Unilever to restart advertising on Facebook and Twitter
Unilever is to begin advertising on Facebook and Twitter in the US again after a six-month pause.
The Ben & Jerry’s owner stopped advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as part of the #StopHateForProfit boycott in June, when major advertisers came together to pressure social media companies to tackle hate speech and fake news
Unilever will begin advertising in January after working closely with Facebook and Twitter over the past six months.
Unilever says it has seen “encouraging progress” in working with the platforms as part of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, of which Unilever is a founding partner.
The brand’s vice-president of global media Luis Di Como, says: “We have a unique role and responsibility to address the complexities of the social media ecosystem. Our long-term goal is to work with our partners and the industry to drive systemic change.
“We are encouraged by the commitments the platforms are making to build healthier environments for consumers, brands and society in alignment with the principles of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media. This is why we plan to end our social media investment pause in the US in January. We will continue to reassess our position as necessary.”
Coca-Cola to cut 2,200 jobs
Coca-Cola is cutting 2,200 jobs in its global workforce as part of a restructuring plan.
The bulk of the layoffs will be in the US, where it will shed 1,200 jobs, with approximately 500 job cuts coming from its global headquarters in Atlanta.
“The pandemic was not a cause for these changes, but it has been a catalyst for the company to move faster,” Coca-Cola said.
Coca-Cola had approximately 86,200 employees at the end of 2019 of which 10,400 were located in the United States.
Coke expects the job cuts to result in annual savings of between $350m and $550m.
The soft-drinks giant reported revenue of £6.4bn for its latest quarter results – a decline of 9% from a year earlier.
P&G pledges 2,021 acts of good for next year
Procter & Gamble is pledging to do 2,021 “acts of good” next year as part of a new corporate campaign.
‘Lead with Love’ sees the FMCG giant committing to actions across social, cultural and environmental issues. It will start with donating health, hygiene and cleaning products, PPE and financial support to help the people most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard says: “2020 has brought clarity to what matters and to the role that businesses and brands must play in society.
“With advertising that reaches people worldwide, we are choosing to use our voice at P&G and the voices of our brands to spark conversations, open hearts and inspire people everywhere to take action and to lead with love.”
The ambitious campaign begins with a film featuring images of babies and toddlers experiencing the eight emotions humans are born with – the most powerful of which, it says, is love.
Emotions will be shown online on Saturday, 19 December during the pre-show for the Global Citizen Prize, an awards ceremony that “celebrates the leaders among us who are taking action to create a world we want and to uplift the world’s most vulnerable people”.
P&G is one of three campaign partners of the awards that will be shown on Sky One.
86% of teens exposed to junk food ads on social media
The majority of teenagers are being exposed to junk food ads on social media, according to findings by Cancer Research UK.
Researchers asked 3,394 11- to 19-year-olds from across the UK where they had seen advertising that month for food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). With 86% seeing adverts for junk food on social media followed closely by TV adverts (84%) then out of home ads (82% ).
The research, which took place before lockdown, also showed that young people who reported greater awareness of junk food marketing also consumed more HFSS products.
Cancer Research UK’s senior policy manager, Malcolm Clark, says: “Digital platforms provide rich pickings for junk food brands looking for extra opportunities to tempt tech-savvy teenagers with their products. An end to online advertising of junk food would be a world-leading protective measure for young people’s health and wellbeing and reduce their risk of developing diet-related diseases, including cancer, later in life.”
The UK has some of the strictest junk food advertising restrictions in the world with the advertising industry arguing that underlying factors, such as poverty, rather than ads cause obesity.
Chelsea FC and Three call on fans to ‘support someone else’
Chelsea football club and Three are calling on fans to ‘support someone else’ this Christmas.
The campaign encourages sports fans across the country to reach out, pick up the phone, and provide support to people that you might not even realise are struggling after a tricky year.
Three UK is working with Chelsea FC to help shine a light on loneliness, isolation and mental health issues and show this impacts people across age and gender and is particularly prevalent at this time of year.
Three UK marketing director Aislinn O’Connor says: “As a brand with connectivity at its heart, we wanted to drive a clear message for us all to reach out and support one another this Christmas. Make that call you’ve been meaning to make. Send that message. Check-in on others. It may just be a small gesture but it could make all the difference.”
Chelsea managers Frank Lampard and Emma Hayes and players sent a message on social media to to remind fans the importance of connection.
Chelsea FC CEO Guy Laurence adds: “Everyone has had their struggles this year. While there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, we need to continue to support each other as much as we can.”
The campaign, created by Boys+Girls, is across Chelsea and Three social channels in the UK and Ireland.
Thursday, 17 December
John Lewis and Waitrose streaming live charity show
John Lewis and Waitrose are making their first venture into live entertainment with a festive show being streamed to raise money for the Home-Start and FareShare family charities.
‘Give a Little Love Live’ will be broadcast from a London studio on Friday at 6.30pm and will be presented by Jason Manford and Konnie Huq, with performers including the singer-songwriter Celeste, who sings on this year’s John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas ad.
There will also be an interactive quiz designed to find the nation’s Christmas superfan and a search for Britain’s best dressed Christmas home. Prizes will be on offer courtesy of sponsors Samsung, Nespresso and Ooni Pizza ovens.
Tickets are free, with some 25,000 households already signed up to watch the event, but there will be the opportunity to offer a donation to Home-Start UK and FareShare as part of the Give a Little Love initiative. The charities will use donations to help over 100,000 families in need this Christmas.
“We promised that this year’s Christmas campaign would be like no other, reflecting the unprecedented year we’ve all endured,” says John Lewis and Waitrose customer experience director, Peter Cross.
“This is our first departure into the world of live entertainment, but we’re kicking it off on an ambitious scale with a massive audience who will collectively celebrate the acts of kindness which have characterised 2020.”
Facebook hits out at Apple and speaks up for small businesses
Tech giant Facebook says that Apple’s iOS 14 policy will have a harmful impact on many smaller businesses that are already facing a tough challenge with the ongoing harm caused by the global pandemic and looming recession.
Apple is introducing the App Tracking Transparency feature to let users know when companies want to track them across apps and websites, in a bid to increase privacy.
However, Facebook vice-president of ads and business products, Dan Levy, says the move is more about increasing profits, with businesses forced to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue.
“They’re hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic,” claims Levy. “These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively.
“Our studies show, without personalised ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. We don’t anticipate the proposed iOS 14 changes to cause a full loss of personalisation, but rather a move in that direction over the longer term.”
He also accused Apple of not playing by its own rules, saying that its own personalised ad platform isn’t subject to the iOS 14 policy.
“For 20 years I’ve been working with small businesses; I’ve dedicated my career to helping these businesses grow,” Levy adds. “And what I have been privileged to witness first-hand is how the internet has fundamentally changed the trajectory for so many businesses and the people behind them.”
Bentley loses copyright ruling appeal
Luxury car brand Bentley has lost its appeal against a court ruling that found in favour of a Manchester-based company called Bentley Clothing.
In November of last year, the High Court ruled that Bentley Motors had infringed Bentley Clothing, meaning that the car company could not use the name Bentley on its UK clothing range.
Judges at the Court of Appeal said there was “no basis” for interfering with the ruling. Bentley Clothing director Chris Lees said that the car brand had “forced us into a costly legal battle that has been ruinous in many ways”.
The High Court action was launched in 2017 after years of negotiations, with Bentley Motors making unsuccessful attempts to cancel Bentley Clothing’s trademark, which it has held since 1982.
Boohoo co-founder pledges to fix supply chain failings
Boohoo co-founder and executive chairman Mahmud Kamani has told a group of MPs that he’s “determined to fix whatever’s gone wrong” after the online retailer was criticised for major failings in its supply chain and reports of poor working conditions and low pay.
Appearing before a parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee that’s looking into fashion sustainability, Kamani said: “We have made some mistakes but over the last 14 years we’ve got more right than wrong and we’re a very, very fast-growing business.
“I’m determined to fix whatever’s gone wrong and I understand things have gone wrong because of the fast-growing nature of this business.”
Last month Boohoo appointed retired judge Brian Leveson to independently check its “Agenda for Change” programme.
“We recognise in this industry, when we’re dealing with an independent factory who’s not owned by us… some of them don’t play with a straight bat as it were. But we try our best to make good,” Kamani added.
Ericsson creates 800 UK jobs after Huawei tech ban
Swedish telecoms brand Ericsson says it’s aiming to make 800 new UK jobs available in build engineering, product management and field operations as it rolls out 5G technology.
The ban on Huawei technology has opened up the opportunity for more work at Ericsson’s proposed ‘5G centre of excellence’, to be opened at its Coventry offices.
“Investment in 5G technology is fundamental to the future of the UK and as a global leader in 5G, we are putting in place all of our technology and expertise to deliver a cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure that will support the growth of new jobs, kick start the UK economy and create a platform of unparalleled innovation,” says Ericsson’s chief executive in the UK and Ireland, John Griffin.
The company currently employs 2,500 people in the UK.
Wednesday, 16 December
Facebook to shift UK users onto US terms post-Brexit
Facebook plans to shift all UK users onto agreements with its California-based headquarters once Britain leaves the EU in January.
While currently UK users are governed by agreements with Facebook’s HQ in Dublin under EU terms, fears are that the switch to US terms could put users in Britain beyond European privacy laws. Users will be notified of the change via an update to Facebook’s terms of service in the first half of 2021, the BBC reports.
In a statement to Reuters, the social media giant said it was responding to Brexit by “transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc”. It claims there will be no change to privacy or the services it offers UK users.
Post-Brexit, UK Facebook users will remain subject to UK privacy law, which is expected to largely mirror the EU’s GDPR standards. However, there are concerns from privacy groups that in a bid to secure a free trade deal with the US, the British government may be tempted to adjust the current protections to reflect America’s weaker privacy laws.
Lidl ads banned for making ‘unsubstantiated’ RRP claims
Multiple ads for Lidl products have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making “unsubstantiated” claims about recommended retail prices (RRP) in a bid to show the savings offered by the supermarket.
Rival Aldi complained that the quoted RRPs “differed significantly” from prices at which the items were generally sold and therefore challenged whether the RRP claims were “misleading”.
The adverts in question included a leaflet featuring a Kenwood electric juicer priced at £14.99 with an RRP of £32.99, another leaflet showing a Sony DAB+ Radio (Lidl price of £49.99, RRP of £60.00) and two national press ads promoting a Salter toastie maker (£14.99, RRP of £49.99) and Black and Decker cordless strimmer (£69.99, RRP of £99.99).
Lidl appealed, explaining its approach to RRPs was based on the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s guidance and all RRPs featured in the ads were based on information provided by manufacturers. The supermarket also provided screenshots from manufacturers’ and competitors’ websites showing RRPs for the products from around the time the ads were published.
The ASA concluded that consumers would understand the RRP claims in the ads to be the price recommended by the manufacturer and at which retailers generally sold the goods across the market. For the Kenwood juicer, the regulator found that as that particular model was no longer on the market it was not possible to demonstrate the price at which it was generally sold.
Likewise, the ASA ruled that RRPs set by the manufacturer did not constitute evidence they were the prices at which those products were generally sold and found in some instances Lidl provided only one or two other examples of a product being sold at the price claimed in its ads.
As a result, the regulator ruled that the RRP and savings claims made in the ads had “not been substantiated and were misleading”. The adverts cannot appear again in the form they were complained about and the ASA has told Lidl to ensure future references to RRPs reflect the price at which the products are generally sold. The supermarket has also been instructed to hold “adequate evidence” to substantiate its savings claims.
Dixons Carphone online sales soar 114% amid lockdown
Online sales of electricals at Dixons Carphone increased by 114% to £1.8bn in the half year to 31 October, as the lockdown boom caused digital sales to soar by 145% to £1.3bn in the UK and Ireland alone.
In the run up to Christmas, like for like sales of electricals remain strong, up 16% in the six weeks to 12 December.
During the six months to 31 October, the company made a statutory profit before tax of £45m, compared to a loss of £86m during the first half of the 2019/20 financial year. Dixons Carphone estimates that since the start of the pandemic store restrictions in the UK and Ireland have had a £155m impact on profit before tax.
During the same period, the company has benefitted from £103m in furlough payments and business rates tax relief. The retailer put employees on furlough during the first national lockdown, but did not use the scheme during England’s second lockdown. Leaders in the business have also taken salary cuts and waived bonuses.
Group chief executive, Alex Baldock, says the business has grown sales and profits, as well as preserving its “market leadership” and accelerating its transformation in the UK. The company has, for example, launched a “suite of enhanced and more efficient marketing tools” aimed at making “in store marketing faster”.
“We’re winning online and have triple-digit growth, and rapid market share gains to show for it. Still, most customers prefer to buy technology through a mix of online and in store, and we’ve innovated fast to bring the best of both digital and physical shopping to every customer,” says Baldock.
“In particular, ShopLive 24/7 live video shopping points to a retail future where every customer online can get face-to-face advice from an expert store colleague.”
He credits the business with continuing to build “lasting and valuable customer relationships” via the “spectacular” growth of its Customer Club membership. While the outlook remains uncertain, Baldock believes the pandemic has proven the strength of Dixons Carphone’s strategy.
“Our strategy has been stress-tested as never before, we’ve had one arm tied behind our back versus our competitors, and we’ve responded with stronger performance and an accelerating transformation. I’m more confident than ever that we’re on the right path to create a world class business for colleagues, customers, shareholders and society,” he adds.
Refuge launches donation drive via video conferencing backdrops
Refuge hopes to raise vital funds for women and children suffering from domestic abuse by turning video conferencing backgrounds into donation spaces.
The new ‘Background of Support’ backdrop can be downloaded by anyone and used as a background on video calls to show support for Refuge. It features a powerful statistic on the number of women who experience abuse every year in relation to the minutes spent on video calls and a built-in QR code that prompts viewers to donate to Refuge.
The fundraising campaign, devised by BBH, looks to turn this previously overlooked media space into a donation driving mechanism, enabling Refuge to mobilise a network of supporters and raise funds for survivors of domestic abuse.
The campaign launches with a film featuring Oscar-winner and Refuge patron, Olivia Colman CBE, along with Refuge supporters, who explain the new fundraising feature and how the public can get involved. Alongside the film, the background asset will also be visible at prominent outdoor sites nationwide and will feature a QR code enabling the public to donate to Refuge.
With one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime and two women being killed every week by a current or former partner in England and Wales even prior to the onset of Covid-19, support is more necessary than ever, says Refuge director of communications Lisa King.
“We hope that, as we reach the end of the year, people will show their festive spirit and support this simple action by lending ‘the background of support’ to their video calls,” she adds. “Taking this simple action will raise both awareness and vital funds. It’s a powerful idea but that will change lives and will help us keep the doors to our services open into the new year.”
Burger King throws its weight behind local restaurants
Burger King UK is showing solidarity with independent restaurants ahead of the festive season, as more regions of England are put into stricter Tier Three restrictions.
The fast food giant is dedicating its Instagram feed to independent restaurants being forced to close their doors and switch to takeaway under the Tier Three rules. In a statement, entitled ‘There’s more to life than the Whopper’, Burger King says that until they can reopen independent restaurants can “advertise for free” on its Instagram page.
To take part, restaurants are being invited to share a picture of their signature dish with the hashtag #WhopperAndFriends.
Tuesday, 15 December
Tech giants face multibillion-pound fines for spreading harmful content
Tech firms including Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp could face multibillion-pound UK fines if they fail to remove illegal or harmful content from their platforms, as the UK enters a “new age of accountability”.
It comes as the government publishes its long-awaited plans for online safety legislation and sets out “duty of care” requirements for social media companies.
UK media regulator Ofcom will be able to enforce penalties of up to £18m or 10% of a company’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. This is higher than the 4% previously outlined by the government.
The independent regulator will also be able to block non-compliant businesses from the UK and impose criminal sanctions against senior leaders for repeatedly breaking the rules. However, this would be a last resort and only come into force if fines and other deterrents failed to work.
As part of the UK’s Online Safety Bill, tech platforms will be assigned to categories based on the type of service they provide. Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter will be at one level, while dating apps and private messaging apps will be categorised as a lower burden.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says: “We are entering a new age of accountability for tech to protect children and vulnerable users, to restore trust in this industry and to enshrine in law safeguards for free speech.”
Adidas mulls Reebok sale
Adidas could sell off the Reebok brand as part of the development of its new five-year-strategy.
The German sportswear giant, which bought Reebok for $3.8bn (£2.85bn) in 2006, has made no firm decisions yet and says it will confirm the brand’s future in March.
A number of names have already emerged as potential buyers, including private equity firm Permira, owner of Dr Martens, and VF Corp, which owns Timberland.
Reebok’s revenue grew by 4% to €1.7bn in 2019, generating 7% of Adidas’ total annual sales. The company attributed its 2016 turnaround plan ‘Muscle Up’ for reviving the Reebok brand and increasing sales and profits.
BT kicks off campaign to combat loneliness
BT has enlisted Gary Barlow, Rio Ferdinand, Clare Balding and Rylan Clark-Neal to help tackle loneliness as part of its +1 campaign.
Through the initiative, BT is urging people to re-engage with someone they care about via a video call or message, all the more important as loneliness is on the rise as a result of the pandemic.
The campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi is part of BT’s wider ‘Skills for Tomorrow’ programme, which is designed to help people make the most of digital technology.
The brand will be launching a series of short films, kicking off with Gary Barlow and Rio Ferdinand, with videos from Clare Balding and Rylan Clark-Neal coming later in the week.
BT is also launching its +1 hub, which features tips and resources from UK charities on how to beat loneliness and guides on using different tech to reconnect.
BT’s consumer division CEO Marc Allera says: “We are in a unique position to help millions of people reconnect and provide them with guidance on the best ways to do that. With the help of some of our celebrity friends, we are encouraging people to reach out and reconnect with one person they’ve lost touch with, whether it be an old friend, family member or colleague, over text, phone or video call, WhatsApp, a voice note or even through virtual gaming, to help beat loneliness.”
Made.com gives staff stake in business as sales pass £1bn
Homeware business Made.com has given all staff a stake in the business to mark 10 years of growth as sales over the past decade pass the £1bn mark.
All 650 employees will receive the same number of share options vesting in equal tranches over the next three years to recognise the “commitment and sacrifices” made during the pandemic. This excludes senior management.
Made.com CEO Philippe Chainieux says: “There have been many challenges for the retail sector this year, but I am proud to say that thanks to the structure of our business and the tireless efforts of our people, we have emerged from the crisis in a very strong position.
“The share options are a way of saying ‘thank you’ to colleagues for their past efforts but also a way to give them a stake in the exciting future we see for our brand.”
Made.com has posted a 22% increase to £212m for its 2019 financial year and says it has continued to see strong trading this year despite having to close its showrooms across Europe.
Chainieux says Covid-19 has caused rapid acceleration in the shift to online, with changes it had expected to take place over four or five years happening in a matter of months.
Guinness unveils first ad for draught can for over a decade
Guinness has launched an ad for its Guinness Draught can for the first time in more than a decade as drinking moves from pubs to the home.
The 20-second TV ad created by AMV BBDO shows how to pour the perfect pint from a can and is part of a wider campaign that also includes video-on-demand, out of home, social and radio.
The brand will put substantial media investment behind the campaign in December and refresh the messaging with a renewed push in the new year.
Guinness GB head Neil Shah says: “The popularity of Guinness Draught Beer in a can has naturally increased in recent months and we wanted to celebrate that despite Christmas being different this year, Guinness Draught doesn’t have to be.”
Monday, 14 December
Netflix pledges to increase programming diversity
Netflix’s vice-president of original series Anne Mensah says the streaming service is determined to serve diverse audiences and is working to sign up UK talent to “amplify British voices globally”.
“We’ve got to get to a place where if somebody is doing something that doesn’t take an inclusive approach that should be surprising to you,” Mensah told the Guardian. “It should be like washing your hands; it should be just what you do.
“Our audience is diverse – why wouldn’t you make shows for everyone around the world?”
Netflix plans to double its UK programme budget and said last month it would begin declaring its revenues from British subscribers to the UK tax authorities.
“It’s so important to work with brilliant British talent and I couldn’t be more excited about the people we’re working with. And it’s important to support the industry and, as far as we can, be a force for good.”
US retail operator in Arcadia and Debenhams takeover talks
Authentic Brands, the owner of New York department store Barneys, is reportedly readying for a takeover bid for both Debenhams and the Arcadia Group.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is also in negotiations to buy the failed Debenhams department store brand, having apparently already cooled off its interest in Arcadia.
There were reports over the weekend that Primark owner Associated British Foods is also interested in buying up Arcadia, which is set to be broken up after falling into administration, with Marks & Spencer, Next and River Island also mentioned as potential buyers.
However, US retailer Authentic Brands is the first to express an interest in buying out both of the troubled high street names. There is some crossover between the two business, with Arcadia the largest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.
McLaren sells stake in F1 team to consortium
A 15% stake in McLaren Racing is to be sold to a group of US-based investors, in a deal that will value the British racing team at £560m.
After a few troubled seasons, McLaren is back challenging in F1, on course for a third place in the constructor’s championship for the first time since 2012.
The investment, reportedly around £185m of equity, will give the celebrated motorsport brand some welcome relief after it was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The consortium will initially acquire a 15% stake in McLaren Racing, rising to 33% by the end of 2022, according to one source.
The deal does not affect the ownership of McLaren Automotive, the division of McLaren Group which makes luxury road cars.
Hellmann’s gaming campaign aims to combat excess leftovers
As part of its mission to reduce food waste, Hellmann’s UK is launching its very own ‘Island’ in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing video game.
Players can explore the island’s festive attractions and, for each spoiled turnip dropped off, Hellmann’s will make a financial donation to distribute the equivalent of two real meals for people in partnership with FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste.
To remind players to be more conscious of their own food waste, Hellmann’s has launched a collection of Ugly Christmas Jumpers for players to collect and wear in the game. Jumper designs have been inspired by common Christmas leftover foods such as turkey and broccoli, and come with recipes to help people turn those leftovers into delicious meals.
As part of the campaign, keen Animal Crossing gamer Stephen Fry has come up with a nut roast toastie recipe to inspire players to make the most of Christmas leftovers.
“We’re huge fans of the incredible work FareShare does, and through the new Hellmann’s island, our aim is to donate 50,000 meals for people in need this Christmas,” says Hellmann’s senior marketing manager Rachel Chambers. “We hope Animal Crossing players have fun exploring attractions on the Island while dropping off their spoiled turnips.”
Pizza Express launches game to bring families together
Pizza Express has launched ‘Getting To Dough You’, an interactive game based around conversation starters designed to bring families closer together at mealtimes.
Designed by content agency Creature Media, the game challenges family members to discuss topics like ‘What’s the best thing about spending time with your family?’ and ‘List three things you love about the person to your left’.
A recent YouGov report found children who eat with their family develop important social skills and are less likely to be obese and truant from school.
Getting To Dough You is part of Pizza Express’s Piccolo Corner, a digital platform for various games and educational activities to entertain the whole family.