Tesco, British Gas, Aldi: 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.

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Aldi to increase UK workforce by 6,000

Aldi will hire 6,000 people in the UK this year, as it opens new stores and recruits staff for its distribution centres.

The new hires will represent a more than 10% increase in Aldi’s UK workforce, which currently consists of 40,000 people. The discount supermarket chain claims to have invested £700m in expansion last year and is planning new stores in towns and cities such as Norwich and Newcastle.

Last year saw Aldi overtake Morrisons as the UK’s fourth-biggest supermarket by market share, as shoppers turned to the discount chain during the cost of living crisis. The retailer claims to have attracted 1.3 million new customers in the last three months alone.

“Demand for Aldi has never been higher as more and more people realise they can make significant savings on every shop without compromising on quality,” says CEO Giles Hurley.

“It’s more important than ever that we are making it even easier for more people to shop with us – including by opening dozens of new stores.”

Renault CEO warns Tesla discounts negatively affect electric vehicles market

Renault’s CEO has warned Tesla’s decision to cut the prices of its electric vehicles damages confidence in the wider electric vehicle market.

Last month Tesla cut prices by as much as 20% globally, extending a discounting strategy it was already pursuing. Renault CEO Luca de Meo told investors yesterday (16 February) the discounts are impacting customer confidence in the value of their electric vehicles.

“I hope that [Tesla] continue to reduce to zero, but we will continue to protect the value of our electric vehicles,” he said. “This is destroying value for the customer, for sure, when you do this.”

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson has also criticised Tesla’s discounting strategy and accused the electric vehicle brand of damaging the bond of trust it had with its customers.

“Hundreds of Tesla customers are rightfully up in arms because the car they purchased a few weeks ago can now be bought for much less and its resale value has declined too,” he wrote last month.

The comments from de Meo suggest Renault is unlikely to be swept up in a price war. He made them as the car brand reported a dividend for shareholders for the first time in four years. The company’s operating margin also doubled compared to 2021, to 5.6%.

The brand has been on a process of rejuvenation, focusing on electric vehicles, fewer discounts and new launches.

“We are out of the emergency room and back in the game, ready to fly and to race,” De Meo said.

READ MORE: Renault chief warns Tesla price cuts damage confidence in electric cars

British Gas boss refuses to comment on bonus after record profits

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The CEO of Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, has refused to say whether he will waive a bonus which could be worth up to £1.6m, after the company generated record profits of £3.3bn last year.

Centrica’s full year profits for 2022 were more than triple those generated in 2021, after the Ukraine war pushed up oil and gas prices. Following the results, CEO Chris O’Shea could be in line for a pay package of more than £3m, including a bonus of as much as £1.6m.

Last year O’Shea waived his bonus of £1.1m, saying he could not accept it in good conscience “given the hardships faced by our customers”. However, in a call with investors yesterday (16 February), he would not be drawn on whether he would take one this year, claiming it was “too early to have a conversation”.

Details of his 2022 pay packet will be made public in an annual report published by Centrica next month. According to these annual reports O’Shea did not take a bonus in 2020 or 2019 due to the pandemic.

Campaigners have called on him to waive the bonus, given that millions of people now face fuel poverty.

The Trades Union Congress general secretary Paul Nowak said: “While millions of families struggle to heat their homes, firms like Centrica are raking in monster profits.”

READ MORE: Centrica boss refuses to say if he will waive bonus after ‘obscene’ £3.3bn profit

Tesco expands rapid delivery service

Tesco will roll out its rapid delivery service Whoosh to 800 UK stores by the end of the month.

The scheme was first established in 2021, and by the end of last year had been expanded to 600 stores. It aims to deliver groceries in between 30 minutes and an hour.

The service costs £2.99 for delivery of an order over £15, with an additional £2 charged if a consumer’s shop costs less. There is a more limited product range available on the Whoosh service than through a regular Tesco delivery shop.

The expansion of Tesco’s service comes as dedicated rapid delivery services struggle post-pandemic. Last year saw rapid delivery brand Getir acquire rival Gorillas in a major consolidation move for the market. In 2022, Getir laid off 14% of its global workforce.

Other companies such as Jiffy have wound up rapid delivery operations altogether. Last week Deliveroo, which offers rapid grocery delivery as well as fast-food delivery, announced it would be making around 9% of its workforce redundant.

READ MORE: Tesco makes huge change to 800 stores – and it means speedier service for customers

Uber Eats and Disney+ partner on campaign

Uber Eats is partnering with Disney+ UK on a campaign which links watching the streaming service with delivery occasions.

This is the first time Uber Eats has partnered with an entertainment brand in its UK marketing campaigns. The creative of the campaign will lean into Disney+ content such as ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘The Kardashians’,

It uses at-home photography to link delivery and the content together. The campaign will run across channels including out-of-home, social and non-traditional spots alongside online video.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Disney+ to help bring their iconic portfolio of series and films alive in our new brand campaign,” says Uber’s head of EMEA marketing, Can Akar.

“We hope this new collaboration will help drive sales for the 61,000 restaurants we work with across the country and spark some joy for Disney+ fans everywhere”

Thursday, 16 February

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Pernod Ricard to ‘accelerate’ marcomms spend after profit boost

Spirits giant Pernod Ricard is expecting further “acceleration” in advertising and promotional (A&P) spend in the second half of 2022, as the business reports notable uplifts in sales and profitability for the first six months of the year.

A&P has so far grown in line with net sales, but additional investment is coming to “fuel future growth” across Pernod Ricard’s brands, which include Absolut, Beefeater, Malibu and Jameson. Spend is expected to reach 16% as a percentage of net sales for the full financial year.

The alcohol business raised prices by 10% over the period without any significant impact on sales, which it attributes to the “strong equity” in its brands. Further price increases are planned in the second half of the year.

Sales in the first half reached €7.1bn (£6.3bn), marking organic growth of 12%. This was in part driven by a favourable foreign exchange impact of €355m (£316m), however.

In Europe sales rose 6%, including “very strong” performance in Western Europe and travel retail. All spirits segments underwent double-digit growth, with strategic international brands – including Jameson and Absolut – up 13%. Pernod Ricard’s strategic wines segment experienced a 2% decline, however, driven by a softened UK market.

Profit from recurring operations hit €2.4bn (£2.2bn), an organic growth of 12%.

Chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard says: “Our first half performance was very strong, marked by broad-based and diversified growth across all regions and categories. In addition, particularly strong pricing dynamic illustrates the attractiveness of our portfolio of premium brands and enabled us to sustain margins in an inflationary context.

“We will continue to invest behind our brands, our group-wide transformation and S&R strategy, deliver operational efficiencies and prepare for exciting future growth opportunities.”

NatWest CMO appointed to chair IPA agency effectiveness scheme

NatWest Group CMO and ISBA president Margaret Jobling has been appointed by the IPA to chair the judges of its 2023 effectiveness accreditation scheme for agencies.

The scheme recognises agencies which are actively taking steps to build an effectiveness culture. It also sends a signal to current and prospective clients that these agencies are working towards an environment which is more able to deliver targets.

The IPA Effectiveness Accreditation programme, founded in 2021, is judged by a panel of brand owners, academics, authors and effectiveness specialists. Jobling will lead this panel, which will examine four criteria across each IPA member agency – focus, people, process, and data, tools and measurement – in order to assess whether it is implementing an effectiveness culture.

Jobling has been president of ISBA, the body representing leading UK advertisers, since 2022. She has held the top marketing role at NatWest since 2020, and was last year recognised as Marketing Week’s Marketer of the Year. Before joining NatWest Jobling was CMO at Centrica Group, the owner of British Gas. She has also held marketing roles at FMCG brands including Cadbury and Birds Eye.

As she takes on her new role as chair of the accreditation programme, Jobling has encouraged agencies to apply.

“Agencies who achieve IPA Effectiveness Accreditation demonstrate themselves as true business growth partners to clients and show that they are committed to delivering the highest possible standards of service,” she says.

McDonald’s raises the price of five core menu items

McDonald’s has upped the price of five of its core menu items, citing increasing food and energy costs as the reason why.

The five items include a medium carbonated drink, triple cheeseburger, bacon double cheeseburger, bacon mayo chicken and mayo chicken. The increases in price range from between 10p and 20p, with the 99p mayo chicken to now cost £1.19.

The fast food giant raised the price of a cheeseburger for the first time in 14 years last summer, alongside other menu items such as breakfast meals. The price rises have seemingly done little to put off consumers, however, with 2022 sales rising 10.9% versus the year prior.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s told the BBC it is trialling a new ‘Saver Meal’ initiative at 120 outlets in the South East of England to allow consumers to purchase cheaper meal deals. The business said it is seeking “to understand if this could be an additional way to offer value to our customers”.

READ MORE: McDonald’s puts up prices on five menu items

Kraft Heinz pulls back on price hikes amid declining volume sales

Kraft Heinz is pausing further price increases in most of its markets, as the FMCG giant seeks a better “balance” between price rises and volume declines.

On an earnings call yesterday (15 February), CEO Miguel Patricio said: “As we look to the rest of the year, we have no current plan to announce new pricing in North America, Europe, Latin America and most of Asia.”

The owner of brands including Heinz, Philadelphia and Lunchables reported net sales growth of 10% in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, reaching $7.38bn (£6.1bn).

Growth so far has “all been driven by price”, global CFO Andre Maciel said. Prices rose by 15.2%, while volume sales declined by 4.8%.

“Volume is still negative. Obviously it improves throughout the quarters as we start to lap the prices, but even at the end of the year, it will still be negative,” Maciel continued.

“As we think about the future, it’s not the balance we want. We want a good balance as we think about top line growth between price and volume.”

EVP and president of the North America zone, Carlos Abrams-Rivera, added that the business is working to ensure it can reach all consumers by utilising its “full price size architecture” and providing options at every price point.

“We are also making sure that we continue to expand in the number of formats and price points that we offer within our categories to make sure we maintain the consumers that have been with us over the last couple of years,” he explained.

“Those consumers [who] are going to dollar stores, we’re actually improving the number of SKUs that we have available to them. So that way, there’s a point in which they can come into the category.”

The business swung to a profit in the first half, after reporting a loss of $255m (£212m) in the first half of 2022. Net income grew 447.9% to $887m (£736m), while adjusted EBITDA rose by 8.6%.

Tanqueray gin unveils first global brand campaign since 2018

Gin brand Tanqueray is launching its first global brand campaign in over four years, with the aim to bring its brand purpose “to life”.

Inviting consumers to ‘Live Magnificently’, the campaign encourages people to elevate everyday moments in a series of 10, 20 and 30-second TV and digital ads, created by Anomaly London.

The campaign will also run across outdoor media, showcasing moments from rooftop drinks with friends to sunset drinks on the beach. It rolls out across Great Britain, Northern and Southern Europe, North America, Australia and Brazil over the coming months.

Global brand director Nitesh Chhapru says: “We’re really excited to bring to life our brand purpose through the ‘Let’s Live Magnificently’ campaign.

“At the heart of the campaign is a simple idea that we all have the choice to turn any moment into something special with just a bit of inspiration and imagination, as we believe life is best served magnificently over a Tanqueray and tonic.”

Acccording to the Drinks List 2023, compiled by NielsenIQ and The Morning Advertiser, Diageo-owned Tanqueray was the third best-selling gin in the on trade in 2022, achieving 141.9% growth in value and a 139.7% increase in sales. The brand was pipped to the top spots by Gordon’s Pink Gin and Gordon’s original flavour.

In Europe, Tanqueray grew its overall organic net sales by 3% in 2022, offsetting a 1% decline in volume, according to Diageo’s most recent financial report.

Wednesday, 15 February


Airbnb’s earnings surge following ‘incredibly effective’ shift in marketing spend

Airbnb has reported its most profitable fourth quarter ever, two years after slashing its overall marketing investment and shifting spend from performance channels into brand building.

Adjusted EBITDA reached $506m (£417m) in the final three months of the financial year, up from $333m (£274m) a year prior. The profit boost came amid a 24% rise in revenues to $1.9bn (£1.6bn) over the period, Airbnb’s highest fourth quarter revenues to date.

For the full year, adjusted EBITDA hit $2.9bn (£2.4bn), up from $1.6bn (£1.3bn) in 2021, as revenues surged 40% to $8.4bn (£6.9bn). The business also reported its first full GAAP profitable year, with a 23% net margin and net income of $1.9bn (£1.6bn).

As revenues have increased, so has Airbnb’s sales and marketing spend. Over the year spend rose by 27.8% to $1.5bn (£1.25bn), including a 19.7% jump in Q4 spend to $490m (£337m). The vast majority of marketing spend remains in brand-building.

The travel accommodation business first announced it would be making a permanent cut to its overall marketing investment in February 2021, having noted that slashing spend during Covid had little impact on traffic. The cut meant shifting investment away from performance marketing and SEO into brand and PR.

PR is Airbnb’s “most important” channel, CEO Brian Chesky has said. Indeed, some 600,000 articles were written about the business in 2022 and nearly 90% of the platform’s traffic remains direct, he confirmed on a call with investors last night (14 February).

CFO Dave Stephenson added that the “strategic change” in marketing spend has proven to be “incredibly effective” from 2020 through to 2022.

The number of nights and experiences booked increased 20% in the fourth quarter to 88.2 million, and 31% over 2022 to 393.7 million.

The business expects to maintain its adjusted EBITDA margin in 2023, bar a slight decrease in the first quarter as the brand pulls marketing spend forward. Sales and marketing will be approximately 150 basis points higher as a percentage of revenue in the first quarter, but flat for the full year.

“We’re getting [out] even earlier in the year to make sure that we’re getting our message out to guests all around the world so they’re ready to make their bookings for [the] peak summer travel season,” Stephenson explained.

“We’re getting more efficient and effective at the timing, and we think bringing forward a little bit more marketing into Q1 is a more effective use of our dollars.”

Waitrose slashes prices across own-brand value range

Waitrose is investing £100m in reducing the price of over 300 own-brand products, as the premium grocer looks to boost its value credentials amid the cost of living crisis.

Nearly one third of the grocer’s lowest priced own-brand range ‘Essential Waitrose’ will undergo price cuts, including everyday basics such as carrots, tea and sausages. Prices will be reduced by 14% on average, while nearly a quarter of price cuts will reach 20% or higher.

“This means our customers can enjoy greater value in every shop, and by lowering prices in our Essential range we’re making our lowest prices even lower,” says Waitrose’s executive director, James Bailey.

Writing on LinkedIn, customer director Nathan Ansell teased the launch of a “bold campaign” today to promote the new lower pricing.

There are over 900 products in the Essential range, which is bought by nearly 70% of Waitrose’s customers, the grocer claims. On average customers buy more than four Essential items each time they shop.

Meanwhile, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows UK inflation slowed faster than expected in January, with prices rising at an annual rate of 10.1%. Economists had expected to see a rate of 10.3%, after a 10.5% reading in December.

Burger King US reports ‘early positive impacts’ from $150m marketing boost

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Burger King’s US business has seen “very good” early results from its recently launched ‘Reclaim the Flame’ plan, which includes investment of $150m (£123.3m) in advertising and digital over the next two years.

Parent company Restaurant Brands International (RBI) unveiled the new strategy in September last year, hoping to accelerate sales growth after falling behind rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s. The increased advertising spend, designed to “fuel the flame” and improve brand perceptions with more “engaging and relevant” ads, includes an annual increase of approximately 30% to Burger King’s media purchasing budget in the market.

So far the business has invested $9m (£7.4m), with a focus on brand communications to “reintroduce” customers to historical brand anchors, like the Whopper burger, ‘Flame Grilling’ and the classic ‘Have it Your Way’ jingle.

Speaking on a call with investors yesterday (14 February), executive chair Patrick Doyle said the business is seeing “early positive impacts” from its investments behind the Reclaim the Flame plan.

In the US, Burger King’s comparable sales grew 2.2% over the year to December 31 and 5% in the fourth quarter alone. Incoming RBI CEO Joshua Kobza added that the US business has also improved its share of voice and customer satisfaction.

In October the brand repositioned in the US with the tagline ‘You Rule’, playing on the chain’s royal mascot and iconic cardboard crowns to convey the idea that all Burger King customers are like royalty in its restaurants. The campaign brought back the Have it Your Way messaging.

“This is a truly iconic campaign highlighting one of our strongest brand equities… We’ve already seen early indications of success from this campaign, including sequential improvements in brand health metrics like top preference during the fourth quarter,” Kobza said.

“We are excited by the momentum in the business. I think we’re getting a lot of things right… The early results are certainly very good.”

Overall, Burger King experienced system-wide sales growth of 14.3% in the year to $25.5bn (£20.9bn), up 11.8% in the fourth quarter alone to $6.6bn (£5.4bn).

The QSR chain reported ‘rest of the world’ comparable sales of 15.9% for the year and 11% for the quarter, amounting to comparable sales growth for the brand globally of 9.7% and 8.4%, respectively. The UK recorded double digit comparable sales growth versus 2019.

The Reclaim the Flame plan also includes a $30m investment through 2024 to improve the Burger King app, including enhancing the Royal Perks loyalty program.

ASA bans life insurance ads featuring serial killer Harold Shipman

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two paid social media ads from life insurance brand DeadHappy, both of which featured an image of serial murderer Harold Shipman.

Shipman, a former British doctor, is estimated to have murdered between 215 and 260 of his patients between 1975 and 1998. DeadHappy ads on Facebook and Instagram included his image with overlaying text, reading: “Life insurance… Because you never know who your doctor might be.”

Posted in January, the ads sparked 115 complaints to the advertising watchdog. The complainants argued that the ads could cause “serious and widespread offence”.

Agreeing, the ASA says the ads “trivialised” and “made light” of the murders committed by Shipman and could be distressing, particularly to the family and friends of victims.

“We concluded that the ads were not prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society and did not comply with rules on issues of harm and offence,” the ruling says.

DeadHappy, which removed the ads within 24 hours of posting and has apologised for any distress caused, has promised to review its advertising creation and approval processes as a result.

The ad watchdog also banned a Facebook ad for meal replacement brand Huel this week, due to “misleading” claims about its products helping customers to save money on their food shops.

“We told Huel Ltd to ensure that their ads did not state or imply that eating Huel for all meals instead of a ‘traditional’ diet was cheaper, unless they held adequate substantiation,” the ASA says.

Ford to cut one fifth of UK workforce

American car manufacturer Ford is planning to reduce its total UK workforce by a fifth over the next two years, amounting to 1,300 jobs.

According to the BBC, cuts will mostly be made among development staff, with the research site in Dunton, Essex expected to be hardest hit. Several hundred back-office jobs at sites across the country are also expected to go.

The layoffs come as part of plans to cut 3,800 jobs across Europe, as the business struggles with the uncertain economic outlook. On top of that, Ford is preparing a major transformation in its business, with plans for all of its cars built in Europe to be fully electric by 2030.

“We are completely reinventing the Ford brand in Europe. Unapologetically American, outstanding design and connected services that will differentiate Ford and delight our customers in Europe,” said Martin Sander, head of Ford’s electric vehicles division in Europe.

Meanwhile, the brand is moving away from its mass-market positioning of affordable cars, instead focusing on a smaller range of higher end vehicles. Production has already ceased on Ford’s Mondeo range, while in June production of the once best-selling Fiesta line will come to an end.

READ MORE: Ford to cut one in five jobs in the UK

Tuesday, 14 February

Coca-Cola axes Lilt brand after 50 years

Coca-Cola is scrapping soft drink brand Lilt, instead rebranding it as Fanta Pineapple & Grapefruit.

The Lilt brand has been around for more than 50 years, with its tagline “totally tropical taste” made famous by its advertising. Notable ads include ‘Here Comes the Lilt Man’ from the 1980s, who parodying the milk man would deliver the drink from his ‘Lilt float’ on the beach.

Meanwhile, in the 1990s it was the ‘Lilt Ladies’ Hazel Palmer and Blanche Williams who starred in a series of ads, all of which leaned heavily on humour.

Coca-Cola has said Lilt will be replaced with the Fanta alternative from today (14 February) but the taste and ingredients will remain the same.

“Our main priority with this announcement is to reassure Lilt’s loyal fan base that absolutely nothing has changed when it comes to the iconic taste of the drink they know and love,” Fanta brand manager Charlotte Walsham says. “It’s just got itself a new name.”

Following the announcement many took to social media so show their love for the now defunct brand. One user said “Fanta ‘Grapefruit & Pineapple’ … I’m still going to call it Lilt. Just like I still call the chewy sweets in paper Opal Fruits!” tweeted one, referring to its rebrand to Starburst.

Another said “Farewell to Lilt. For some completely pointless reason they are rebranding it … Apparently nothing is allowed to be different these days.”

READ MORE: Lilt drink brand to be scrapped after 50 years and rebranded

BrewDog CEO admits hard seltzer launch was ‘dismal’

BrewDog CEO James Watt has warned brands against jumping on the latest craze, describing its attempt to tap into the hard seltzer and hot dog trends as “very costly mistakes”.

The brewer launched its hard seltzer brand Clean & Press in 2019 based on the fact category sales had been rising steeply in the US. Watt said BrewDog “waited for the seltzer phenomenon to hit the UK like it did in America. But nothing happened”. The product was available in UK grocery stores for six months before it was “unceremoniously delisted because of its frankly dismal rate of sale”.

Again looking to tap into a US craze, BrewDog also opened a hot dog restaurant called Dog Eat Dog in London in 2015. But it was forced to close just five months after opening.

“Just quite what [we] were doing opening a hot dog restaurant I am still not sure,” he said.

Writing on LinkedIn, Watt said he now puts any new ideas through the ‘BrewDog Focus Test’, which is made up of two questions. Firstly, is it completely aligned with the brand’s core mission? And secondly, can BrewDog do it better than anyone else in the world? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then he says “let’s not waste our time”.

“In any business it is so important that you focus hard on what matters most and it is vitally important that you focus on what you are most passionate about,” he said.

“The BrewDog Focus Test was born from the wreckage of our attempts to execute on something non-core. Ever since 2019 it [has] been pinned to the wall in my office and central to all our strategic thinking.”

In 2021, BrewDog has rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for making unfounded health claims about its Clean & Press hard seltzer.

TUI halves losses in Q1 as demand returns

TUI MW AwardsTravel firm TUI says demand for holidays is returning after posting group revenue of €3.8bn (£3.4bn) for the first quarter of its 2023 financial year. That’s €1.4bn (£1.2bn) more than the same quarter in 2022 when it stood at €2.4bn (£2.1bn), and above the €3.7bn (£3.3bn) in group revenue it made in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Over the quarter, 3.3 million customers travelled with the TUI, an increase of 1 million people versus the year prior. It is also 93% of the customer level recorded in Q1 of 2019 on a like for like basis.

However, profit has still yet to return, with group underlying EBIT for Q1 at -€153.0m (-£135m). This is up by €120.6m (£106.6m) on the same quarter in 2022 when it made a loss of €273.6m (£241.7m).

TUI has restated that it expects to increase underlying EBIT “significantly” during its 2023 financial year, supported by “encouraging” booking momentum.

It says all segments of the business are showing “strong improvement”. Its hotels and resorts division has reported a third consecutive quarter above 2019 levels and was up year on year. Cruises has reported its third positive quarter since the start of the pandemic, while the results of its markets and airlines segment were “well ahead of last year” supported by higher prices and volumes.

So far, the business has taken 8.7 million bookings across the winter and summer season, with “record” booking days noted online in both the UK and Germany during the quarter.

Overall booking volume over the past four weeks is now above pre-pandemic levels at +5% for winter 2022/23 and +10% for Summer 2023.

Brexit hit UK growth by £29bn, says Bank of England policymaker

The UK economy has been hit with a “productivity penalty” of £29bn thanks to Brexit, an external member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee has said.

This is equivalent to £1,000 per household and amounts to about 1.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to Jonathan Haskel who was interviewed by The Overshoot.

He said following the vote in 2016 much investment “stopped in its tracks” and that the UK’s productivity had “suffered much more” than other major economies as a result of Brexit.

The BBC says the Bank fo England has declined to comment and that it has yet to receive a response from the government.

READ MORE: Brexit hit UK investment by £29bn, says Bank of England policymaker

Samsung and Natural Cycles partner to offer temperature-based cycle tracking on smartwatches

Samsung has partnered with fertility app Natural Cycles to add advanced temperature-based menstrual cycle tracking capabilities to its smartwatches.

The collaboration combines Samsung’s sensor technology in its Galaxy Watch5 series with Natural Cycles’ fertility technology to help users gain more detailed insight into their menstrual cycle.

The skin temperature-based cycle tracking component will be available through the Samsung Health app on the Galaxy Watch5 and Watch5 Pro during the second quarter of 2023. It will be launched across 32 markets, including the UK, the US, France, Germany and Ireland.

Samsung says the partnership demonstrates its “open collaboration philosophy” to create better health experiences.

Dr Raoul Scherwitzl, co-founder and co-CEO of Natural Cycles, says: “The Natural Cycles app has helped millions of women around the world take control of their fertility and this partnership will allow Samsung to leverage our fertility technology to offer temperature-based cycle tracking through a smartwatch for the first time.”

Monday, 13 February

Lush launches campaign with charity Galop urging government to ban conversion therapy

Lush has launched a campaign with the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop calling on MPs to introduce legislation to “fully protect LGBT+ people from so-called ‘conversion therapy’”.

Lush store windows until 16 February will feature designs calling for the protection of members of the LGBT+ community from practices aimed at changing or supressing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The campaign follows from research by Galop, with YouGov, which found almost one in five (18%) of LGBT+ people in the UK had experienced someone trying to “change, ‘cure’ or suppress” their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Inside Lush stores, customers will be able to scan a QR code allowing them to send a Valentine’s e-card to MPs, encouraging them to “have a heart and ban ‘conversion therapy’”. Customers can also sign a Valentine’s Day card in Lush stores that will be sent to MPs after the campaign too.

Coinciding with the campaign, Lush is selling heart-shaped washcards to raise funds for Galop’s helpline.

2022 pub closures almost highest in a decade

Closures hitting UK pubs and bars in 2022 almost reached the highest level in a decade, with 512 businesses closing.

This number was up 56% on 2021’s level, which is being attributed to the support the companies received during the pandemic, according to an analysis of Insolvency Service data by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, reports the FT.

The annual bankruptcy rate over the last ten years is 466, and the number of licensed venues in the UK has fallen by 15% in the last decade. It was 2013 which saw the highest closure rate in the decade, with 551 pubs and bars closing that year.

In July last year, pub chain JD Wetherspoons said it had substantially increased its marketing spend to encourage customers back in to its pubs post-pandemic. In its Q4 2022 financial results, announced in January, sales were still 2% down on pre-pandemic levels, with the chain announcing a raft of pub closures.

READ MORE: UK pub closures in 2022 near to highest level in a decade (£)

Yahoo to cut 20% of workforce as it restructures advertising business

Yahoo has joined the raft of tech firms introducing mass layoffs in recent weeks, with the company announcing a 20% cut by the end of next year. 1,000 employees will be immediately impacted this week.

Yahoo’s current workforce stands at around 8,600.

The redundancies are being tied to the company’s advertising function, as the business looks to streamline its operations.

“These decisions are never easy, but we believe these changes will simplify and strengthen our advertising business for the long run, while enabling Yahoo to deliver better value to our customers and partners,” a spokesperson for the company says.

The company says its ads business strategy has “not been profitable”. The advertising restructure will create a new division, Yahoo Advertising, which will focus on its demand-side platform. Ad sales teams will now prioritise Yahoo owned and operated properties, such as Yahoo Finance, Yahoo News and Yahoo Sports, the company says.

The news comes after widespread industry layoffs announced in recent months, and following Disney’s announcement last week of its plans to cut 7,000 jobs.

READ MORE: Yahoo to lay off 20% of its workforce by the end of the year

Milliways campaign highlights ‘absurdity’ of plastic in chewing gum

Plastic-free and plant-based chewing gum brand Milliways has launched a campaign aimed at highlighting the “absurdity” of plastic in chewing gum.

‘Life in Plastic’ is the brand’s second campaign. The Valentine’s Day themed ad features a man waking up in a world made of plastic, as he prepares for a first date. The ad closes with the line: “Some things shouldn’t be made from plastic. Like your chewing gum.”

Milliways is rolling the campaign out across its digital channels, including TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The chewing gum brand launched at the start of 2021. Recognising the need to draw customers in to the brand while offering a range of information, head of brand and marketing Rosie Godard asks: “How do you create a captivating piece of content while getting people to retain a lot of new information about your brand?”

“It starts with humour,” she says, adding how most consumers might not realise traditional chewing gum contains plastic. “We want people to understand the impact than an action as simple as chewing a piece of gum can have on our bodies and the environment – and see how easy it is to make a change”.

Mars Wrigley factory fined in the US after two workers fell into chocolate tank last year

A Mars Wrigley factory in Pennsylvania has been fined after two workers fell into a tank of chocolate in June last year.

The fine, which amounts to around £12,000, was issued by the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, after the workers had to be rescued from the tank.

Regulators labelled the incident as “serious” in its report, citing how the workers were hired to clean the tanks but weren’t given adequate safety training.

“The safety of our associates and outside contractors is a top priority for our business,” said a Mars Wrigley the spokesperson. “”As always, we appreciate Osha’s collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review.”

READ MORE: Mars Wrigley factory fined after two workers fall into chocolate vat