YouTube videos spreading ‘misleading’ information on Covid-19 watched 62 million times
More than a quarter of the most popular coronavirus videos on YouTube contain “misleading or inaccurate information”, according to new study.
The BBC reports that in total the misleading videos have been viewed more than 62 million times. Among the false claims being spread in the most widely viewed English language coronavirus-related videos (as of 21 March), was the theory that pharmaceutical companies already have a Covid-19 vaccine, but are refusing to sell it.
The analysis by BMJ Global Health scored YouTube videos on whether they presented exclusively factual information about viral spread, coronavirus symptoms, prevention and potential treatments.
A third of the 19 videos found to include misinformation came from entertainment news sources, while national news outlets accounted for around quarter and 13% were uploaded by independent makers.
The research found videos from government bodies and health experts share “good quality, accurate information”, but are less widely viewed.
In a statement YouTube said it was committed to providing “timely and helpful information” during the pandemic and reducing the spread of “harmful misinformation”.
The video platform added that it has clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus and any content that disputes the existence or transmission of Covid-19 is in violation of YouTube policies.
Sainsbury’s rolls out one-hour bike delivery service nationwide
Sainsbury’s is rolling out its one-hour bike delivery service beyond London in a bid to ramp up its delivery capacity.
The Chop Chop service is launching in 20 cities including Brighton, Bristol and Manchester in collaboration with courier firm Stuart. By mid-June a total of 50 Sainsbury’s stores will offer the service, which enables customers to order up to 20 products from a tailored range of around 3,000 grocery and household items via the Chop Chop app.
Once the 50 store roll out is complete, around 3.2 million households will be able to get Sainsbury’s groceries delivered directly to their door within an hour.
The Chop Chop service was launched in London at the beginning of April and trials were conducted delivering from closed convenience stores for the first time. The supermarket says it has already more than doubled the number of customer orders it can fulfil from these stores as delivery slots are typically all booked by 10am. By rolling Chop Chop out across the country, Sainsbury’s is confident it will increase its delivery capacity by a further 400%.
The rapid expansion will support the retailer’s efforts to increase its total number of delivery slots to 600,000 per week.
“We are doing everything we can to feed the nation and offer our customers quick, convenient and safe ways to get their groceries,” says Sainsbury’s chief digital officer, Clodagh Moriarty.
“Demand for home grocery deliveries has never been higher and we have been receiving great feedback for Chop Chop, with customers really valuing the speed and convenience it brings. By rolling Chop Chop out to 50 stores in 20 cities across the country, even more customers can get what they need delivered to their door.”
Nike braces for fourth quarter hit as it begins to reopen stores
Nike has admitted the coronavirus crisis will have an impact on its business across Europe, North America and Asia during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The sportswear giant is beginning to reopen shops in the US, while all its owned-stores and 95% of its partner outlets in Greater China and South Korea have already opened their doors. While footfall is “progressing” in China and South Korea, it remains down on 2019 levels.
Nike has started reopening stores in more than 15 countries and reports that 40% of its owned stores in EMEA, 15% in Asia Pacific and Latin America, and 5% in North America are now open, although some are operating with reduced hours.
The closure of shops and department stores globally has impacted Nike’s wholesale business, meaning a “significantly lower” wholesale revenue, as the sportswear company is left with a higher level of inventory.
Nike is counting on ecommerce to boost sales, having experienced “continued strong” demand from online, with traffic and engagement on its mobile apps and website expected to partially offset declines in store sales.
“We are encouraged by the recovery we are seeing in Greater China and South Korea as we continue to deepen our connection to consumers,” say Nike chief executive John Donahoe.
“With our strong digital foundation, brand momentum and financial position, we believe this will be a catalysing moment that strengthens Nike’s long-term future.”
Amazon to sell ‘at cost’ face shields to general public
Amazon has drafted in engineers from its drone and hardware divisions to produce hundreds of thousands of face shields for doctors, which will also be sold at cost price to consumers in the US.
Medics will be able to buy the face shields initially, before the shields are made available to the general public.
Selling the face shields at cost to customers on its website will likely undercut independent sellers, some of whom – according to the BBC – are selling shields on Amazon’s marketplace for between $12 (£9.80) and $35 (£28.66).
Amazon says it has already donated 10,000 face shields in the US, with a goal to deliver 20,000 more. Elsewhere, Apple began sending face shields to hospitals in March and Space X, HP and Ford have also donated PPE to US medics.
Premier League told to show free-to-air games if it wants restart
The Premier League has been told it must be prepared to show some games on free-to-air TV and inject money into the Football League if it wants to restart the 2019/20 season in June.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden told the Premier League the government is “opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June”, on the condition that this includes “widening access for fans to view live coverage”. Dowden also wants to ensure that any money earned from resuming the league is pumped back into the “wider football family.”
While the Premier League is already in negotiations with broadcasters Sky and BT about how to show matches free-to-air if the season resumes, according to the Guardian the government’s preferred solution is for the remaining 45 matches not already covered by existing deals to be shown on freely accessible TV channels or via streaming platforms such as YouTube.
However, BT and Sky have already said they will need to be recompensed if they are not able to show the full range of matches previously paid for.
The government has also told the Premier League to factor in “solidarity payments” for clubs in the English Football League (EFL) down to grassroots level. It is understood that the EFL anticipates a £200m hole in club finances brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thursday, 14 May
Waitrose relaunches more sustainable Essential range
Waitrose is relaunching its Essential Waitrose brand to show the range in a more “fresh and modern” light that reflects the “quality and value” of its products.
More than 200 new and improved products from key categories such as skincare, yoghurts and frozen ingredients will be added to the range.
All of these have been reviewed in order to meet the retailer’s strategy of making all own-brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023. Waitrose has pledged to reduce Essential Waitrose packaging by 15% with a total saving of nearly 2,000 tonnes.
Key changes to the packaging include moving olives from glass jars to steel cans, saving 92 tonnes of glass packaging a year; removing zip seals from all dried fruit bags to save two tonnes of plastic a year and changing the packaging of chilled breads to save just short of 1.5 tonnes annually.
Waitrose has also removed the plastic dust guard from the opening of Essential tissue boxes, saving just over 2.75 tonnes of plastic a year, and making all frozen fruit bags fully recyclable to save almost 1 tonne every year.
“Our Essential Waitrose range has been created by experts to exhibit the standout quality and value that Essential Waitrose products have to offer,” says Essential Waitrose’s brand manager Kate Gibbs.
“Our aim is to offer the highest welfare, quality and value products which we know our customers expect. Supporting our farmers and suppliers remains a key priority and with the new design we hope our customers will be even more drawn to the range and the new products within it.”
Commercial radio reports record figures
Commercial radio has reported its largest audience yet, with 36.3 million listeners tuning in every week.
The sector’s average listening was also up year on year to 13 hours per week, according to the latest data from Rajar for Q1 2020, while share of listening was up from 45.7% in Q1 2019 to 47.8% in Q1 2020.
The results have been boosted by a higher than average share of digital listening, which now makes up 61.6% of all commercial radio listening.
Overall listening to radio remains strong, with 88.8% (48.9 million) of the adult UK population tuning into their selected radio stations each week in the first quarter of 2020, down only slightly from the 89.4% recorded for the same period last year.
Britons listened to a total of 988 million hours of radio each week in Q1, with the average listener tuning in for an average of nearly three hours a day (22.2 hours per week).
Online remains the fastest growing area for radio, with its total share of listening up from 11% in Q1 2019 to 14% in Q1 2020.
“Covering the beginning of the year, mostly pre-lockdown, these latest Rajar results for January to March show commercial radio hitting record numbers,” says Radiocentre’s CEO Siobhan Kenny. “Audiences’ high level of trust and increased availability during lockdown can only build on that.”
Tui urges travel to restart across Europe
The boss of Tui says European countries that have stemmed the spread of Covid-19 should “gradually open up” because “people want to travel”.
“The demand for holidays is still very high,” says chief executive Fritz Joussen. “Summer holidays in Europe can now gradually be made possible again – responsibly and with clear rules.
The travel firm, which is planning to reopen some hotels in Germany in the coming days, highlighted Austria, Greece and Cyprus as more viable destinations.
This is in spite of Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying earlier on in the week that “big, lavish international holidays” would not likely be possible this summer.
“Our integrated business model allows us to start travel activities as soon as this is possible again. The season starts later, but could last longer,” Joussen said. “For 2020, we will also reinvent the holiday: new destinations, changed travel season, new local offerings, more digitalisation.”
Buzzfeed to close UK news operation
Buzzfeed is closing its UK and Australian news operations due to pressures on its advertising-funded business model.
“For economic and strategic reasons, we are going to focus on news that hits big in the United States during this difficult period,” the online media firm said in a statement.
“Therefore, we will notify staff in the UK and Australia that we are not planning to cover local news in those countries. We will be consulting with employees on our plans regarding furloughs and stand-downs in these regions.”
Buzzfeed said it is still “investing heavily” in its news operation and will spend around $10m (£8m) more this year than it makes from the operation and $6m more in 2021.
M&S reopens cafes for takeaway
Marks & Spencer will reopen 49 of its cafes for takeaway hot drinks from today.
The cafes have been closed since 18 March, five days before Britain’s lockdown began, but the retailer has been trialling social distancing measures at five locations.
M&S says it has prepared “rigorous guidance” for colleagues and will have “extensive signage for customers so they can pick up their coffee safely”.
Staff have been asked to wash their hands every 30 minutes as a minimum and customers are being encouraged to use contactless card payments. Plastic screens have been installed at each till and hot drinks will be placed in a hatch under a screen for customers to collect and put on their own lid.
Wednesday, 13 May
Paddy Power jigsaw hopes to console football fans
Paddy Power has launched a jigsaw puzzle to help football fans who are missing the sport during the lockdown.
The puzzle, which consists of 500 pieces, depicts many of the beautiful game’s funniest moments – and a couple of the best footballer tweets.
It features everything from Phil Jones’ perfect facial expressions, to Chris Kamara’s famous commentary moment at Fratton Park and even Wayne Rooney’s attempt at boxing in the kitchen.
There’s also a special call-out for VAR, the time a beachball scored a goal and Paddy Power ambassador Peter Crouch’s famous goal celebration.
A Paddy Power spokesperson explains: “We’ve seen sourdough and banana bread making, made-up 5k run times, and even jigsaws plastered across our social media timelines during lockdown.
“Many people are turning to the humble puzzle to kill some time in their homes, and we figured why not marry that up with the absence of English football.
“Specifically, some of the funniest, wildest moments we’ve seen in the game.”
Advertising Association calls for government to be more ‘bold’
Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford says that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s confirmation that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of October is “a hugely positive step”.
Woodford believes the move will help thousands of companies in the marketing and advertising industry. But he also stresses the need for Downing Street to “be bold” and continue to find further ways to support business.
“One option we are considering with members is a tax credit scheme for advertising and marketing services to help accelerate consumer spending and boost economic growth,” said Woodford.
“Advertising is a proven engine of the economy with a return to GDP of £6 for every advertising pound spent.
“A stimulus to encourage businesses to spend more promoting their products and services to customers through advertising will have a positive impact on job creation and help ensure a swifter economic recovery.
“We also need to be certain that our workplaces are safe for all to return to.
“It is brilliant to see trade bodies like the Advertising Producers Association already publishing Covid-19 guidelines on how to manage a shoot to minimise risks – we expect more sector-specific guidance from different trade bodies across the industry as the days and weeks progress.
“We will continue to work closely with stakeholders and officials to make sure information on safer working for everyone in UK advertising is as clear and comprehensive as possible.”
ASA upholds complaint against Sky Broadband ad
The ASA has upheld a complaint that a TV ad for Sky Broadband was misleading, after the claim that the service was “the UK’s lowest priced superfast broadband” was challenged.
Sky said the claim used in the ad was “the UK’s lowest price superfast broadband with WiFi Guarantee or money back” and “To verify see sky.com/jansale”.
The media company said the web page also further clarified that it was only BT and Sky who sold Superfast broadband with a WiFi guarantee and included a table which showed that Sky offered those products for less than the corresponding BT products.
Sky also said that the ad needed to be considered from the perspective of the average consumer, who should be considered to be an interested viewer, who has made an effort to read the information in the superimposed text.
However, the ASA noted that the ad was presented as a series of short, sharp messages that appeared one after another in a sequence.
The messages were considered difficult to follow, with consumers being led to understand that “WiFi Guarantee or money back” was a feature of the product, but that Sky were separately claiming to offer the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband.
The ad will not be allowed to run again in its original form.
DMA publishes guide to address privacy concerns
The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and ISBA have published a seven-step ad tech guide.
Designed to help address the privacy challenges of real-time bidding (RTB) in programmatic advertising, it was produced in consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The guide will provide support for UK businesses actively engaged in the programmatic delivery of digital advertising to ensure they protect the rights of individuals.
The ICO identified a number of concerns relating to the protection of the rights of people through the use of RTB in the programmatic delivery of digital advertising.
DMA director of policy and compliance John Mitchison said building long-term trust and confidence in digital advertising is essential.
“Real-time bidding is an innovative means of delivering advertisements, but it currently presents a number of challenges to businesses and uncertainty about how to protect peoples’ rights.
“Our new guidance will help advertisers and marketers navigate their way through the complexity of RTB and to address the concerns highlighted by the ICO.”
April sees record fall in retail sales
The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, covering last month, shows a total sales decrease of 19.1% for the month.
That compares with a 2.4% increase over the same period last year and comprises the worst decline recorded since the monitoring began in January 1995.
UK retail sales increased by 5.7% on a like-for-like basis from April 2019, excluding temporarily closed stores, but including online sales.
Over the three months to April, in-store sales of non-food items declined by a total of 36% and by 17.3% on a like-for-like basis, worse than the 12-month total average decline of 11.5%.
Over the same period, food sales increased 6% on a like-for-like basis and 4.5% on a total basis, higher than the 12-month total average growth of 1.6%.
Over the three-months to April, non-food retail sales decreased by 4.4% on a like-for-like and 17.5% on a total basis, below the 12-month total average decline of 5.6%.
Online non-food sales increased by 57.9% in April, against an increase of 4% in April 2019, above the 12-month average growth of 8.5%.
British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson says the poor figures are clearly related to the lockdown, but are also a sign of longer-term problems.
“Coronavirus has accelerated many of the trends seen prior to the outbreak and it is likely that as the lockdown wears on, these new shopping habits, such as the trend towards online purchases, will become more entrenched for many consumers.
“While retailers have a lifeline through various government loans and support, they need to know this will continue beyond the current deadlines.
“Government should also step in to support on rents for those retailers still facing rent costs, despite little or no sales.
“Without this, businesses may be forced to close – threatening jobs and further harming local communities.”
Tuesday, 12 May
PepsiCo bolsters direct-to-consumer business with online store launches
PepsiCo has launched a direct-to-consumer business that includes two website which will sell its brands.
The first website, PantryShop.com, will allow customers to order bundles selling brands including Quaker, Gatorade, SunChips and Tropicana. PepsiCo says it curated the bundles based on meeting peoples homeworking and homeschooling needs.
The second website, Snacks.com, offers brands including Ruffles, Cheetos and Lays. Both websites were developed in-house and are currently only available in the US.
PepsiCo’s head of ecommerce says: “Over the past few years, PepsiCo has been working to be a faster, stronger, better company, one that is laser focused on meeting consumer needs and winning in the marketplace.
“Investing in ecommerce and digital capabilities and talent has been – and will continue to be – a big part of that effort. In these uncertain times, as more and more consumers are using ecommerce channels to purchase food and beverage products, PantryShop.com and Snacks.com offer shoppers another alternative for easy and fast access to products they love.”
Carlsberg launches digital platform to help people support their local
Carlsberg is launching a digital platform called ‘Love My Local’ that aims to support food and drink operators impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The platform enables pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes to safely sell food and drink to their local community for either take-out or delivery. Any business can sign up online, with customers also able to make online donations or invest in future events and experiences for when businesses reopen.
Created by Fold7, the site also offers video tutorials on how to set up trading and customisable social media toolkits
Carlsberg UK’s vice-president of on-trade Alistair Gaunt says: “Local pubs are at the heart of our communities in the UK and play a huge role, be that socially, culturally or economically. Without further ongoing support from the government and wider industry, many pubs and hospitality businesses are in jeopardy of being lost, alongside jobs.
“Love My Local is our small way of showing support for pubs, bars and restaurants.”
Marriott revenues slump as bookings fall
Marriott’s revenue per available room – a key indicator for the hotel industry – fell by 90% in April as the company was forced to close hotels and holiday makers and business travellers cancelled bookings.
In the first quarter, its revenue per available room was down 22.5% but the hotel chain is hopeful April “defined the bottom” for the company. It is expecting more hotel openings than closures over the next few weeks as many countries slowly ease out of lockdown.
“The glimmer of good news is negative trends appear to have bottomed in most regions in the world,” says CEO Arne Sorenson.
Net income fell to just $31m in the first quarter, from $375m a year ago, while revenue was down 7% to $4.68bn. Sorenson says he expects drive-to and leisure travel to pick up first, before long-haul.
Starbucks to begin phased reopening in the UK with drive-thru locations
Starbucks is starting a phased reopening of 150 drive-thru locations in the UK as the government eases restrictions around road travel.
The stores will begin opening from Thursday (14 May) with social distancing in place alongside increasing cleaning. Product on offer include most drinks but only a limited selection of food.
Starbucks closed all of its around 1,000 stores in the UK in March as the country went into lockdown. It has also been forced to close stores internationally but around 90% of its stores in China are now open while 85% of stores in the US are open for delivery.
Quick service restaurants – including KFC, Pret, Greggs and McDonald’s – are slowly reopening in the UK as they look to restart their businesses. But all are having to bring in new protocols to allow for social distancing to protect staff and customers.
Under Armour renegotiates sponsorships as it cuts back on marketing
Under Armour is renegotiating its sports contracts as it looks to reduce costs by cutting back on marketing spend.
The US sportswear brand says it is extending payment terms on sports marketing contracts, as well as “reducing certain marketing efforts” and shifting marketing spend to digital.
“We’ve got pretty good relationships with a lot of [sports marketing contracts and endorsements] assets and we have been moving our non-inventory vendors and relationships out a little bit further in payment terms, and sports marketing contracts are a part of that,” explains CFO Dave Bergman on a results call with analysts.
Under Armour’s revenues fell 23% year on year to $930.2m in the quarter ended March 31. It is warning that sales may be down between 50% and 60% in the second quarter as around 80% of its business has been forced to close in April and is only slowly starting to reopen.
Monday, 11 May
LinkedIn launches ‘Changemakers’ campaign
LinkedIn has launched a 12-month influencer campaign aiming to shine a light on a series of individuals who are looking to bring positive change to the workplace.
The Changemaker campaign will follow seven individuals who have been identified as leaders of conversations around the topics LinkedIn says are most important to its members. These include mental health, diversity, flexible working and the environment.
“Thoughtful conversations about the changing world of work have never been more welcomed or prevalent as we react to unprecedented times and collectively forge a new path forward,” says LinkedIn’s director of brand marketing for EMEA and LATAM, Darain Faraz.
“By supporting our Changemakers, we hope to explore how influential LinkedIn’s members can be in instigating genuine change on the workplace issues people care about the most, and the lasting impact they may have on future generations to come.”
The campaign includes a two-minute hero video introducing the Changemakers and their causes, as well as a series of shorter videos focusing on each individual.
Activity will run across all of LinkedIn’s digital channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, as well as the platform itself.
Morrisons and Amazon expand grocery delivery service
Morrisons and Amazon are extending their same-day online grocery delivery service to Prime members to cover most of London and more cities across the UK.
As part of increased efforts to feed the nation amid Covid-19, the service will increase from 17 Morrisons stores in eight cities to more than 40 stores by the end of May.
Prime Now customers in 90% of Greater London postcodes – as well as customers in the other 10 largest cities by population including Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Bristol – will be able to order their Morrisons on Prime Now and have their goods delivered by Amazon on the same day.
“Expanding this fast home delivery service to more cities will help us to play our full part in feeding the nation,” says Morrisons CEO David Potts.
“Through our conveniently located stores and the popular Amazon Prime Now service, more and more customers will be able to access deliveries to their doorstep at this very difficult time.”
Zoopla launches Fort Challenge competition
Zoopla is encouraging the nation to build their own home within a home with the launch of the #ZooplaForChallenge on Instagram and Facebook.
“Everyone has fond memories from childhood of building a fort at home, pulling together cushions from the sofa and cardboard boxes to make an impenetrable castle and keeping a pesky younger sibling at bay,” says Zoopla’s head of consumer marketing Rich Houston.
“The impact of coronavirus means many of us are spending much of the day at home and some of us have children to entertain. We hope our new campaign will brighten the day and encourage people to find that joy again.”
The campaign, which was created by Lucky Generals, will be promoted by a mix of influencers who have posted images and videos of their fort to their social media channels, accompanied by a Zoopla-style property description and the campaign hashtag.
The entries will be judged weekly by a Zoopla estate agent and Zoopla’s lead designer. Winners will each receive a £100 home improvement voucher and the overall winner will win a luxury UK mini-break in 2021.
Retail footfall sees greatest ever decline
Retail footfall declined by an “unprecedented magnitude” of 80.1% in April, according to the latest data from Springboard.
Retail parks fared best (down 68.1%) due to the presence of essential food stores, while high street footfall declined by 83.3% and shopping centres by 84.8%.
Despite lockdown restrictions, footfall strengthened slightly in the second half of the month, moving from an average of a 81.4% decline in the first two weeks to a 77.4% fall in weeks three and four.
Footfall shifted away from large towns and cities to smaller more local centres, which could offer local high streets a “window of opportunity” post-lockdown.
The 20 high streets with the most modest drops in footfall in April (each less than 60%) are all small centres. In contrast the 20 high streets with the greatest drops in footfall, which average 89.7%, comprise major city centres and large towns.
“In contrast to pre-coronavirus days when small high streets were facing an increasing struggle to attract shoppers, the path of recovery for retail may well be led by smaller high streets which can offer both safety and community benefits,” says Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle.
“For larger destinations, the emphasis on safety suggests that those environments that have the capability to control shopper numbers – such as retail parks and shopping centres – will be the next phase of recovery, followed by large towns and cities which inevitably face issues around pedestrian congestion.”
UK consumer confidence up one point
UK consumer confidence has increased by one point over the past two weeks, however consumer sentiment remains “severely depressed”.
According to GfK’s second Covid-19 flash report, overall confidence in the economy was at -33 between 20 and 26 April.
Consumers’ feelings about their personal financial situation over the last 12 months remained stable at -4, while the score for personal financial situation over the next 12 months increased three points to -11.
Feelings about the general economic situation over the last 12 months decreased four points to -48, while feelings about the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased three points to -53.
The major purchase index increased three points to -49, while the savings index increased nine points to 14.
“Despite a one-point improvement in our second COVID-19 flash report at minus -33, consumer confidence in Britain’s lockdown economy is still severely depressed,” says GfK’s client strategy director Joe Staton.
“However, we are recording small improvements in our personal finances and the wider economic picture for the next 12 months, key indicators when gauging optimism for our path to recovery. And although the majority of high street retailers have been closed since 23 March, we are also seeing a small pick-up in our major purchase index with a three-point increase, a possible indication of pent-up demand once business returns to the ‘new normal’.
“But in contrast to this, the nine-point spike in the Savings Index suggests cautious consumers are stashing money under the mattress over worries for the future.”