customers who buy credit, rather than those who buy data packs which come with unlimited minutes and text.

Combined with Three’s last price rise less than 18 months ago, the network’s call costs have increased tenfold. Prior to February 2021, calls cost just 3p a minute.

While Three has not revealed how many of its 1.6 million PAYG customers will be affected, a recent Ofcom report shows 14% of Britons use a pre-pay mobile. That rises to 23% among 65- to 74-year-olds and 34% among over-75s. Pre-pay phones are also more common in lower income households, at 22% of the DE socioeconomic groups.

Three says: “Like many mobile providers, we have to review and revise our pricing. Our new rates still remain competitive across the market.”

The company adds: “We continue to focus on improving customer experience and deliver better value on our new PAYG services, giving customers access to more competitive deals and 5G at no extra cost.”

READ MORE: Three pay-as-you-go prices to rise by up to 250% for thousands of users

Allianz reframes perceptions of insurance with new brand platform

Insurance and asset management company Allianz has launched a new global brand platform, with the aim of reframing insurance from preparing for the worst as preparing for the best.

Developed with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, ‘Prepared for Life’ launches with a 90-second film ‘The Fountain of Life’, which focuses on various water-based activities.

A different Allianz employee does the voice over of the ad for each of the firm’s 70 markets, stating: “Once you’re prepared with insurance, you’re ready to jump into everything life has to offer.”

An additional three 60-second films will also role out over June, featuring a professional swimmer, marine biologist and tattooist sharing their experiences with the ocean and swimming. The full campaign will run across TV, online, print and digital out-of-home.

“We believe a strong foundation allows our customers to experience life at its best,” says head of global brand and marketing Christian Deuringer.

“Through this new platform we bring to life our brand promise to give people confidence in tomorrow, which reflects in the work we do not only as a brand, but as a global organisation that brings insurance and asset management to millions of people.”

Wednesday, 8 June


ASA bans Tesco plant-based ad, while Sainsbury’s campaign ruled safe

An advert for Tesco’s Plant Chef range has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for failing to provide evidence a plant-based burger could make a positive environmental difference to the planet.

The TV and video-on-demand advert, which ran from October to November 2021, suggested switching from meat to a Plant Chef burger would be a “little swap” that could “make a difference to the planet.” The campaign’s press and radio ads, as well as a tweet, stated Tesco’s plant-based burgers were “even better for the planet”. Complainants questioned whether such claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

The supermarket argued these were not meant to be “absolute environmental claims”, as no assertions were made the products were “wholly sustainable or good for the planet.” Rather, the messaging focused on “swapping” meat products for plant-based, which in itself would be “better for the planet.”

However, as the ads implied switching to products in the Plant Chef range would positively affect the environment, the ASA expected to see evidence based on a full lifecycle assessment in comparison with a meat burger.

Given the regulator did not see evidence proving the Plant Chef products could make a positive environmental difference compared to meat equivalents, the regulator concluded the claims “had not been substantiated and were likely to mislead.”

The ASA warned Tesco to ensure in future it did not make environmental claims about its products unless it held “sufficient evidence” to substantiate the claims.

By contrast, the regulator chose not to uphold a complaint against rival Sainsbury’s for a TV and radio campaign from October encouraging consumers to switch half of the meat in their curries for chickpeas and lentils.

Complainants argued importing chickpeas, lentils and beans from abroad would have a greater environmental impact than domestically produced meat, challenging whether claims such meals are “better for the planet” and would “help the planet” were misleading and could be substantiated.

Arguing this was part of a wider campaign intended to help consumers make healthier choices, Sainsbury’s noted it had linked to research data on its website addressing the whole lifecycle of different foods, including transportation.

While the ASA acknowledged the chickpeas, beans and lentils featured in the ad would likely have been imported into the UK, the regulator did not believe the ad was comparing domestically produced meat with imported legumes. Furthermore, the ASA noted the ads weren’t promoting any particular range, instead showing ingredients that could be purchased at many retailers.

Given the ads were understood to be promoting the general benefits of reducing meat protein in favour of plant protein, the regulator concluded the claims “better for the planet” and “help the planet” were not misleading.

TikTok UK office hit with claims of ‘toxic’ culture

TikTokTikTok has been hit by claims its UK office has an “aggressive corporate culture” that is forcing staff, specifically in its ecommerce division, to leave.

The investigation by the Financial Times centres on the TikTok Shop team, the ecommerce arm of the social media giant launched in the UK in October. The UK is the first market outside Asia to launch TikTok Shop, a feature which enables brands and influencers to sell products live via the app.

According to the Financial Times, at least 20 members of the TikTok Shop team have left since the ecommerce division launched in London – equivalent to half of all staff – including two employees who allegedly have been paid settlements regarding their working conditions.

It is reported that TikTok’s European head of ecommerce, Joshua Ma, told staff he “didn’t believe” businesses should offer maternity leave. The social media giant has since launched a formal investigation into Ma’s comments and reiterated its policy of 30 weeks paid maternity leave in the UK.

The Financial Times also reports staff in the ecommerce team are “frequently” expected to work more than 12 hours a day to accommodate early calls with HQ in China and then feed back immediately after livestreams taking place in the evening UK time.

Furthermore, according to the report images of staff working into the early hours of the morning have been shared in internal communications as examples of “commitment”, while an employee explaining in a handover document that they worked during their holidays was deemed “good practice”.

Former staff also allege employees in the ecommerce division are being set “unrealistic targets” for sales generated by livestreams, with those failing to meet targets or respond to requests out of hours being reprimanded on TikTok’s internal messaging system. There are further claims staff were demoted or removed from accounts after taking sick leave.

One former London-based employee told the Financial Times the company culture is “toxic” and relationships are “built on fear”, adding: “They don’t care about burnout because it is such a big company, they can just replace you. They coast on the TikTok brand.”

READ MORE: TikTok Shop’s troubled UK expansion: staff exodus and culture clash

Cazoo preps switch from brand to performance in bid to ‘realign’ business

Cazoo Metro WrapCazoo has decided to “lower” its brand marketing spend to focus on performance channels, as the online car retailer embarks on a “business realignment” programme.

On a mission to “de-risk the path to profitability”, Cazoo intends to cut around 15% of its employees – equivalent to 750 jobs across the company – and slow the pace of new hiring. The plan also includes “modifying” the consumer proposition to drive costs down and improve operating efficiencies, as well as limiting the company’s capital expenditure and delaying several planned investment projects.

Cazoo is seeking “procurement efficiencies” across the supply chain, amid plans to slow near-term growth aspirations in both the UK and EU to focus on “profitable growth”. This means the business is axing its subscription service for new customers from the end of June, given the “highly cash consumptive nature of this business model”.

The goal is to “right-size” the business and deliver more than £200m in savings during the next 18 months.

Despite having sold more than 70,000 cars over the past two and a half years and generated revenues in excess of £665m in 2021, Cazoo says the “rapid shift” in the global economy and possibility of a recession mean it is “now more cautious” about expectations for the full year.

Founder and CEO Alex Chesterman identifies rising inflation and interest rates, combined with supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, as having driven up the cost of living and impacted consumer confidence.

“This perfect storm has placed cash conservation top of mind for the company, ahead of growth,” he states.

“We have proven that we can buy and sell cars at scale and deliver a market-leading customer experience, but in the current climate we are focused on improving our unit economics which involves making some tough but necessary decisions around our priorities.”

TV ad costs to rise 13% amid soaring media inflation

The average global cost of TV advertising across all audiences is expected to rise by 11% – 13% in 2022, as media inflation takes its toll.

The latest Zenith Advertising Expenditure Forecast finds sustained growth in demand from advertisers is pushing up media inflation, particularly in television, where the supply of audiences is falling steadily as viewers switch to alternatives.

Online video prices are expected to increase by around 7%, despite the supply of audiences rising. Other digital channels where supply is climbing and volumes are flexible will experience modest inflation, with 3% average price rises forecast for social media and other digital display. Out-of-home and radio prices are set to rise by 4% this year, while print prices will remain stable given falling demand.

According to Zenith, brands which choose to buy broad audiences to achieve reach will not be able to avoid having to spend more to attract the same audiences. However, companies which use first-party data to identify their most profitable customers – and combine this insight with third-party data – will be able to mitigate “much of the effect” of media inflation.

In 2022, Zenith predicts 62% of ad budgets will be spent on digital media, up from 59% in 2021. This proportion is expected to reach 65% in 2024.

“In a world where trading is becoming dominated by auctions, competitive advantage is achieved not by scale, but by data,” says global chief strategy officer Ben Lukawski.

“Inflation will hit cheap reach buyers hard, but brands that make smart use of their data will manage costs and grow their business at the same time.”

Global advertising expenditure is forecast to grow 8% in 2022, a minor downgrade from the 9.1% growth rate Zenith published in December 2021. This figure will be supported by the World Cup taking place in the run up to Christmas, the most advertising-intensive period of the year.

With global ad spend forecast to hit $781bn (£623bn) this year, the US will account for 57% of all money added to the ad market in 2022. China follows at 9.1%, then Japan (6.2%) and the UK (5.8%).

Online video is set to overtake social media as the fastest-growing channel, up 15.4% a year on average between 2021 and 2024. This growth will be driven by the rapid development of connected TV, ad-funded video-on-demand, streaming and other video formats.

Social media ad spend, including video ads in social media feeds, is forecast to grow at an average rate of 15.1% a year between 2021 and 2024.

JD Sports accused of price fixing

JD Sports is accused of colluding with Scottish football club Rangers FC and retailer Elite Sports to fix the retail prices of replica kits and clothing.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Rangers FC became “concerned” at the start of the 2018/19 football season that JD Sports was selling its adult replica top at a lower price than Elite, which was seen at the time as the club’s ‘retail partner’.

The CMA alleges this resulted in an “understanding” between the three parties that JD Sports would increase the retail price of the Rangers adult short-sleeved home replica shirt by nearly 10%, from £55 to £60, to bring it in line with the prices being charged by Elite on Gers Online.

At the time Elite was the manufacturer of Rangers-branded clothing and sold products directly through the Gers Online Store, as well as bricks-and-mortar shops in Glasgow and Belfast. The only UK-wide major retailer selling those products from September 2018 to July 2019 was JD Sports.

The CMA is also concerned Elite and JD Sports – without involvement from Rangers – colluded to fix the retail prices of Rangers-branded clothing, including training wear and replica kit, over a “longer period.” It is alleged the retailers aligned the level and timing of discounts towards the end of the football season in 2019, to avoid “competition and protect their profit margins at the expense of fans.”

Elite and JD Sports applied for leniency during the investigation and are said to have confessed to “cartel activity.”

“Football fans are well-known for their loyalty towards their teams,” notes executive director of enforcement at the CMA, Michael Grenfell.

“We are concerned that, in this case, Elite, JD Sports and, to some extent, Rangers, may have colluded to keep prices high, so that the two retailers could pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans.”

Tuesday 7 June


Musk threatens to ‘terminate’ Twitter deal

Elon Musk has threatened to scrap his $44bn (£35bn) deal to buy Twitter, accusing the company of committing a “material breach” of the agreement.

The billionaires lawyers have written to Twitter accusing it of refusing to provide sufficient data about the number of fake users on the platform, a dispute which has been bubbling away for a number of weeks.

The letter suggested Twitter had been “actively resisting and thwarting” Musk’s rights to access information and data about the company, which he first requested on 9 May. While information was provided on 1 June this was deemed insufficient.

It also described Twitters methods for testing fake accounts as “lax” and said Musk would therefore need data from the company in order to carry out his own analysis.

“Twitter’s latest offer to simply provide additional details regarding the company’s own testing methodologies, whether through written materials or verbal explanations, is tantamount to refusing Mr Musk’s data requests,” the letter from Musk’s law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom stated.

His legal team has suggested that failure to provide this information puts Twitter in breach of the agreement and leaves the door open for Musk to walk away from the deal and “terminate” it.

“This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” the letter said.

READ MORE: Elon Musk threatens to scrap $44bn Twitter deal over ‘material breach’

Apple launches ‘buy now, pay later’ rival to Klarna

Apple has launched a ‘buy now, pay later’ feature, which sees it compete with fintech brands like Klarna and ClearPay.

Apple Pay Later allows users to split the cost of a purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks, with no interest or additional fees.

The function, which is built into Apple Wallet, was unveiled by the tech giant last night alongside a host of other new features.

The brand says it is designed with “users’ financial health in mind”, and will make it easier for people to view and track payments.

Apple Pay Later will be available everywhere Apple Pay is accepted online and offline using the Mastercard network and will first be rolled out in the US.

Elsewhere, Apple unveiled other new features including the ability to edit messages after they have been sent and a new lock screen.

Absolut preps biggest global campaign in a decade

Absolut is preparing to launch its biggest global campaign in more than a decade, as it kicks-off a new long-term marketing push.

Through the campaign – ‘The World of Absolut Cocktails. Born to Mix’ – the brand wants to inspire people of all backgrounds to come together and share ideas over the many cocktails it is promoting.

The brand’s top marketer says the ad, which is narrated by Oscar winning actor Rami Malek, brings its values to life through “the personification of cocktails”.

“We believe that when diverse people come together, incredible things can happen. This thirst for mixing – that is how we see things on a human and societal level, and it’s a direct extension of the versatility of our product,” says Charl Bassil, global vice-president of marketing for Absolut at The Absolut Company.

The global campaign kicks off in the US and Canada before being rolled out to other markets including the UK later this year and in early 2023.

“Absolut has always been a brand that believes in mixing people, ideas and drinks as a proponent for a world that is more open, free and fun. The World of Absolut Cocktails campaign embodies that legacy, ushering in a new creative territory for the brand that puts our most iconic and popular cocktails at the centre of the campaign,” says Pam Forbus, senior vice-president and CMO at the brand’s owner Pernod Ricard in North America.

Diageo extends menopause support for employees

Diageo is bolstering its menopause support for employees by providing all staff with access to the Balance+ menopause app.

The app features medically-approved content and is designed to help women understand their symptoms so they can go to the doctor for treatment armed with the right knowledge.

The roll out of the app follows the introduction of Diageo’s Thriving Through Menopause Guidelines launched last year, which is now live in 40 countries. It is part of the drinks giant’s commitment to creating an inclusive place to work and raise awareness and understanding of subjects like menopause in order to attract, retain and support staff.

As part of this drive and to support the launch of the app, Diageo has trained more than 40 female and male staff around the world to be menopause advocates. Over the coming months they will work with their teams to increase knowledge and raise awareness.

“Since we launched our Thriving Through Menopause guidelines last year, we’ve been working to encourage all employees to better understand how menopause can impact women at work and home,” says Caroline Rhodes, global inclusion and diversity director at Diageo.

“Today’s roll out of the balance+ app across Diageo goes beyond raising awareness. It will equip employees with leading medical advice, support and diagnosis, while helping us create a more inclusive and supportive environment for our people.”

Flight Centre unveils first TV campaign to mark 40th year

Flight Centre UK is launching its first TV campaign as it looks capitalise on the “huge bounce-back” of international travel as we emerge from the pandemic.

‘Your Centre’ focuses on the fact the travel firm offers more than simply flights, highlighting its position as an independent travel agency that provides hotels, tours and car hire options as well as flights.

The campaign by The Kite Factory, which also marks the firm’s 40th anniversary, spans TV, broadcaster video on demand, social media and display.

Yvonne Hobden, head of marketing for leisure at Flight Centre UK says: “The ‘Your Centre’ campaign places our team’s expertise at the heart of our messaging, conveying our dedication to booking every type of holiday in the complex, post-Covid landscape, tailored to our customers’ needs. We are supporting this with the core message ‘Your Travel, Made Easy Centre’ to bring out the many ways our people make planning travel easy.”

To mark its 40th birthday, Flight Centre is also launching a competition to give away more than £200,000 worth of holidays.

Monday, 6 June

Aldi brings back Cuthbert the Caterpillar to stores

Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar, a cake which saw the supermarket enter a legal battle with M&S over lookalike Colin, will return to stores today.

Last year, M&S took legal action against the budget retailer to “protect” its Colin the Caterpillar cake, from what it said was a copycat rival in Cuthbert. The cake at budget supermarket Aldi was also £2 cheaper than M&S’s Colin.

Aldi launched a Twitter campaign to ‘Free Cuthbert’, which set out to win over the public and saw it win the 2021 Marketing Week Award for Social Media.

The battle was settled in the High Court this year. The details were not revealed but both retailers claimed to be pleased with the outcome.

At the time M&S said: “The objective of the claim was to protect the [intellectual property] in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

Aldi also expressed pleasure with the outcome stating: “Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans again very soon.”

The cake returns today with slight changes to its chocolate face design. Aldi has welcomed the cake back in a cheeky manner, with pictures of vans parked outside M&S stores welcoming Cuthbert back. The posters on the vans bear messages, such as “Aisle be back” and “Made by bakers. Approved by lawyers”.

Cuthbert is now £3 cheaper than his M&S rival, as the price of Colin has been pushed up to £8.

READ MORE: Cuthbert the Caterpillar returns to Aldi – and he’s trolling M&S’ Colin

Marriott to pull out of Russia

The Marriott hotel chain is to pull out of Russia completely, as it says sanctions on the country have made it “impossible” to continue operations there.

It has been in the country for more than 25 years. The hotel chain had closed its Russian office and paused investment in the country in March following the invasion of Ukraine. However, it kept open its 22 third-party owned hotels, citing “complexities” in shuttering them.

“We have come to the view that newly announced US, UK and EU restrictions will make it impossible for Marriott to continue to operate or franchise hotels in the Russian market,” it says, as it makes the decision to close its hotels in the country.

Marriott says it remains “focused on taking care of our Russian-based associates” and has been supporting individuals in Ukraine and Russia to secure employment with the business in other countries.

It adds that 85 of its hotels globally are now accommodating Ukraine refugees.

The war in Ukraine is now into its fourth month. In recent weeks other global brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s have exited Russia as sanctions on the country tighten, and the humanitarian situation in Ukraine worsens.

READ MORE: Ukraine war: Marriott hotel chain to leave Russia after 25 years

KitKat launches AI-powered staring contest

KitKat has launched the latest iteration of its famous ‘Have a break’ brand positioning, by encouraging social media users to have a ‘Blink Break’.

The Blink Break is an online staring contest, which uses AI to recognise a face and detect blinking, allowing consumers to go head-to-head, and have a break from scrolling through social media newsfeeds.

The posts have debuted across KitKat’s Instagram channels, and will coincide with the so-called ‘mid afternoon slump’, when the brand says consumers are most in need of a distraction.

The Nestlé-owned brand has partnered with agency Wunderman Thompson to bring the game to life. It sees participants face off against progressively more absurd animals the further through the game they get, from a lemur to a snowy owl. Those who play are also encouraged to face off against each other, and share their progress using #blinkchallenge.

KitKat’s global strategic marketing and communications lead, Wael Jabi says the brand is building on its famous platform with this digital innovation.

“KitKat has famously encouraged people to have a break since 1957, and this campaign shows a whole generation of digital natives the benefits of taking a break in one of the most relevant contexts for them,” he says.

McCain appoints drag queen Baga Chipz as creative director

McCain Foods has appointed RuPaul’s Drag Race star Baga Chipz as its new creative director. The frozen potato brand says that the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Chips’ encapsulates its ‘Anything Goes’ mantra.

Since her appointment was announced on Thursday, Baga has taken to social media to show fans how to get creative with their midweek meals on her Instagram page.

“Everybody knows that chips are the star of any plate. Just like me, they’re completely gorgeous and always the centre of attention, so don’t be afraid to get creative with them,” says Baga Chipz.

McCain is not the first brand to hire a celebrity creative director, last year fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing appointed influencer and Love Island star, Molly-Mae Hague as its creative director. In its announcement McCain declares, ‘move over Molly Mae, there’s a new creative director in town’.

“We’re delighted to finally be able to unveil Baga as our first ever Creative Director – her iconic and fearless attitude perfectly encapsulates our ‘Anything Goes’ philosophy,” says McCain marketing director, Mark Hodge.

“With Baga’s support, we really want to highlight that any meal can be exciting when you invite McCain onto the plate – through our new series of social videos.”



    Leave a comment