Adidas, Beyoncé, Asos: 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.

Beyoncé originally launched Ivy Park with Topshop but has since cut ties with the retailer following allegations of sexual and racial harassment made against its owner Sir Philip Green.

Beyoncé partners with Adidas to relaunch Ivy Park

Beyoncé is partnering with Adidas to relaunch her athleisure brand Ivy Park. The singer originally launched the collection with Topshop but ended the partnership and bought out owner Sir Philip Green following allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse made against him.

Working with Adidas she plans to expand Ivy Park “on a truly global scale”. “Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business,” she adds in a statement.

As part of the tie-up with Adidas, Beyoncé will also be creating a range of footwear and clothing that cover “performance to lifestyle”.

READ MORE: Beyoncé is partnering with Adidas to create new shoes and apparel and relaunch athleisure brand Ivy Park

Asos cracks down on ‘serial returners’

Online retailer Asos is changing its returns policy as it looks to crack down on ‘serial returners’ who buy clothes, wear them and then return them asking for a full refund.

Anyone found to be doing this will now have their accounts deactivated.

Asos has emailed customers to let them know of the changes to its returns policy, suggesting that if it notices an “unusual pattern” in shoppers’ returns activity, it may “investigate and take action”.

It points out this change is unlikely to affect the majority of users, and provides more information about its fair use policy on its website.

Research by Barclaycard last August found that almost one in 10 UK shoppers have bought clothes online in order to photograph themselves wearing items for social media before returning goods and getting a refund.

READ MORE: Asos launches new returns policy after announcing it will blacklist ‘serial returners’

Anti-Brexit ads on Facebook investigated by the ICO

Pro-Brexit advertising campaigns published on Facebook are to be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO), which will use its legal powers to obtain information from the social network.

It follows revelations by the Guardian about the involvement of political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby’s lobbying company in campaigns pushing for a hard no-deal Brexit. Crosby has helped run the past four Conservative general election campaigns.

The ICO will investigate how any data is being handled, such as email addresses collected to encourage people to email their MP.

“We are aware of these, and other similar concerns, and have included them as part of our ongoing investigation into the use of personal data for political purposes,” an ICO spokesperson told the Guardian.

“We have used our statutory powers to require the social media platforms and campaign groups involved to provide information to our investigators. This will allow us to identify if there has been any misuse of personal data. Our work is ongoing. As we have set out before, the use of personal information for political campaigning purposes must comply with data protection law and, as we have shown, we will take all necessary action to protect UK citizens and uphold the law.”

READ MORE: Inquiry launched into data use from no-deal Brexit ads on Facebook 

IAB UK demands higher standards from ad tech players


Digital advertising trade body, IAB UK, has updated the criteria companies need to meet in order to receive Gold Standard certification as it looks to reduce ad fraud and increase brand safety.

Companies now need to be fully certified under the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) for brand safety before they can receive Gold Standard accreditation. Previously being registered with JICWEBS and completing an audit within six months was sufficient.

Companies who have already achieved current IAB UK Gold Standard certification will be required to transition to the new standards.

New thresholds have also been introduced for support of both ads.txt and the Coalition for Better Ads principles and the ‘Better Ads Standards’. Both buy-side and sell-side platforms must now ensure 90% of the traffic they deliver includes a valid ads.txt file. They must also demonstrate a minimum of 99% of the domains they work with conform to the Coalition for Better Ads standards. Demonstration of how non-compliant inventory is filtered will need to be provided as part of the Gold Standard Certification audit.

IAB UK also now requires companies to undergo IAB UK Gold Standard training, which it will be supporting through the launch of a dedicated training platform, and for companies who trade in-app inventory to raise awareness and encourage adoption of the recently launched app-ads.txt guidelines.

Tim Elkington, chief digital officer at IAB UK, says: “To support a sustainable future for digital advertising, standards must continue to be raised and the progression to IAB UK Gold Standard 1.1 adds benchmarks that must now be achieved. While I am confident the industry will rise to meet these new standards, it will be incumbent upon us all to ensure the IAB UK Gold Standard continues to evolve to meet the demands of this dynamic industry.”

MoneySuperMarket names new marketing chief

MoneySuperMarket Group has appointed Andy Hancock as chief customer officer. He replaces Darren Bentley, who was responsible for developing the price comparison site’s revamped brand identity, brand positioning and marketing campaign as it looks to drive engagement and loyalty among users.

Hancock, who takes over the role on 23 April, has been with MoneySuperMarket since 2014, most recently in the role of managing director for money and MoneySavingExpert Publishing.

In this expanded role he will be responsible for leading marketing and customer services alongside his existing job of driving the digitisation of mortgages through the group’s joint venture Podium, and his role leading MoneySavingExpert Publishing.

He continues to be a member of MoneySuperMarket Group’s executive management team.

Hancock says: “This is an incredibly exciting time to become chief customer officer, as we enter the second year of our ‘Reinvent’ strategy and start to deliver on our brand promise to make our services more proactive, personalised and painless for our customers.”

Thursday, 4 April

Accenture buys Droga5
Brian Whipple, global CEO of Accenture Interactive and David Droga,
founder of Droga5

Accenture bolsters creative capabilities with Droga5 acquisition

Accenture is buying the agency Droga5 in a bid to boost its creative abilities and increase its capabilities as an experience agency.

The New York-based agency will join Accenture Interactive, Accenture’s digital business. Accenture hopes the acquisition will enable it to design, build and run customer experiences that grow brands and businesses.

“The future of brand building is not just about creating great ideas; it’s about creating great experiences,” says Brian Whipple, global CEO of Accenture Interactive.

“We’re excited to work with David Droga and his team of brand strategists and creative minds to further our ambition to improve the full human experience with brands. As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Accenture Interactive, joining forces with Droga5 will be a game-changing milestone for us and the industry as we continue to assemble the right mix of capabilities for the modern-day marketer.”

Founded in 2006, Droga5 has more than 500 employees in New York and London with clients including Under Armour, Kraft and Hennessy.

The acquisition is likely to raise further questions about the ambitions of the big consultancies as they increasingly compete with the agency holding groups for brands’ marketing budgets. Accenture already owns Karmarama, as well as design agency Fjord and Irish creative agency Rothco.

The Guardian aims for 2 million paying readers as it heads towards break-even

Guardian News and Media wants to double its paying readers to two million over the next three years as part of updated plans to make the business more sustainable.

In an email sent to staff yesterday, CEO David Pemsel and editor-in-chief Katherine Viner reminded people of the financial challenges the Guardian faced three years ago. At the time operating losses were £80m, print revenue was in decline and its international businesses were unprofitable.

The Guardian has since been on a three-year journey to cut costs and boost revenues by appealing to the public to fund its journalism. So far, more than 1 million readers have made either one-off payments or become members. The newspaper is widely believed to be on track to hit its goal of break-even this year.

“One of the great successes of the past three years has been the willingness of readers to support our journalism and our purpose,” says the email. “As we look ahead, we are setting a new goal for the whole organisation: to attract 2 million people to support the Guardian financially by the end of our 200th anniversary year, in 2022.”

READ MORE: Guardian sets goal of 2m supporters in next stage of ambitious strategy

Ikea increases focus on furniture rental

Ikea is planning to roll out furniture rental in all its main markets as it looks to up its appeal among renters and consumers who are increasingly environmentally conscious.

At an event in German yesterday, Ikea fleshed out plans for more sustainable furniture rentals, having initially tested it on products including desks, beds and sofas. Speaking to Reuters, Jesper Brodin, the CEO of Ingka Group which owns most Ikea stores, says the move has been driven by a recognition that many consumers move homes more frequently but can’t afford new furniture or to move their old furniture every time.

“You should be able to have a lovely home, and a good conscience, and you should be able to afford it,” Brodin said.

Ikea plans to test a range of subscription-based services in all 30 of its markets by 2020.

READ MORE: IKEA to test furniture rental in 30 countries

Argos looks to boost style credentials in new campaign

Argos is launching a marketing campaign that aims to improve its style credentials with a “joyful parody” of typical fashion advertising.

The campaign, created by The&Partnership, shows people wearing outfits made from homewares such as cushions, rugs, lampshades, chairs and deckchairs. They are seen striding down hallways, exploding out of wardrobes and running riot in gardens in the activity, called ‘Fashion is my Kryptonite’.

“When planning this campaign, the insight that really stood out to us is that homewares – like fashion – enable you to express your personal style. And as many of us look for ways to make our homes more and more Instagrammable, this notion is increasingly important for our customers.

“In a joyful parody, our campaign plays on the idea that Argos home and furniture is ‘so stylish you can wear it’, celebrating the style credentials of our new range by tapping into familiar tropes from the fashion world,” says Gary Kibble, marketing director at Sainsburys and Argos.

The campaign will run across TV, VoD, digital out-of-home and digital channels. Digital outdoor, in particular, will play a core role with Argos’s media agency, PHD, using data to align content and context. The ad first aired last night on ITV and will continue through spring.

Corona owner divests brands to focus on beer and cannabis

Constellation Brands, which owns brands including Corona, is to sell 30 of its wine and spirit brands to E. & J. Gallo Winery for $1.7bn as the company focuses on its more profitable businesses and its beer and cannabis brands that appeal to a younger demographic.

The deal includes brands such as Clos du Bois, Ravenswood and Mark West. It will, however, retain a host of brands including Robert Mondavi, Meiomi and Kim Crawford. The deal is expected to close at the end of its first fiscal quarter 2020.

This is not the first time Constellation has moved to sharpen its business focus. In 2016, it divested its Canadian wine business to  the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for $772m.

Wednesday, 3 April


Tesco trials tech that makes all plastic packaging recyclable

Tesco will start collecting previously unrecyclable plastics to be recycled in 10 of its stores this week as part of a new trial aiming to stop the hardest to recycle soft plastics from going to waste.

Customers will be able to return to trial stores everything from pet food pouches to shopping bags and crisp packets, all of which cannot commonly be recycled by local councils.

The trial begins with the installation of 10 collection boots at stores in and around the Swindon and Bristol areas. The packaging will be sent for recycling through Recycling Technologies’ new recycling process which turns waste plastic back into oil, Plaxx – a material which can then be used in the manufacturing of new plastic.

“Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us, for our customers and for the future of the planet,” says Tesco’s director of quality, Sarah Bradbury.

“Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”

Superdry boss returns, whole board departs

Superdry executives have resigned en masse after founder Julian Dunkerton narrowly won his bid to be reinstated to the board.

51.15% of shareholders voted in favour of Dunkerton’s return, prompting all eight of its chiefs to leave the business.

Chairman Peter Bamford, CEO Euan Sutherland, CFO Ed Barker and chairman of the remuneration committee Penny Hughes will stand down from the board with immediate effect.

Directors Dennis Millard, Minnow Powell, Sarah Wood and John Smith have given three months’ notice and will leave on 1 July.

In a statement to investors, Dunkerton and new chairman Peter Williams said: “We are very pleased to be joining the Board of this great British company. We look forward to rebuilding the Superdry brand and the business.”

Fortnum & Mason opens first flagship in Asia

Fortnum & Mason is opening a new shop and restaurant in Hong Kong, its first flagship store outside of the UK.

The retail concept, which will open in September 2019, will complement Fortnum’s current retail partnerships across Asia including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Isetan Mitsukoshi in Japan and, most recently, Shinsegae in South Korea.

It is part of Fortnum’s strategy to extend its best-selling products to new and existing customers in Asia.

“Our latest expansion in Asia is an important next step for us, as we extend our reach further across the world,” says Kate Hobhouse, Chairman of Fortnum & Mason.

“We have seen significant appetite for the Fortnum’s brand and products in the region, with impressive year-on-year sales growth. We are therefore incredibly proud to continue our record of investment and growth by expanding our business into new markets, and reinforcing our support for amazing producers and suppliers and creating new job opportunities.”

Boots to sponsor Women’s FA

Boots has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Women’s FA, marking the first time any brand or retailer has sponsored all five women’s national football teams.

Boots will sponsor the England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland teams for the upcoming 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and the 2021 Women’s European Championships in Europe.

The campaign will include integrated activity across out-of-home, social media, content and PR. Boots will also have access to an extensive suite of rights including match day advertising and pitch-side branding, player appearances and hospitality.

“It’s so exciting to see how women’s football has taken off over the last few years, especially as a retailer who is proud to champion women’s right to live well, feel better and look great,” says Helen Normoyle, marketing director at Boots UK.

“Boots has always had a strong heritage of supporting women in sport; we founded our own women’s sports team as early as 1894.  Via our partnership, we are excited to give the inspirational women in these teams the chance to tell their stories and to hopefully encourage other women to experience the amazing confidence that sport can bring”.

Asda overtakes Sainsbury’s market share

Asda has overtaken Sainsbury’s to become the UK’s second-largest supermarket, just weeks before the final outcome of the proposed mega-merger between the two is set to be revealed.

In the first 12 weeks of the year, Asda built on two years of consecutive growth to achieve market share of 15.4%, according to the latest grocery figures from Kantar. Sales at Sainsbury’s, however, fell by 1.8% and market share dropped by 0.5 percentage points to 15.3%.

Meanwhile, sales at Tesco grew by 0.5% to achieve market share of 27.4% – 0.2 percentage points lower than a year ago – while sales at Aldi were up by 10.6%, helping it to achieve a new record high market share of 8%.

Lidl was the second-fastest growing supermarket with sales up 5.8% and market share up 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%.

The figures also reveal that sales of loose fruit and vegetables are growing twice as quickly as those wrapped in plastic. In the first quarter of 2019 21% of all fruit, vegetable and salad items were sold loose, showing that shoppers are opting for more sustainable options.

Elsewhere down the aisles, British shoppers have already spent £146 million on Easter eggs and 42% of households have bought hot cross buns.

However, this year’s late Easter, and the fact Mother’s Day has fallen outside the reported period, contributed to the market growing at its slowest rate since March 2018 (up 1.4%) and trimmed an estimated 0.5 percentage points off the overall growth rate.

Tuesday, 2 April

Discovery strikes £300m deal with BBC for wildlife shows

Discovery has struck a landmark £300m ten-year partnership with the BBC for the rights to its natural history and wildlife programs, such as Planet Earth and Blue Planet.

The moves comes as the US Pay TV broadcaster looks to launch a subscription-based streaming service next year in a bid to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime for on-demand viewers.

According to the Financial Times, David Zaslav, president and chief executive of Discovery, says the partnership would include future “landmark specials” and spin-offs of programmes such as the Planet Earth and Walking with Dinosaurs.

As part of the partnership UKTV, which is partly owned by both the BBC and Discovery, will have its channels distributed between the two broadcasters. The BBC will take over the entertainment channels with Discovery taking lifestyle channels.

And under a separate agreement, the BBC will pay Discovery £173m for the majority of the UK TV channels.

The cost of Discovery’s new streaming services is not yet known but is likely to be less than $5 a month. However, it will not be available in the UK, Ireland or China, and will therefore not impact the BBC’s iPlayer or BritBox.

READ MORE: Discovery to pay BBC £300m for wildlife rights

Shoppers reluctant to spend on groceries amid Brexit uncertainty

Consumer spending in the grocery sector has continued to slow for the third consecutive month, with sales up just 1.2% during the last four weeks as Brexit uncertainty and rising living costs take their toll on shopper budgets.

According to data from Nielsen, consumers are looking to manage their grocery spend while spending less at the ‘big four’ supermarket chains (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda).

For instance, during the last 12 weeks the combined market share of the top four supermarkets was 64.1%, compared with 65.6% last year.

This is linked to a climb in sales at the discounters Aldi and Lidl, whose combined market share climbed to a high of 16%.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK had of retailer insights, says the first quarter of the year indicates a continued slowdown in consumer spending on grocery, with the average household spend each week on groceries totalling about £71, the same level seen in October 2017.

“This means that grocery spend remains broadly unchanged in the last 18 months despite inflation. We can see a change in shopping behaviour as well as a shift in sentiment as households shop around to make savings,” he explains.

Sainsbury’s has seen a (1.6%) decline in sales year on year, while Aldi experienced a 14.7% increased followed by Lidl (9.8%).

“We can see that the last few weeks have continued to be challenging for retailers. However, there should be brighter times ahead, with Easter on the horizon bringing attractive seasonal promotions to encourage shoppers to spend more on confectionery, snacks and drinks,” Watkins adds.

EasyJet says demand for tickets down as Brexit looms

EasyJet says customer demands for tickets is down as potential travellers are faced with economic uncertainty and fear of how Brexit will pan out.

The budget airline pointed to the fact people are putting off booking their summer holidays which is impacting demand and ticket prices, warning that it expects its profits for 2019 to be hit.

The Guardian reports that in a trading update EasyJet confirmed revenue per seat had declined by 7.4% and it expects first-half losses of about £275m.

Additionally, the carrier says it believes European travellers are still booking holidays but there was a noticeable decline in demand for flights to and from the UK. EasyJet shares also fell about 8% following the announcement to £10.31 per share.

However, EasyJet chief executive, Johan Lundgren, says the airline is “operationally well prepared” for Brexit.

“Now that the EU parliament has passed its air connectivity legislation and together with the UK’s confirmation that it will reciprocate, means that whatever happens, we’ll be flying as usual. I am pleased that we have also made progress on our European ownership position which is now above 49%,” he says.

“For the second half we are seeing softness in both the UK and Europe, which we believe comes from macroeconomic uncertainty and many unanswered questions surrounding Brexit which are together driving weaker customer demand.”

READ MORE: EasyJet warns of slow summer sales amid Brexit uncertainty

McVitie’s Digestives get a new twist

Snacking company Pladis is expanding its portfolio with the launch of McVitie’s Digestives Twists, as it looks to “drive excitement and incremental sales” among younger shoppers.

Featuring the same texture as the original Digestives, the new biscuits are available in chocolate chip and caramel, and chocolate chip and coconut.

According to the company, new market research revealed 80% of 18 to 34-year-olds “praise” the new flavour combinations with research also indicating younger consumers are showing interest in everyday flavoured biscuits. For instance, people younger than 46 make up almost half (46%) of shoppers buying into these products.

Brand director for McVitie’s and Pladia, Emma Stowers, says the new product will enable the company to extend its appeal to a younger audience.

“We know that on-trend flavour and texture combinations, such as caramel and coconut, are helping to drive overall category growth for sweet biscuits – and we’re set to tap into this insight with our new McVitie’s Digestives Twists,” she explains.

McVitie’s is the UK’s fourth largest food brand and is present in 21.5 million households, the company says.

The new biscuits will be available in Asda from mid-April, before being rolled out across various retail and convenience stores.

Strongbow enlists local pub band for new campaign

Strongbow has unveiled a new TV campaign that brings together its three cider variants.

The 60-second spot aims to ‘celebrate people’ by bringing together individuals of various ages and backgrounds.  Set in a pub in northern England, the advert features two real-life performers, Chris Kinley on guitar and Rob Waters on piano, performing 80s classic ‘Together in Electric Dreams’, which eventually encourages all pub-goers to join in on the band’s rendition.

The pair usually tour the pub circuit in the country’s north east.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the ad brings together all three Strongbow ciders, Original, Dark Fruit and Cloudy Apple, for the commercial.

“Strongbow has always been famous for its iconic advertising reflecting the brand’s strong roots in the Great British pub.  To remind people of all those great times in pubs, we have called upon actual local music heroes who are masters in creating an electric atmosphere that brings everyone together,” Emma Sherwood-Smith, cider director at Heineken, says.

This is the first in a series of adverts which aired last night (1 April).

Sherwood-Smith adds: “We are going to bring this to life in pubs across the country.  Over the next few months, we’ll host a series of ‘Strongbow Nights’ that will see our local heroes perform in pubs across the UK.”

Morrisons offers daily ‘quieter hour’ for autistic shoppers

To mark Autism Awareness Week, Morrisons is introducing a ‘quieter hour’ across its 498 stores to make it a better experience for people with autism, or for parents with children who have autism, to go shopping.

Each day this week between 9am and 10am Morrisons stores will dim the lights, switch any music or radio off, avoid making announcements, as well as turning the checkout beeps and any other electrical noises down.

“We want to do our bit to raise awareness of autism and help affected families and that’s why we’ll be offering the quieter hour every day. We know that many families appreciate the opportunity to shop in a quieter store,” Joseph Clark-Bland, community specialist at Morrisons, says.

The move comes after last year the supermarket chain first introduced the Quieter Hour initiative, which was implemented at its stores between 9am and 10am each Saturday.

Morrisons introduced the scheme after many customers said they had family members with autism and many wanted the option to shop at a quieter time.

Monday, 1 April

Facebook Instagram platform

Industry unimpressed by Facebook calls for help to regulate content

Mark Zuckerberg’s claims that regulators and governments should play a more active role in controlling internet content have failed to impress US government and trade bodies.

The Facebook CEO’s comments, published in the Washington Post some two weeks after a gunman live streamed a terror attack on a New Zealand mosque, suggested that the responsibility for monitoring harmful content is too great for social media firms alone.

Zuckerberg proposed new laws should be created applying to harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability. He is calling for common rules on harmful content all social media sites must adhere to, enforced by third-party bodies.

The Facebook CEO wants all major tech companies to release a transparency report every three months, industry-wide standards to be implemented controlling how political campaigns use data to target voters online and he is calling on more countries to adopt European-style GDPR protections.

However, the wider industry may take some convincing. The Financial Times reports that Jason Kint, CEO of the US trade association for online publishers Digital Content Next, described Zuckerberg’s statements as “mostly . . . a public relations effort”.

Meanwhile David Cicilline, Democratic chair of the US House of Representatives’ antitrust subcommittee, said in a tweet that “Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t get to make the rules any more” and as Facebook has “shown it cannot regulate itself”, he asked why anyone would want the Facebook CEO’s advice anyway.

READ MORE: Mark Zuckerberg’s call for more tech rules fails to impress (£)

Struggling Arcadia could swap shares for rent cuts

Arcadia is considering offering landlords shares in the company in exchange for rent cuts as the retail giant behind Topshop and Miss Selfridge contemplates a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

The Times reports that Sir Philip Green is considering offering landlords a stake of between 10% and 20% in Arcadia in order to get them to cooperate with the CVA. It is understood that Arcadia plans to use the CVA, an insolvency process intended to be used as an alternative to administration, to close 30 of its 570 shops and cut rents by an average of 30% on its remaining stores.

There are also suggestions that Green might be forced to step away and let a new management team lead the CVA. Another option is for Arcadia to offer landlords a lump sum in the tens of millions of pounds, similar to the amount they would receive if the group went into administration.

Arcadia has been hit by scandals over recent years following the collapse of BHS, which the company sold to the now discredited Retail Acquisitions for £1, as well as allegations of bullying and sexual harassment made against Green himself. The performance of the group has also been called into question after operating profits dropped by 42% to £124m in the year to August 2017.

READ MORE: Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green mulls ‘shares for rent cuts’

BMW and Jameson the pick of the April Fools


This April Fools’ Day, BMW is offering its customers the chance to harness the power of the moon in a bid to “push the limits of electric driving”.

From today, BMW drivers will be able to add Lunar Paint as an optional extra to their i vehicle. The paint uses revolutionary photovoltaic technology to harness the power of the moon and passively recharge a car’s battery in the hours of darkness.

Meanwhile, in the world of whiskey, Jameson has found a new way to ensure the drink is shared – not stolen. Bottles of Jameson triple-distilled whiskey are now being fitted with anti-theft glittershot technology. All drinkers need to do is to set the cap to ‘Glitter Shot Active Mode’ and any sip-stealer will be immediately covered with 10,000 particles of green glitter. Crafty!

Not to be outdone, The Saucy Fish Co. has set its sights on disrupting the snack category with the launch of new sub-brand The Saucy Fishcuit Co. Inspired by research showing health-conscious consumers are crying out for fishy snack alternatives, the brand has developed three biscuit varieties to take on the mid-afternoon slump.

An update on the humble custard cream, the Custard Bream will blend delicate bream-flavoured cream with the finest Cornish cream, while Clammy Dodgers will pair luxurious Scottish rope grown clams with a jammy centre. To complete the range, Rich Sea biscuits mix the bold flavours of sea-salt and seaweed.

Sales and marketing director, Amanda Webb, explains that after experimenting with Iced Squid Rings, Jaffa Hakes, Wagon Eels and CodNobs, the team settled on a range of three fishcuits for the initial launch.

“Rest assured, each product in the range has passed the ultimate biscuit quality test – they taste delicious when dunked in a cup of tea,” she adds. “And being fish-based they float rather than sink to the bottom of the cup, leaving those nasty mushy bits nobody likes.”

Gambling brands warned not to ignore FOBT stake cut

The Gambling Commission has warned gambling companies not to try to circumvent the stake cut for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which comes into force today.

The maximum limit per spin on FOBTs has dropped from £100 to £2 in a bid to prevent gamblers losing large amounts of money in a short space of time on the machines, which have been described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, says there is work to be done to make other products online, on mobile and on the high street safer as gamblers shift their behaviour following the stake cut.

He adds: “It’s imperative that operators invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play and can step in to protect players when needed. They should be innovating to protect their customers, as much as they do to make a profit.”

The cut in the FOBT maximum stake could lead to the closure of up to a third of the 8,500 high street betting shops open last year, according to reports in the Financial Times. Ladbrokes Coral-owner GVC is expected to close approximately 1,000 of its 3,475 shops following the stake reduction, while William Hill is seeking rent cuts of up to 50% to keep its shops open.

READ MORE: Gambling industry warned over fixed-odds stake cut

Former marketer appointed as new FA chief exec

Mark Bullingham will succeed Martin Glenn as the Football Association (FA) chief executive from the 2019/2020 football season onwards.

Bullingham joined the FA in August 2016 as commercial and marketing director to lead the commercial, marketing and digital functions within the organisation, before being appointed chief commercial and football development officer in December.

He is credited with helping to grow annual FA revenue by 25% by brokering key sponsorship deals with Nike and Barclays, “record breaking” domestic and international Emirates FA Cup broadcast agreements and helping to drive record viewership and engagement figures on FA digital channels.

Bullingham says he is confident in the “talent and determination of the workforce” and the direction in which the FA is headed. However, he stresses his ambitions to double the women’s and girls’ game across the country, host major international tournaments and create digital tools to help volunteers across all areas of the grassroots game.



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