Ex-Brewdog staff accuse brand of ‘lies, hypocrisy and deceit’
Former employees of craft beer company BrewDog have published an open letter accusing the business of creating an internal “culture of fear” and spreading lies to generate positive PR.
Signatories claim a “toxic attitude” towards junior employees in particular, adding that a “significant number” of former staff had suffered mental illness as a direct result of working at the company.
“Put bluntly, the single biggest shared experience of former staff is a residual feeling of fear,” the letter reads. “Fear to speak out about the atmosphere we were immersed in, and fear of repercussions even after we have left.”
The former staff claim that the brand is built on a “cult of personality” – focused especially on founder James Watt – and accused the business of seeking to “exploit publicity” in order to drive its rapid growth.
“Growth, at all costs, has always been perceived as the number one focus for the company, and the fuel you have used to achieve it is controversy,” the letter said, accusing the business of using “lies, hypocrisy and deceit” as tools to drive awareness.
Specifically, the former staff accused Brewdog of lying about sending anti-homophobia protest beer to Russia and about Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie changing their names to ‘Elvis’ to celebrate a new product flavour.
A story in which Brewdog awarded a staff member Employee of the Month for printing “Mother F***** Day” on the bottom of cans was also just a stunt, the letter alleged, with the incident planned and not actually an internal act of “punk” behaviour.
It goes on to accuse Brewdog of “vanity projects” that undermine the brand’s sustainability claims. Brewdog courted controversy with a billboard ad last year reading “F*ck You CO2”.
Over 60 former staff signed the open letter, calling themselves “Punks with Purpose” on Twitter in a nod to the brand’s flagship Punk IPA beer. A further 45 “and counting” agreed with the allegations raised but “did not feel safe” signing, it stated.
In response, Watt said he was “sorry” and would “listen, learn and act” on the accusations instead of trying to contradict or contest them.
“From our commitment to sustainability to our passion for beer, Brewdog has always been defined by taking responsibility and continually improving. This is no exception,” he said.
John Lewis introduces equal parental leave for all staff
The John Lewis Partnership has become the first UK retailer to offer six months’ paid parental leave for all parents, alongside two weeks’ paid leave for any staff who experience pregnancy loss.
The 80,000 strong workforce across John Lewis and Waitrose will all be offered 14 weeks parental leave at full pay and 12 weeks at 50% pay once they have worked for the business for a year, regardless of how they are becoming a parent.
As part of a wider package of support for employees, who jointly co-own the business, the Partnership is also launching a pilot programme to provide career help for young people leaving the care system. Additionally, all jobs will be advertised with a flexible working option where possible.
“As an employee-owned business, equality matters to us,” says chairman Sharon White. “We want to be there for our Partners to support them in important life moments, whether that’s stepping into the world of work for the first time, or becoming a parent.”
While the John Lewis Partnership is the first major retailer to equalise parental leave and offer leave for pregnancy loss, a number of other British businesses have already taken the plunge, including Monzo, Channel 4, LADbible and Aviva.
‘Russian Lidl’ to open 300 UK stores over next 10 years
Mere, the discount supermarket dubbed the ‘Russian Lidl’, plans to open more than 300 stores in the UK over the next eight to ten years, The Grocer has reported.
The discounter has already confirmed plans to open four UK stores this year, with the first expected to open in Preston in mid-July. A further three are to open in Wales and the north of England.
While German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl currently reign supreme as the cheapest supermarkets in the UK, Mere claims to be able to undercut their pricing by 20-30% due to its no-frills model.
The stores are organised like warehouses, with images of existing sites showing items displayed on palettes. Suppliers deliver straight to the shops themselves.
Each UK store will be around 10,000 sq ft and will sell around 1,200 items, with just eight staff members. The supermarket sells fresh, chilled and frozen food in its European shops.
Mere has 3,200 stores internationally and opened its first European store in 2018. The retailer trades as Svetofor in Russia, where it was founded.
Deliveroo to train delivery staff as crime busters
Food delivery service Deliveroo is partnering with Neighbourhood Watch in the UK, offering its couriers police-verified training to help keep communities “safe”.
The optional training will teach Deliveroo riders to spot the signs of street harassment, domestic abuse, human trafficking, and drug dealing. It will also explain how to handle confrontation and what to do as a bystander.
Will Shu, CEO and founder of Deliveroo, says the delivery service wants to use its platform “for good” in the communities in which it operates.
“We don’t just want to be seen in our communities; we want to be part of them and play a role in keeping them safe. That is why we have partnered with Neighbourhood Watch to help riders keep people safe, with a particular focus on female safety,” he says.
Deliveroo’s previous efforts to become a force for good have included teaming up with road safety app Busby and partnering with children’s charity NSPCC to train riders to spot and report signs of child abuse.
The partnership with Neighbourhood Watch also hopes to raise awareness of the organisation, with Deliveroo riders promoting the partnership on their delivery bags after they have completed the training.
Earlier this year Deliveroo underwent a disastrous IPO, with almost £2bn wiped off its £7.6bn market valuation on its first day of trading. Major investors were reportedly put off the business due to its reliance on gig economy workers and poor employment standards.
Unilever trials paper-based laundry detergent bottle
FMCG giant Unilever has used new technology to develop the world’s first paper-based laundry detergent bottle.
A prototype has been developed for laundry brand Persil (known in other markets as OMO, Skip or Breeze) and is set to debut in Brazil early next year, with an ambition to roll-out in Europe and other countries soon after.
The technology has been developed in partnership with the Pulpex consortium, a collaboration between Unilever, Diageo, PepsiCo and other brands. The paper-based bottles will be made of sustainably sourced pulp and are designed to be recycled alongside paper waste.
Unilever is piloting the same technology to create paper-based hair care bottles.
The brand’s chief research and development officer, Richard Slater, says changes in the way products are designed and packaged for the sake of the environment can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration.
“To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products,” he says. “Pulpex paper-based bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products.”
Slater adds that innovating with alternative materials is a “key” part of Unilever’s sustainable packaging strategy and will play an important role in its commitment to halve its use of virgin plastic materials by 2025.
Thursday, 10 June
G7 politicians urged to walk the walk in Allbirds action
World leaders arriving at the G7 Summit in Cornwall have been greeted by giant footprints on the beach opposite the venue in Carbis Way, reports Wales Online.
Created by sustainable footwear brand Allbirds, the footprints come with a message urging politicians to ‘walk the walk’ on environmental promises and sustainability. Climate change is top of the agenda at the international conference.
On a global average people are each responsible for around 4.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, but for G7 residents that nearly doubles to 9.2 tonnes.
“Nobody is perfect – including us – but we need to see the leaders of the G7 use their global leadership position to drive down their carbon footprints today, leading the way in the climate crisis,” says Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger.
UK refreshes brand marketing campaign
The UK Government has launched a refreshed version of its GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland brand marketing campaign.
The initiative was developed in conjunction with UK businesses, not-for-profit groups and high-profile figures to promote the country abroad. It seeks to drive UK exports – from food and drink to music and film – and claims to have brought it £4.5bn of trade since its launch in 2011.
The launch of the campaign, created by Interbrand, has been timed to coincide with the latest G7 summit is hosted in Cornwall. It will reach people in 145 countries.
“The GREAT campaign has delivered fantastic results for the UK over the past decade driving tourists, international students, trade and investment. However the brand, like the UK, has evolved over time and the refreshed campaign speaks for a global Britain of the 2010s,” says GREAT Britain director Dan Ramsay.
“We’re calling on British brands to join us in championing the UK’s fresh perspective around the world. The refreshed GREAT campaign sends out an invitation to the world to join us, to collaborate and work together to tackle our shared global challenges.”
Partners of the campaign include large companies such as HSBC, and smaller ones such Caws Cenarth Cheese.
Side hustles and voicemails for Coca-Cola’s Euro 2020 campaign
England football stars are seen launching their ‘side hustle’ businesses in Coca-Cola’s new ads to celebrate the delayed UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. The stars appear on-screen with low budget ads for their businesses as fans attempt to watch games.
England captain and Coca-Cola ambassador Kane presents Harry Kane’s Canes, Marcus Rashford sells marker pens and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a sock brand. Viewers who call the phone numbers featured in the ad-within-an-ad businesses are rewarded with voicemails from the individual players explaining the venture isn’t real.
“At Coca-Cola Great Britain we are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our customers,” says Coca-Cola Great Britain marketing director Louise Maugest.
“We had an opportunity to use our talent to surprise fans at home enjoying UEFA Euro 2020 and give them a chance to hear from some of the biggest stars in the world in a fun way.”
Boots in summer tie-up with Love Island
Boots UK is the official ‘Feel Good’ partner of ITV2’s Love Island. The retailer will supply contestants in the reality show with beauty, grooming and suncare products, from brands including Huda, KVD Beauty, Fenty and MAC.
A supporting campaign – called ‘Find the one(s)’ – will send out the message that Boots has the ideal products for any makeup requirement. The campaign will run across PR, influencer marketing, in-store and social channels, as well as being featured via the retailer’s loyalty scheme, app and website.
The partnership forms part of the new Boots summer ‘Feel Good as New’ campaign which also launches this month.
“Boots is all about celebrating fun, friendships and reunions this summer and we are excited to be Love Island’s ‘Feel Good Partner’,” says Boots CMO Pete Markey.
“Love Island has become synonymous with summer and as the most watched programme for 18- to 34-year-olds, the partnership gives us a unique opportunity to turn the heads of this younger demographic. And with over 50 new beauty launches in the past year, we’re certain they’ll find the one for them.”
WRAP calls on more retailers to redistribute food
Sustainability charity WRAP is encouraging more retailers to join its efforts to redistribute surplus food with the launch of a best practice guide, saying that there is the potential to more than double the amount of own label products that are redistributed.
More than 92,000 tonnes of surplus food, worth £280m and the equivalent of 220 million meals, was redistributed in 2020 according to the group. Redistribution levels have tripled since first measured in the UK in 2015.
Grants totalling £12m have helped the redistribution push, with charitable distribution making up 70% of the effort. Much of the surplus in 2020 was due to Covid-19 restrictions reducing sales, according to WRAP.
“These new statistics show significant progress in redistributing more surplus food to those who need it. This is an amazing trend that I urge everyone to help continue in the future,” says Ben Elliot, Food Waste Champion at Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).
“Defra supported this effort with over £11m of grant aid to redistributors including £3.8m in Emergency Surplus Food Grants, to support redistributors during the Coronavirus response. I encourage all businesses and organisations to work with redistributors and to get more surplus food identified and redistributed.”
“At Asda we are committed to redistributing as much food surplus as possible and are proud to have doubled the volume of food donated directly from our stores and depots during the past year,” says Susan Thomas, senior director of sustainable commercial activities at the retailer.
“To ensure that as little food is wasted as possible, we also want to help make redistribution simple further up the supply chain. The WRAP redistribution best practice guide identifies a consistent approach which will help make redistribution quick and easy for our suppliers.”
Wednesday, 9 June
Mastercard in ‘ground-breaking’ partnership with Women in Rugby
Mastercard has agreed a five-year founding partnership with World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, to promote the development of the Women in Rugby programme, focusing on youth participation and raising the profile of the women’s global competitions and calendar.
The deal will see Mastercard become the first worldwide partner for the Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, and of WXV, the annual international women’s competition due to start in 2023.
The ‘Women in Rugby Team Powered’ marketing campaign aims to inspire more women and girls to participate in and watch the sport, and Mastercard will be exclusive partner of the ‘Youth Unstoppables’, involving digital content championing inspirational females around the world.
With more than 2.7 million women and girls playing the sport around the world, Mastercard CMO and communications officer Raja Rajamannar believes there’s never been a better time for the brand to extend its longstanding commitment to rugby to include the women’s game.
“Fostering connections and giving people the opportunity to grow their passions is what Mastercard stands for,” says Rajamannar.
“We are honoured to support a sport as inclusive as women’s rugby that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. Together with World Rugby, we look forward to creating programs and experiences that get people closer to the game they love.”
Gary Lineker named Vision Express brand ambassador
Former England footballer Gary Lineker has become brand ambassador for optician retailer Vision Express.
The partnership includes the launch of the Lineker Edit, a range of eyewear chosen by the Match of the Day presenter.
The range takes inspiration from various key periods in Lineker’s career, from the 1970s and his beginnings as a professional player with Leicester City, to the 1990s when he found international fame, and the 2000s when he became a television pundit.
“Gary is a much-loved national treasure, with a strong sense of personal style, so this partnership was a perfect match,” says Vision Express marketing director Jane Exon.
Wickes airs first TV bathroom ad in a decade
Home improvement retailer Wickes has produced its first bathroom ad for television in 10 years, showcasing its expanded range.
Created by VCCP, the 20-second slot will be broadcast nationwide, as well as on YouTube, video-on-demand and backed up by paid social.
Part of the brand’s ongoing tongue-in-cheek ‘Housebarrassment’ campaign, the ad features a homeowner who calls on Wickes after his bathroom shelves finally give up on him.
The creative comes on the back of recent Wickes research that found that one in four consumers intend to buy a new bathroom over the next year.
“We are thrilled to be launching a new bathroom TV ad,” says Wickes head of marketing – showroom, Mandy Minichiello.
“We help our customers with the full transformation journey from design all the way through to installation in order to bring your dream bathroom to life.”
ASA bans Hyundai ad
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Hyundai ad that appeared as part of the car brand’s website, for implying that no impurities caused by driving the brand’s Nexo model would remain in the air without any adequate substantiation to prove this was true.
The disputed text read: “Introducing the next generation of fuel cell vehicles: All-New Nexo. A car so beautifully clean, it purifies the air as it goes”.
In its defence, Hyundai said that the Nexo contained a purification system to manage and clean the air supply, and that filtered gases and 99.9% of very fine dust, which was then retained in the car. That meant purified air was expelled from the system.
It added that the text of the ad did not relate to the lack of traditional exhaust gases, but was based on the air purification system on board the vehicle.
However, the ASA believed that the words “A car so beautifully clean, it purifies the air as it goes” would be understood to mean that the car would remove impurities from the air as it was driven and concluded that the ad was misleading.
Skyscanner appoints Clive Peoples as senior vice-president of marketing
The former Ebay and Expedia executive Clive Peoples has joined travel marketplace Skyscanner as senior vice-president of marketing.
Peoples will report to the company’s COO Kris Beyens and has been tasked with leading Skyscanner’s global marketing strategy, driving customer acquisition and bringing together both performance and brand marketing channels.
“After what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years for the travel sector, we’re pleased to have Clive, an established leader in travel and ecommerce marketing, join the Skyscanner family,” says Beyens.
“He brings with him a depth of experience in digital product marketing and is passionate about transforming the traveller experience through a customer-centric vision.”
Peoples had stints at Graze and Virgin Experience Days, before spending 10 years at Expedia, departing as vice-president of customer marketing, mobile and loyalty.
He then went to Ebay, where he led a team of 160 product managers, marketers, data scientists, user experience designers and engineers as head of global customer marketing.
“Having admired and used Skyscanner for many years, I’m delighted to be part of the team helping customers choose how to travel again, in the best possible way for them,” Peoples says.
“I’m looking forward to focusing my time on understanding our current strengths and identifying areas we can supercharge over the next few months to differentiate the brand as travel begins to rebound.”
IPA Media Climate Charter helps reduce carbon impact
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has created a Media Climate Charter that provides agencies with a calculator to measure and reduce the carbon impact of their media plans.
It’s one of a number of tools that have been specifically devised with the aim of assisting agencies in their transition to a zero-carbon future.
The calculator will measure the overall carbon footprint of campaigns that media agencies plan and buy for clients across all channels, identifying where they need to reduce the climate impact of running clients’ campaigns.
It does that by calculating the carbon emissions associated with a media plan, based on the media mix.
The charter also provides additional guidance via reports, research and recommendations for industry initiatives such as AdGreen and #ChangeTheBrief.
“The science is clear,” says IPA president Julian Douglas. “We need to turn fast and hard if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and mitigate the worst effects of global warming.
“Incrementalism is the enemy here too. This requires every single one of us to respond and transition. But we can’t succeed acting alone – we need fully committed industry-wide coalitions that drive the change we need to see.”
Tuesday, 8 June
Google fined €220m for abusing advertising dominance
Google has been fined €220m (£189m) by the French competition authority for giving preferential treatment to its own online advertising services and harming rivals in the sector.
The body found Google’s Ad Manager platform “abused its dominant position in the market for ad servers for website publishers and mobile applications” by favouring the company’s own programmatic ad marketplace, Google AdX.
In response to the judgement, Google said it will improve the interoperability of Google Ad Manager services with “third-party ad servers and advertising space sales platform solutions, and end provisions that favour Google”.
According to legal director for Google France, Maria Gomri, the search engine giant has agreed on a set of commitments to make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use Google’s tools with other ad technologies. The changes to the system are being tested over the coming months, with a view to rolling out – in some cases – globally.
Google plans, for example, to create a solution where all the buyers a publisher works with, including those who participate in header bidding, can receive equal access to data related to outcomes from the Ad Manager auction. There will also be information provided about the “minimum bid to win” from previous auctions.
The search company is promising greater flexibility on its Ad Manager platform, allowing users to set custom pricing rules for ads that are in ‘sensitive categories’. Furthermore, Google says it will not limit Ad Manager publishers from negotiating specific terms or pricing directly with other sell-side platforms (SSP) and will not use data from other SSPs to optimise bids in its exchange in a way rivals can’t reproduce.
“We are always working on improving our ad tech products to help publishers fund their content and businesses, and help advertisers efficiently reach customers,” says Gomri.
“We recognise the role that ad tech plays in supporting access to content and information and we’re committed to working collaboratively with regulators and investing in new products and technologies that give publishers more choice and better results when using our platforms.”
Google has fallen foul of European regulators several times in recent years, including being fined €1.49bn (£1.28bn) by the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers in 2019.
Apple looks to build ‘legacy of privacy leadership’ with suite of new features
Apple has unveiled a suite of privacy features to prevent users being tracked by advertisers, following the introduction last month of App Tracking Transparency tech enabling customers to block apps tracking their online activities.
New Mail Privacy Protection tech in Apple’s Mail app will prevent senders from knowing when a user opens an email, allowing the recipient to mask their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.
Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology will enable the user to hide their IP address from trackers, meaning brands can’t use their IP address as a unique identifier to connect their activity across websites and build a profile about them.
Apple is also introducing the App Privacy Report, with allows users to see how often each app has accessed their location, photos, camera, microphone and contacts during the past seven days. Users can find out with whom their data may have been shared by seeing all the third-party domains an app is contacting.
Furthermore, the new Private Relay feature enables users browsing with Safari to encrypt their data, meaning no one except the user and the website they are visiting can access the data, not even Apple or the network provider.
In addition, Apple has created a Hide My Email feature, which allows users who want to keep their personal email address private to share unique, random email addresses with companies or individuals which then forward directly to their personal inbox.
“Privacy has been central to our work at Apple from the very beginning,” says Apple senior vice-president of software engineering, Craig Federighi.
“Every year, we push ourselves to develop new technology to help users take more control of their data and make informed decisions about whom they share it with. This year’s updates include innovative features that give users deeper insights and more granular control than ever before.”
Domino’s pushes group ordering in multimillion pound campaign
Domino’s is calling on customers to “yodel for pizza” as part of a multi-million pound campaign promoting the launch of the takeaway company’s new group order feature.
The ‘Domin-oh-hoo-hoo’ campaign, developed by VCCP, is the third iteration of the ‘We Got This’ brand platform and is described as an “audio first” concept. Designed to position Domino’s as the nation’s go to for get-togethers, the campaign focuses on the introduction of a group order feature.
The hero film depicts four friends issuing a yodel-style rallying call to order a Domino’s feast. The campaign will run for six months in the UK and Ireland, rolling out across TV, PR, YouTube, social media, radio, digital out-of-home, digital skins and out-of-home special builds.
The outdoor campaign includes two murals commissioned by local artists, Gent48 from Birmingham and Marcus Method from Sheffield. Both artists were given creative license to interpret the Domin-oh-hoo-hoo theme into their work, which will feature on the side of buildings within their respective cities.
In addition, a house extension has been created out of a 48-sheet poster at Westminster Bridge, which shows a yodel directly coming out the window. The final execution is a building wrap in Manchester.
A radio advert will feature Domino’s yodelling expert teaching the public how to yodel, while to disrupt ad breaks a series of five second blipverts will feature yodellers. The blipverts will be accompanied by the master TV spot.
On social media, the campaign hashtag #DominOhHooHoo will encourage people to yodel online and join a community of fellow yodellers. Elsewhere, a Snapchat lens will enable consumers to put their own yodelling to the test.
“As the nation recovers from the pandemic, we wanted to encourage families and friends to reconnect and enjoy a Domino’s together,” says CMO Sarah Barron. “What better way to get people’s attention than to yodel it from the rooftops (or your flat window)?”
P&G joins forces with Olympian Allyson Felix to support next generation of women
Procter & Gamble-owned haircare brand Pantene is joining forces with six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix on a new campaign celebrating the everyday moments that shape a legacy.
In the ‘What’s Your Legacy’ campaign Felix, an activist and the most decorated US Olympian in women’s track and field history, reflects on the moments that define a legacy. Seen with her daughter Camryn, Felix acknowledges that after becoming a mother she started to define her legacy less by her sporting accomplishments and more by supporting the next generation of women and girls.
After suffering pregnancy complications with Camryn, who was born prematurely, Felix wanted to highlight the issue of healthcare inequalities and the fact mothers of colour have a higher maternal mortality rate.
“Pantene celebrates everyone whose legacy is built on courage, strength and advocating for what is right,” says Pantene brand director, Jessica Ettelson. “We are so proud of the athlete, activist and mother that Allyson is and are excited to share the legacy she has built for her daughter and the world, while inspiring others to build their own.”
In May 2019, Felix exposed her sponsor Nike for wanting to pay her 70% less after she became a mother. As one of the brand’s “most widely marketed athletes”, Felix asked Nike to guarantee she wouldn’t be punished if she didn’t perform at her best in the months surrounding childbirth. The sportswear giant declined.
However, amid public condemnation Nike agreed three months later to change its contracts for pregnant athletes, confirming it would not “apply any performance-related reduction” for 18 months if an athlete becomes pregnant.
Häagen-Dazs splashes out £2m on campaign celebrating summer snacking
Häagen-Dazs is looking to keep its brand front of mind this summer with a £2m campaign celebrating consumers’ love of mixing up flavours.
A continuation of the 2020 brand platform ‘Don’t Hold Back’, the ice cream company is using the ‘Love The Mix’ campaign to promote two new product ranges – Häagen-Dazs Duo and Häagen-Dazs Cocktail Collection – which combine contrasting flavours.
Developed with a view to “elevating the taste experience”, the Duo collection mixes flavours like dark chocolate with salted caramel crunch, while the cocktail range includes lime mojito and piña colada varieties.
The campaign will appear in a three-month primetime TV spot, combined with a presence across social, video-on-demand, on-trade and ecommerce, all designed to “drive product and brand visibility”.
Head of marketing for ice cream and snacking at General Mills, Kat Jones, explains that after a difficult year the brand wanted to celebrate what happens when “contrasting things come together” to become something better and bolder.
“The campaign has an impressive expected reach of 95% of the brand’s target audience and its widespread presence means we’re expecting to remain top of mind with shoppers especially as lockdown begins to ease that little bit more,” she adds.
Monday, 7 June
Regulators open investigation into Facebook advertising practices
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) and European Commission (EC) are together investigating whether Facebook is using its advertising data to gain an unfair advantage over rivals.
Concerns are being voiced to the CMA over how Facebook uses its information to boost services such as Facebook Marketplace and Facebook dating.
The CMA says Facebook collects data through its digital advertising service as well as its single sign-on feature which enables users to sign up to other websites and services with Facebook details.
Meanwhile, the European regulator is examining if Facebook broke its rules by gaining data from advertisers to compete with rivals in providing classified ads.
The EC has opened a formal antitrust investigation “to assess whether Facebook violated EU competition rules by using advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order to compete with them in markets where Facebook is active such as classified ads”.
“The formal investigation will also assess whether Facebook ties its online classified ads service ‘Facebook Marketplace’ to its social network, in breach of EU competition rules,” the regulator adds.
Facebook says both investigations are “without merit”, and that its Marketplace and dating services “operate in highly competitive environments with many large incumbents”.
Alpen pumps £2m into brand refresh
Muesli brand Alpen is conducting a major brand relaunch backed by £2m to coincide with its 50th anniversary.
The ‘Up and Alpen’ campaign includes a TV ad, pack design and website as part of its “biggest campaign in years”.
It marks the brand returning to a TV for the first time in over four years. The ad feature an energetic alpine ram showing how everyone can climb their own personal mountains. The ad was created with agency BBH London which was appointed in November.
Alongside the TV advert will be a social media campaign that will run across Instagram and Facebook to encourage the UK public to ‘get up, get out there and get to it’ with Alpen. In addition, a refreshed consumer-facing website showcases Alpen’s Swiss roots and contains recipe ideas.
“Here at Alpen, we’ve brought uplifting mornings to adventurous breakfast-loving Brits for 50 years with our delicious portfolio. We have a 31% share of the muesli category and have grown by 4% year on year,” says Alpen head of brand Helena Blincow.
“In the last year, 5.6 million UK households have purchased Alpen muesli or bars, and we’re now worth over £50m annually. As we reach such a big milestone, there couldn’t be a better time to revitalise the brand and accelerate its popularity even further with a substantial investment.”
HSBC highlights ‘No Fixed Address’ service in latest campaign
HSBC is launching a campaign to highlight the struggles of those experiencing homelessness and not able to access the financial system.
Created by agency Wunderman Thompson UK, ‘Vicious Circle’ promotes the brand’s ‘No Fixed Address Service’ and its partnership with Shelter, aiming to increase awareness of HSBC’s offering for those without a fixed address.
Central to the campaign will be a 60-second TV ad which shows the vicious cycle homeless people are trapped in, by not having a fixed address which in most cases prevents them from creating a bank account. This in turn leads to difficulties getting a job or accessing benefits. HSBC’s No Fixed Address service aims to address this problem.
In the advert, a woman is on a revolving stage becomes more isolated as opportunities are closed off to her.
The campaign also includes a nationwide out-of-home and print campaign running throughout June. It also extends to podcasts from the Acast podcast library.
HSBC UK CMO Becky Moffat says: “No one should be in a position where they are unable to open a bank account. We’re incredibly proud to play our part in helping to break this vicious cycle and support the most vulnerable in society to become financially independent. Through this campaign, we hope to raise awareness of our No Fixed Address service so that we can get the right support to those who need it most.”
Three UK unites Chelsea FC and Celebrity Gogglebox sponsorships
Three UK has brought together its sponsorship of Chelsea FC and Gogglebox for its support of the latest series of Celebrity Gogglebox.
The idents show Chelsea players Mason Mount, Reece James and Timo Werner watching Gogglebox on their mobiles while they train and relax.
Three’s two-year, multimillion pound sponsorship of Gogglebox is the brand’s largest ever TV sponsorship. While the shirt sponsorship of Chelsea marked a shift in the brand’s marketing strategy to attract a wider audience.
The most recent series of Gogglebox attracted an average of six million viewers per episodes and is the second-highest audience volume driver for a 9pm Channel show on a Friday night, behind only the Friends finale in May 2004.
Three UK and Ireland director of marketing Aislinn O’Connor says: “At the outset of our Gogglebox sponsorship, we promised innovative activations. The return of Celebrity Gogglebox with some former Premiership footballers in the line-up presented the perfect opportunity to unite our two major sponsorship assets in an inventive way. We’re confident this will help drive further consideration and growth of the Three brand.”
Moonpig hails return of pig mascot a ‘resounding success’
Online greeting card brand Moonpig has launched its second advert featuring the return of Moonpigs, as part of ambition to increase brand purpose.
The advert created with agency Creature, shows a man choosing the perfect card for his dad, and a Moonpig in three different costumes during the spot, such as a golfing pro to an astronaut, providing support. The astronaut design is a nod to the original logo design.
The brand says the return of Moonpigs has been a “resounding success” in bringing the card retailer’s purpose of “creating moments that matter between people every day” to life. Customers have requested the brand create cuddly toys of the Moonpig mascots.