British Airways, Aston Martin, Giffgaff: 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.

giffgaffGiffgaff donates phones to elderly in loneliness initiative

Giffgaff is donating phones to the elderly to help combat loneliness.

The mobile network is partnering with Doro, which provides phones and communication solutions for seniors, to will donate 500 phones to isolated elderly people across the UK.

The initiative seeks to counteract the effects of loneliness during coronavirus and forms part of a wider push to deliver 2,000 phones to isolated seniors across regions spanning the UK, Germany, France and the Nordic countries.

All phones will be delivered with a pre-installed SIM from giffgaff, providing unlimited calls and texts alongside 2GB of data per month.

The partnership with Doro comes after giffgaff announced its goodybank initiative to help local communities in Britain. As phones become increasingly important throughout Covid-19, and for many the only means of communication with the outside world, giffgaff and its members want to ensure that everyone stays connected.

CEO of giffgaff, Ash Schofield, says: “Living in isolation is tough for everyone but the elderly may find themselves in a greater state of stress and suffering from loneliness. We hope that by providing these phones it will help them stay connected with loved ones and bring some much-needed respite in these trying times.”

A third of consumers believe that brands that don’t advertise during Covid-19 are  in financial trouble.

Nearly third of consumers believe that companies that stay silent during coronavirus may be in financial trouble.

According to a new global study from Berkeley Communications and Arlington Research, 31% of consumers worry that when a business has gone quiet during the pandemic it is in financial trouble. When broken down by region this number rises to 39% in Italy and Spain, while 33% of the US and 27% of the UK also feel the same way.

Furthermore brands that have inspiring communications are more likely to be shopped with again. Over a third (35%) of consumers state that brands that inspire them and give them hope during this time are the ones they will spend money with in the future.

Berkeley Communications managing director, Lynsey Barry, says: “It’s clear that without an effective communication strategy, businesses risk consumers coming to their own conclusions — and those conclusions might not be right.”

Aston Martin and Bently axe 1,500 jobs

Luxury car brands Bentley and Aston Martin are cutting a combined 1,500 jobs.

Bently is axing approximately 1,000 jobs in the UK amid coronavirus with the carmaker likely to offer workers the chance to take voluntary redundancy.

Aston Martin is also planning to cut 500 jobs as it seeks to bring its cost base into line with reduced sports car production levels.

Bentley is restarting production at its northern English Crewe factory, where it builds thousands of luxury models. However, the shutdown of its UK production due to the virus outbreak has hurt the company.

READ MORE: Bentley: Luxury carmaker to cut up to 1,000 jobs

British Airways faces backlash over refusing to meet Home Secretary

British Airways is refusing to attend a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel to discuss the UK’s quarantine plans.

From 8 June the government will require all travellers to the UK to quarantine for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine. But BA, has called it “another blow to our industry”.

Owner IAG did not give a reason for not attending and declined further comment. However, the operator is understood to be displeased at what it saw as a lack of consultation over the quarantine’s introduction.

EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, as well as the owner of Heathrow Airport, were among the aviation businesses that held a conference call with the Home Secretary.

British Airways shuns Priti Patel meeting over quarantine plans

Proper makes TV debut with ‘Popcorn Done Properly’ advert

Proper is to make its TV debut this week as it looks to capitalise on a rise in snacking due to lockdown.

‘Popcorn Done Properly’, took just 3 weeks to make during lockdown, and is a “natural response” to current consumer trends as more consumers  snack during lockdown.

Proper founder, Cassandra Stavrou, says the move into TV was “an ambition that we set our sights on during a time when we know there is an appetite for healthier, great-tasting snacks.”

The 20-second advert features exploding CGI popcorn kernels, layered with an onomatopoeic audio layer of pops, created by creative agency U-Dox, which Proper said “brings its brand name to life”.

It will be shown across Sky channels and on demand as well as across social platforms throughout June and July.

Thursday, 4 June

Yorkshire Tea becomes 100% carbon neutral

Yorkshire Tea is celebrating becoming 100% carbon neutral with a film showing the original artist making the iconic rural scene on the box greener.

Created by Lucky Generals, the social media film focuses on Andrew Hutchinson as he sits at his easel “somewhere in Yorkshire” describing the updates he’s making to camera. These include turning cricketers into beekeepers, adding solar panels to the roof of the house and placing an electric car charging up in the garden.

Once he’s finished, and the countryside is packed with recycling boxes, wind turbines and an Eco Dome, he decides it might be a “bit much” and scraps it all and places the carbon neutral logo on the box instead.

“We’re proud to have achieved carbon neutrality across all our products,” says Simon Hotchkin, head of sustainable development at parent company Taylors of Harrogate. “But we’re especially proud of the proper way in which we’ve done it, by setting up projects that not only offset carbon but improve lives and livelihoods directly with our suppliers.”

VO5 supports local barbers in new campaign

VO5 has teamed up with comedian Joel Dommett for its latest campaign, ‘Long for Barbers’, urging people to put down the clippers and pledge to stay true to their barber until they reopen.

As part of the pledge, the Unilever-owned haircare brand is asking people to donate what they can to The Lions Barber Collective, which trains local barbers to spot signs of mental ill health in customers and direct them to a resource that might help. VO5 has made a £10,000 donation to the charity.

“With the donation from VO5 alone we can train just over 65 hair pros with a potential reach of over 32,000 each week,” says Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective.

“The idea is not to make barbers into counsellors or psychiatrists, but to enable them to bridge the gap between the communities we serve and the resources that are available, while providing a safe non-judgemental safe space to share, open up and or offload.”

Charities call for more restrictions on junk food ads

The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) is calling for the government to take further action on junk food marketing amid the emerging evidence there is a link between obesity and death from Covid-19.

A survey carried out by the OHA, which is made up of 44 charities and groups, found 74% supported the need for further government action on obesity, with 78% supporting manufacturers reducing sugar in foods and 74% supporting not showing junk food ads before 9pm on TV and online.

The Advertising Association argues further advertising restrictions such as a pre-9pm ban would have no impact on obesity levels.

“Instead, we need to look at how advertising, which has just demonstrated how public behaviour can be encouraged to change during the Covid-19 lockdown, can be used to support positive messages around lifestyles and healthier food choices. That will be far more effective than advertising bans to bring about the change campaigners like the OHA are looking for,” says the Advertising Association’s chief executive, Stephen Woodford.

“We support a healthier, more active society, but any action that might involve further restrictions on industry must be proportionate, evidence-based and effective and not cause damage to an already fragile advertising and media landscape, while having little to no effect in lowering obesity levels.”

John Lewis and Vitality to host virtual workshops

John Lewis, Waitrose and health and life insurer Vitality are launching a series of free virtual workshops focused on health and wellbeing, exclusively for myWaitrose and myJohn Lewis members.

The programme has been created to help address some of the “undesirable side effects” of lockdown including poor posture from home working, disturbed sleep and unhealthy eating habits.

Classes will include talks from in-house Waitrose nutritionists on making healthier food choices and how to plan meals, fitness classes with Vitality sporting experts including Olympic swimmer Lizzie Simmonds and Olympic Modern Pentathlete Samantha Murray, and cardio sessions run by Vitality clinicians and coaches.

“Lockdown will have taken its toll on us all in different ways, whether it’s long hours working on an unsuitable chair in our bedrooms, unhealthy snacking, disturbed sleep or lack of proper exercise, as well as the impact on our mental health,” says John Lewis and Waitrose’s director of customer experience Peter Cross.

“We’re really excited to be doing our bit to help and have created a broad range of content with some of the nation’s superstars as well as our own in house experts to look at wellbeing from a variety of angles – we hope there’s something here for everyone, however small.”

Chelsea FC stars go under cover in Hyundai ad

Hyundai has launched a new ad as part of its Chelsea FC sponsorship to mark the reopening of Hyundai dealerships in the UK and the return of the Premier League later this month.

The video stars two players from Chelsea FC’s senior men’s and women’s squads, Mason Mount and Erin Cuthbert, who go under full prosthetic disguise as Hyundai sales staff.

The aim was to convince as many ‘prospective customers’ as possible to register for a test drive in the Hyundai showroom without being recognised. However, unknown to the two players, the prospective customers were trained actors and the prank was on them.

“Hyundai are always finding innovative ways to activate their partnership with us, and this content really is something fun and different,” says Chelsea Football Club’s head of global partnerships, John Rogers.

“The players loved filming on the day as it was very different to other shoots they had been on. It is great to see Hyundai creating content with both the men’s and the women’s team, offering something for all of our fans.”

Wednesday, 3 June

Easyjet

EasyJet masks raise awareness of pandemic measures

An easyJet campaign to help explain recently introduced pre-flight procedures and disinfection methods includes masks created by the artist Will Sliney, best known for his work with Marvel.

Two character-themed ‘Lion’ and ‘Pilot’ masks will be made available for free to children flying with easyJet from airports across Europe this summer.

They have been designed as a covering to be worn over the top of a younger traveller’s own face mask, can be taken home to keep and are washable for re-use.

EasyJet expects to increase flying as customer demand continues to build and restrictions are relaxed with flying increasing in July and into the summer, with around 30% of flying planned over the final three months of summer.

The additional safety measures include enhanced aircraft disinfection, while customers, cabin and ground crew will be required to wear masks and, for an initial limited period, no onboard food service.

Facebook tool allows users to ‘curate their presence’

Facebook has launched a tool to help users hide old posts from public view, store them in an archive or delete them completely.

‘Manage Activity’ is seen primarily as a useful aid for younger Facebook users worried that previous indiscretions or other embarrassing posts could harm them when looking for work.

“Whether you’re entering the job market after college or moving on from an old relationship, we know things change in people’s lives, and we want to make it easy for you to curate your presence on Facebook to more accurately reflect who you are today,” says Facebook.

The tool will initially launch on the iOS and Android Facebook apps before being rolled out to desktop.

READ MORE: Facebook launches new tool to help users hide old posts

Refuge film shines light on domestic abuse

RefugeNational domestic abuse charity Refuge has created a short film drawing attention to the rise in violence against women during lockdown.

Calls and contacts to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline have rocketed by 66% since March, and visits to its website have risen 10-fold.

Starring actors Maxine Peake and Lex Shrapnel, ‘Surfaces’ is an 11-minute story filmed entirely over a conference call.

The film, created with McCann Bristol, depicts how those living with domestic violence are often isolated and in fear, facing a personal lockdown of their own on a daily basis.

The film is available to view at refuge.org.uk/surfaces and through the charity’s YouTube channel.

BRC calls for more government support as prices show record fall

Shop prices during May fell by 2.4% year on year, compared to a 1.7% decrease in April, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The figure represents the highest rate of decline since the BRC first started collating the statistic in December 2006.

Non-food prices dropped by 4.6% last month, while food inflation eased to 1.5%, in line with the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 1.5% and 1.5%, respectively.

“Shop prices in May fell at their fastest rate since 2006, which was largely driven by the drop in non-food prices,” the consortium’s CEO Helen Dickinson explained.

“Clothing and furniture saw the biggest drop as retailers ran promotions to encourage consumer spending and attempted to mitigate recent losses.

“Year-on-year food prices increased slightly due to higher business costs, implementing social distancing measures and the upward pressure from labour shortages, but were down on the previous month as more home-grown produce became available.

“Even as non-essential shops begin to reopen from 15 June, consumer demand is expected to remain weak and many retailers will have to fight to survive, especially with the added costs of social distancing measures.

“Retailers face an uphill battle to continue to provide their customers with high quality and great value products despite mounting costs.

“Government support remains essential, both to rebuild consumer confidence and to support the thousands of firms and millions of jobs that rely on it.”

‘Hey Beeb’ digital assistant speaks with a northern accent

The BBC’s digital assistant Hey Beeb will have a limited release this week, helping users find BBC programmes and offering local news and weather reports.

The tool will have a male voice with a distinct, “warm and friendly” northern accent, to make it stand out from rivals like Amazon’s Alexa.

The BBC’s COO of its design and engineering department Grace Boswood says the corporation is hoping to defend itself against big US tech.

“It gives us a strategic edge if Amazon decides not to play fair in terms of how people access the content,” she explains.

“There has to be an alternative to them holding all the cards. We do have the content. Amazon may choose to change the game of discovery.”

My Beeb has been designed in the hope that the software can be built into a variety of existing and future systems.

However, as yet the only deal signed has been with Microsoft, which will launch the service to desktop-based beta testers on Wednesday.

People who swear at the assistant will be asked if they would like to listen to a BBC podcast.

READ MORE: Hey Beeb: new BBC digital assistant gets northern male accent

Tuesday, 2 June

shopping

Shopper numbers increase by a third as lockdown eases

Shopper numbers jumped in England yesterday (1 June) as lockdown restrictions were eased in the country and car showrooms, outdoor markets and some stores – including Ikea – reopened.

According to Springboard, the number of shoppers jumped by 31% by 5pm on Monday compared with a week ago (which was a bank holiday). Across the UK as a whole, shopper numbers were up by 28% week-on-week.

The biggest jump was experienced in shopping centres, where footfall was up 37.8%, followed by high streets on 31.5% and retail parks on 13.1%.

“It appears that even though only markets and car showrooms have opened today in addition to essential stores, shoppers are heading back into bricks-and-mortar destinations,” said Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insights director.

READ MORE: Shopper numbers jump 31% as lockdown in England relaxed

Primark will not offer ‘special discounts’ when stores reopen

Primark will not be offering “special discounts” when it reopens its stores on 15 June despite the chain having built up almost £2bn worth of stock – double its normal level.

The company, which is owned by AB Foods, has £1.5bn stock on hand plus a commitment to suppliers to buy another £400m. It normally holds stock worth around £900m.

The excess stock is mainly non-fashion and non-seasonal ranges although there is some excess from the spring/summer range. Some of the latter will be held back until next year while it expects the rest to be sold “in the normal course of business”.

It is widely expected that many retailers will have to offer steep reductions to offload excess stock after a slump in sales, particularly of clothing, during lockdown.

READ MORE: Primark says no ‘special discounts’ when shops reopen

Heineken appoints new top marketer for its namesake brand

Heineken has appointed a new top marketer for its namesake brand, appointing Bram Westenbrink as senior director global of the Heineken brand.

Reporting to chief commercial officer Jan-Derck van Karnebeek, Westenbrink will be responsible for driving further growth and profitability for Heineken. He replaces Gianluca Di Tondo, who has left Heineken for Italian food company Barilla Group.

Westenbrink has worked at Heineken for more than 15 years, latterly as vice-president of marketing for Heineken Brazil. During that time, he developed a portfolio strategy for its 16 brands, as well as building a completely new marketing team including a digital media hub. Under his leadership, Brazil became Heineken’s fastest growth and largest operating company.

Churchill launches audio book to help children learn mindfulness techniques

Insurance company Churchill has launched a series of audio books designed to take children aged four to seven through mindfulness techniques.

The books were originally set to launch in time for the summer holidays to help children ‘chill’ in the back of the car during long summer drives. But the launch has been brought forward in recognition of the pressure parents feel to keep children focused on schoolwork and entertained during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Little Chapters of Chill’ were created with Churchill’s agency Engine and written by children’s author and meditation guide Sue Pickford. The five audio books focus on the adventures of Churchie the dog, while teaching mindfulness techniques.

Churchill home insurance marketing manager Jane Morgan says: “Parents have been finding lockdown really difficult as they are under pressure to maintain their level of work while also educating and entertaining their children. At Churchill, we want to do whatever we can to help parents through this time. That’s why we decided to bring the launch of our audiobooks forward.

“Originally planned for the summer, to help kids chill in the back of cars during long drives, we felt the audiobooks could provide a little bit of peace and calm to both children and parents right now.”

Mizkan goes direct-to-consumer with brand launch

Japanese food company Mizkan is launching a direct-to-consumer brand as it looks to tap into growing demand for healthy food options.

The brand – Zenb – offers a range of veggie sticks that use the whole vegetable, including the core, peel, seeds and stem. Already established in Japan and the US it is aimed at consumers-on-the-go as an easier way to eat vegetables while reducing food waste.

Mizkan decided to go ahead with the launch despite the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in the UK. The launch campaign, created by Zone, is centred around a brand proposition of ‘Food rediscovered’

Zenb CMO Christiane Paul: “With the pandemic, we believe there is an even greater need for consumers to have snacking options they can feel good about. And these are delivered directly to your door, providing super-easy availability while working from home.

“We clearly adjusted our launch tactics recognising that it would take a while before consumers would spend significant time outside of their homes. As such we’re leaning on digital tactics to start, and planning for bigger launch, sampling and more experiential events later in the year.”

Monday, 1 June

Brands show solidarity with anti-racism protests

Brands from Nike to Netflix have been showing solidarity with global anti-racism protests following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of US police officers.

Nike released a 60-second black and white ad – entitled ‘For once, Don’t Do It’ – asking citizens not to “pretend there isn’t a problem in America” and willing them to “become part of the change”. Created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, the ad has already attracted more than 425,000 views on Nike’s YouTube page, as well as more than 200,000 likes and 90,000 retweets on Twitter.

Adidas quoted rival Nike’s tweet with the words “Together is how we move forward”, while Netflix tweeted: “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”

Amazon put out a statement calling on the “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people” to stop, adding: “Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community – our employees, customers and partners – in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.”

In the US, Google and YouTube homepages shared their support for “racial equality in solidarity with the Black community”, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai adding: “For those feeling grief, anger, sadness and fear, you are not alone.”

Elsewhere, Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Cheksy, said he stood with “those using their voices and peacefully calling for justice, fairness and racial equality”.

Pret prepares to ‘radically’ adapt its business model post-lockdown

Pret A Manger is hoping to renegotiate rents in a bid to avoid store closures as it “radically” adapts its business model to adjust to life post-lockdown.

The chain, which plans to have reopened 300 of its 400 stores as of next week, is bracing itself for a fall in footfall as people continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.

The combination of declining footfall and high rental costs have put “substantial pressure” on the business, according to chief executive Pano Christou, who says there is a plan in place to address these issues.

“While Pret may look and feel a bit different in the short term, if we take the right steps today, we’ll make sure that Pret can thrive in the future,” Christou adds.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Pret A Manger plans rent talks in bid to avoid closures

Nestlé forced to rebrand plant-based burger amid legal challenge

Nestlé has been forced to rebrand its plant-based Incredible Burger following a legal challenge from US meat substitute producer Impossible Foods.

A Dutch court ruled that the product, now to be known as the Sensational Burger, had infringed trademarks held by Impossible Foods and was likely to cause confusion. The court noted that Nestlé had originally approached Impossible Foods, which is not yet in the European market, about the possibility of a licensing or partnership deal in 2018, before revealing plans to launch its own product.

The judge stated that Nestlé appeared to have “tried to frustrate Impossible Foods’s entry into the European market by offering its own plant-based foods under a similar name”, the Financial Times reports.

Nestlé is prohibited from the use of the “Incredible” name in Europe and has four weeks to remove the old product from shelves or face a fine of €25,000 a day.

In the US market, Nestlé had already decided to call the product Awesome Burger, rather than Incredible Burger.

The company is appealing the decision, saying it is “disappointed” by the ruling as it believes “anyone should be able to use descriptive terms such as ‘incredible’ that explain the qualities of a product.”

Impossible Foods said it was grateful the court had supported its efforts to protect its brand “against incursion from a powerful multinational giant.”

READ MORE: Nestlé’s burgers are Sensational and Awesome, but not Incredible (£)

WFA launches data ethics guide for brands

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has launched a guide on data ethics in advertising, designed to help brands use data ethically across their organisations.

The Data Ethics – The Rise of Morality in Technology guide is designed to encourage companies to go beyond simply following the rules on data privacy and recognise the importance of addressing the gap between what they can do and what they should do.

The guide outlines four key principles that should underpin any data ethics approach. The first is that all data usage should respect the people behind the data and companies must use consumer data to improve people’s lives.

Secondly, data usage should aim to be inclusive, acknowledge diversity and eliminate bias rather than dividing groups. Next, brands should be accountable, as consumers expect companies to have open and transparent data practices backed up by robust global and local governance.

Lastly, brands must be transparent and work towards more open and honest data practices, particularly as AI and machine-learning approaches start to automate decisions.

The launch of the guide is backed by a WFA survey of 147 senior brand executives, which finds that 74% of CMOs say data ethics will be more important to their role in the next five years, especially as data privacy issues have risen up the agenda during the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey also found that 82% of marketers would consider leaving their current employer if they felt the approach to data was not ethical.

“The benefits and critical importance of data-enabled tech have been more evident of late than ever before,” says WFA CEO, Stephan Loerke. “But we should not default to an attitude of ‘because we can, we should’ in terms of data usage. The ad industry needs to have a conversation on data that distinguishes ‘the right to do something’ from ‘doing the right thing’.”

Bumble ad celebrates the value of connection during lockdown

Women-first social networking and dating app Bumble has launched a new campaign celebrating the importance of connection during lockdown.

Produced in collaboration with creative agency Mother, the 30-second ‘Time to Connect’ film shows the ways priorities have changed before and after lockdown, contrasting the frantic pace of ‘normal’ life with the slower pace of life during the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea is to show the way people are using this period in their lives to enjoy “deeper and more meaningful connections”.

Research from Bumble found that one in five of its more than 95 million users have been virtually dating during lockdown, with 46% saying lockdown has shown them the reward of spending more time getting to know people.

During lockdown, Bumble has seen a significant rise in the use of its in-app video and voice calling features. In the UK, there has been a 42% increase of in-app video calls since mid-March.

“This campaign is all about reflecting on the many ways our lives have changed and slowed down during these tough times,” says Bumble associate director of marketing, Naomi Walkland.

“Whether you’re speaking to friends, families, or loved ones, connections matter now more than ever. We wanted to highlight how our community is using this time to prioritise what matters most to them, and we hope that this video will remind people of all the great connections they’ve made and will continue to make.”

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