Co-op signals online move as digital director takes on ecommerce
The Co-op has extended the role of its head of digital to include ecommerce for the first time, a clear indication it is eyeing the opportunity of selling online.
Chris Conway, who joined the business last year having previously been Asda’s senior director of grocery ecommerce and Morrisons’ head of online, is now head of digital and ecommerce at The Co-op, according to The Grocer, a change that was made this week.
The retailer is also advertising for project managers to “help land some massive changes across the business”, according to the report.
The Co-op currently offers free home delivery for goods bought at selected stores but the only way to buy items online is through a trial using delivery robots at one branch in Milton Keynes.
Job discrimination for minority ethnic Britons hasn’t improved since the ’60s – and that includes marketing
Minority ethnic Britons applying for jobs, including those in marketing, face the same level of discrimination as in the 1960s.
The study by the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and published by The Guardian, finds applicants of black and South Asian origin had to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than white people of British origin.
A similar study on discrimination against those with minority ethnic backgrounds by the same researchers from 1969 shows similar findings.
Prof Anthony Heath, co-author and emeritus fellow of Nuffield College, says: “The absence of any real decline in discrimination against black British and people of Pakistani background is a disturbing finding, which calls into question the effectiveness of previous policies. Ethnic inequality remains a burning injustice and there needs to be a radical rethink about how to tackle it.”
The research is part of a larger cross-national project funded by the European Union.
The researchers sent almost 3,200 applications for jobs across a range of sectors, including software engineers, chefs and shop assistants, as well as marketing, that had been advertised on a recruitment platform between November 2016 and December 2017.
Ryanair issues profit warning as fares drop
Ryanair has lowered its profit guidance to between €1.0bn and €1.1bn, knocking €100m off its previous forecast due to lower winter fares, which are expected to fall by 7% as opposed to the 2% previously expected.
The airline also blamed the fact more customers are choosing lower cost optional services.
CEO Michael O’Leary says: “While we are disappointed at this slightly lower full-year guidance, the fact that it is the direct result of lower than expected H2 air fares, offset by stronger than expected traffic growth, a better than expected performance on unit cost and ancillary sales is positive for the medium term.”
He also believes there is short haul over-capacity this winter, which will impact the low cost air travel market.
“We believe this lower fare environment will continue to shake out more loss making competitors, with WOW, Flybe, and reportedly Germania for example, all currently for sale,” he adds.
Amazon enters cosmetics market with launch of own-brand beauty range
Amazon has launched a range of make-up under its Find fashion brand.
The collection includes products for eyes, face, lips and nails, including volumising mascaras, highlighters and fast-drying, chip resistant nail polishes.
In promotional material on the site, Amazon says products are made in Italy with “carefully selected ingredients and skin-conditioning agents”. The range is dermatologically tested and product safety confirmed by independent test labs.
The cosmetics range is available exclusively via Amazon, with some products sold in bundles containing complementary items, such as a lipstick and lip liner duo, a number of which are included in Amazon’s Subscribe & Save programme to give customers additional savings on repeat orders. All products are eligible for free one-day delivery for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon launched its Find clothing brand in April 2017, with its first ad campaign following five months later.
News UK’s commercial arm merges print and digital teams
News UK’s commercial division The Bridge is combining its print and digital teams for the first time as it looks to create a brand-focused strategy rather than one limited by platform.
The shift covers all brands including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, talkRADIO, talkSPORT and Virgin Radio UK.
As part of the restructure, Ben Walmsley, formerly digital commercial director, will take on the newly-created commercial director of publishing role, which also encompasses print. A number of other positions have been created or expanded to reflect the merged proposition.
Since changing the structure of its commercial business and launching The Bridge three years ago, the organisation has realised its ambition of bringing together the company’s data, creativity and insight resources, says Dominic Carter, group chief commercial officer for News UK.
“The changes ensure we are future proofing the business so that we continue to deliver more than just reach to advertisers,” he adds.
Thursday, 17 January
Diet Coke unveils two new flavours and redesigned cans
Diet Coke has introduced two new flavours to its product line with Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava joining the family alongside new-look cans.
The release follows the introduction of flavours, Exotic Mango, Feisty Cherry, Ginger Lime and Zesty Blood Orange last year. The drinks giant says the launch helped spark a turnaround for the brand after seeing sales grow for four consecutive quarters after at least five years of decline, according to Nielsen data.
Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava were selected from a shortlist of 20 options and tested with more than 2,000 residents in the US.
The brand says it aims to “satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic experiences”.
“We focused on modernising Diet Coke to appeal to a new consumer base while at the same time connecting with our core drinkers by preserving the essence of what makes this brand so special,” Rafael Acevedo, group director at Diet Coke says.
“We took smart risks in our approach to this holistic brand re-stage, and everything worked together to generate excitement and draw new fans to the brand.”
The new flavours and packaging are supported by Diet Coke’s £10m campaign ‘Because I Can’.
Advertising watchdog cracks down on misleading ‘faux fur’ claims
The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) – part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulatory system – has issued an enforcement notice to UK advertisers regarding misleading ‘faux fur’ claims.
As part of the enforcement the ASA is banning ads for clothing and accessories that contain real fur but are being promoted as faux fur.
Additionally, online retail marketplaces are advised to take a stricter approach to checking the supply chain and the accuracy of claims relating to ‘faux fur’ before selling products.
BBC reports that the crack down comes after the ASA found online retailer Boohoo had sold a pompom jumper which used real fur, most likely from a rabbit.
The notice requires companies to take immediate action to ensure their advertising complies and provides guidance on how consumers can tell the difference between animal fur and faux fur.
“Consumers shouldn’t be misled into buying a faux fur product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be made from a real animal. That’s not just misleading, it can also be deeply upsetting,” says ASA chief executive Guy Parker.
M&S to trial plastic-free fruit and veg lines
Marks & Spencer will trial 90 product lines of loose (plastic-free) fruit and vegetables across two aisles at its Tolworth store as it looks to reinforce its plan to reduce the amount of plastic waste the store produces.
As part of the trial, M&S will employ trained greengrocers to offer expert advice to consumers on how to preserve fresh produce and prevent food waste at home. The range includes both hard vegetables like apples and potatoes but also soft fruits and berries which will be served in compostable punnets.
“We know our customers want to play their part in cutting out plastic, while as a business our goal is to become zero-waste by 2025. That’s why we’re working hard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we use without compromising on food quality and contributing to waste,” says M&S head of food sustainability Louise Nicholls.
She adds that the company’s trial at Tolworth is an “important milestone” in its plastic reduction journey.
In addition to the anti-plastic trial at Tolworth, M&S says it plans to launch additional lines of loose produce and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic across in UK stores. For instance, this would include replacing plastic produce bags with paper ones and phasing out plastic barcode stickers for a sustainable alternative.
Volvo launches children’s book to raise awareness of ocean conservation
Volvo has teamed up with illustrator Jago Silver to launch a children’s book designed to highlight environmental concerns and teach children to protect our oceans.
Titled ‘The Day the Ocean Went Away’ is linked to the UK car maker’s film ‘The Unseen Ocean’ which tells the story of a primary school teacher who runs a programme teaching children to swim and surf while educating them about the environment.
The book, however, centres around a young boy named Jack who is passionate about the ocean but wakes one morning to find it has disappeared. He then journeys to the seabed to discover it is riddled with plastic and fishing nets.
The story is designed to support Volvo’s initiative to fight plastic pollution and improve sustainability practices. The company says by 2025 it’s aiming for 25% of the plastic materials in its new vehicles to be made from recycled materials.
Georgina Williams, head of marketing at Volvo UK, says: “At Volvo, we recognise the impact our products have on the environment. It’s why we have one of the most ambitious sustainability programmes in the industry, spearheaded by our aim for at least 25% of the plastics in newly launched Volvos from 2025 to be made from recycled material.”
“The hope is that this book will find its way into the hands of children who may never have seen the ocean and that it will help them understand its fragility as well as introducing them to the basic concept of sustainability,” she adds.
The book is available on Amazon and proceeds from sales will go towards Tom Franklin’s not-for-profit social enterprise City Kids Surfing, which aims to help more inner-city kids experience the ocean.
Patisserie Valerie account scandal reaches new heights
The account scandal revealed by Patisserie Valerie in October is worse than initially thought, according to the bakery chain’s owner.
Last year the company revealed it was teetering on collapse after it had found a multimillion-pound black hole in its finances amid “significant, potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.
It was then hit with a petition by HM Revenue & Customs over an unpaid £1.14m tax bill and had suspended Chris Marsh, its chief financial officer.
However, the Guardian reports a recent probe uncovered “extensive” misstatement of its accounts and “very significant manipulation of the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts” which includes thousands of false entries in its ledgers. The company unveiled this information in a statement.
The company claims it is now clear that the profitability and cash flow had been overstated and were “materially below” figures announced in October
Patisserie Holdings has 206 outlets, and nearly 3,000 staff, with 60 branded counters at Sainsbury’s stores. Yesterday (16 January) the company revealed it had hired KPMG to in an attempt “to preserve value for its stakeholders going forward”.
Wednesday, 16 January
Ad industry calls for no deal Brexit to be ‘taken off the table’ after Prime Minister loses vote
The ad industry has called for the no deal option to be “taken off the table” after parliament rejected the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan by a staggering 230 votes.
The result shows there is no majority support for the government’s Withdrawal Agreement but gives no clear guidance as to the way forward or a version of the agreement that could claim support. The Advertising Association (AA) is, however, calling on the government to quickly come up with a viable alternative to reduce uncertainty for business and remove the option for no deal that it believes would be “hugely disruptive”.
The AA says the ad industry has three major concerns: cross-border data flows; the plurality of broadcasting channels to carry cross-border advertising; and a flexible migration system.
“The UK is the world’s most internationally diverse hub for advertising, generating stellar growth in exports and a strong trade surplus in advertising services. The choices we make over the coming weeks will determine our post-Brexit success and if there is a flexible, business-friendly system we will have higher growth and stronger exports, than if we have a highly-restrictive regime, which would only benefit our international competitors,” says AA CEO Stephen Woodford.
“The Advertising Association will continue to advocate the best deal and outcome possible from Brexit to ensure the UK remains the world’s advertising hub.”
McDonald’s loses ‘Big Mac’ trademark after legal battle with Irish rival
Irish fast food company Supermac’s has won a case against McDonald’s that prevents it trademarking the terms ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’ in some instances in Europe.
In a ruling, the European Union Intellectual Property Office said McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of ‘Big Mac’ as a burger or restaurant name. The decisions paves the way for Supermac’s to expand into the UK and Europe after McDonald’s previously halted the plans over the similarity between the name Supermac’s and Big Mac.
Pat McDonagh, Supermac’s managing director, told Irish broadcaster RTÉ the case had been a “David versus Goliath scenario”.
“But just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context, doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner,” he added. “We’ve been saying for years that [McDonald’s] has been using trademark bullying. This is the end of the McBully.”
McDonald’s can appeal against the ruling.
Coca-Cola taps into market for alcohol alternatives with adult sparkling drinks brand
Coca-Cola is testing demand for alcohol alternatives with a new range of alcohol-free adult sparkling drinks meant to mimic their alcoholic counterparts.
Launching under the brand BAR NØNE, varieties including a spiced ginger mule, bellini spritz, dry aged cider and sangria. They are being promoted under the tagline ‘All the spirit without the spirits’ and are currently available in select stores in Coke’s home market of Atlanta and online at www.drinkbarnone.com
Coca-Cola’s director of social commitment and BAR NØNE general manager Sabrina Tandon says the idea came about during a conversation at work. “We talked about not wanting to drink as often, or as much, as we had before,” she recalls. “We wanted something we could actually look forward to enjoying as much as an alcoholic drink – something sip-able and savour-able.”
There is growing demand for non-alcoholic alternatives to booze. Research by the brand found that 18% of Americans abstain from alcohol while 35% of regular drinks often seek out non-alcholic alternatives. This is a market that a range of markets, from beer to wine, are looking to tap into.
“People are choosing not to drink for many different reasons,” adds Tandon. “We’re not targeting a certain demographic… we’re targeting a mindset.
“This is a new category we’re helping to create. We’re a first mover in this space, which we think has a lot of potential. Our initial focus is on learning… we’re hoping that launching first in our backyard will be a recipe for entrepreneurial success.”
Red Bull ad banned over ‘unproven’ claims it can help improve focus
An outdoor ad by Red Bull that suggested the energy drink could increase focus and concentration has been banned over the “unproven” health claims.
The posters, which were located on the London Underground, suggest Red Bull could help workers finish their work and go home by 4pm. They feature the text “the secret to finishing early” and featured a poem that ended: “Because to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings, you just need to know: Red Bull gives you wiiings.”
A complainant questioned the Advertising Standards Authority about whether the ad implied Red Bull had a positive effect on health by improving focus and concentration. Red Bull said the poster had simply promote a “consumer initiative” encouraging workers to finish early but the ASA ruled that while the ad was light-hearted it implied unauthorised health claims and has been banned.
The ad must not appear again in its current form and Red Bull has been reminded that it cannot imply its product can boost health and concentration.
Ikea turns a club into a bedroom to get people to reappraise sleep
Ikea has launched a new campaign encouraging people to reappraise the value of sleep as it looks to boost sales of its bedroom furniture.
The TV spot, created by Mother, shows a group of friends out in town late at night seemingly heading to a club. However, all is not as it seems. They pass a food truck serving bowls of Cheerios and toast kebabs and the friends are wearing pyjamas.
When they get to the club, the dancefloor is filled with beds and people are preparing for a night of sleep by drinking calming herbal teas, reading or brushing their teeth. As the nightclub fills up, a magical sleep runs and leaps over the balcony and bursts into a shower of glitter confetti.
As part of the campaign, Ikea has partnered with Dr. Guy Meadows, the co-founder of The Sleep School, to train workers on the science of sleep so they can better help people in-store. Meadows’ expertise has also been turned into a resource on Ikea’s UK website to help people understand how to get a good night’s sleep and find the right products to help.
Activity in PR, CRM and social media will drive people to the sleep hub.
Laurent Tiersen, Ikea UK and Ireland marketing manager, says: “The pressures of modern living place great focus on our waking lives, but we often neglect the importance of a good night’s sleep – a lack of which can fundamentally impact our daily lives both physically and emotionally. The aim of this new campaign is to change how we prioritise the importance of getting a good night’s rest in an effort to get people to really understand that Tonight is to Sleep.”
Tuesday, 15 January
P&G evokes #MeToo movement with new Gillette ad
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is asking men to take a fresh look at what it means to be their best, 30 years after introducing the Gillette tagline ‘The Best a Man Can Get’.
The FMCG giant is rolling out a new campaign and charitable programme celebrating the stories of men who are making a positive impact, underpinned by a new advert highlighting the effects of toxic masculinity. Evoking the #MeToo movement, the ‘We Believe’ advert shows bullying, harassment and ‘banter’ being counteracted by a progressive version of modern masculinity.
“As the world’s largest marketer to men, we knew that joining the dialogue on ‘modern manhood’ would mean changing how we think about and portray men at every turn,” says Gary Coombe, president of P&G global grooming.
“As a starting point, and effective immediately, Gillette will review all public-facing content against a set of defined standards meant to ensure we fully reflect the ideals of respect, accountability and role modelling in the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and more.”
To support the campaign, P&G will donate $1m a year for the next three years to US non-profit organisations working on programmes to help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’. P&G’s first partner will be The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which has more than 4,300 clubs nationwide.
P&G hopes working with these organisations will help encourage respect, foster inclusivity and increase accountability. The FMCG giant wants the wider campaign to inspire men to become role models and set new standards for young boys around integrity, empathy and respect.
Boohoo group revenues surge 44%
Boohoo group revenue soared by 44% to £328.2m in the four months to 31 December across its three fast fashion brands – Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal.
As well as performing strongly in the domestic market, Boohoo is being fuelled by international demand. Revenue rose by 33% to £180m in the UK market, 78% to £70.4m in the US, 57% to £44.4m in the rest of Europe and by 35% to £33.4m across the rest of the world.
Furthermore, Boohoo’s growth is not at the expense of its profit margins, which grew by 1.7% to 54.2%.
Looking at each brand specifically, Boohoo’s revenues increased by 15% to £163.5m, while revenue was up 74% for Nasty Gal to £20.6m and PrettyLittleThing almost doubled its revenue to £144.2m.
Based on this performance, group revenue growth for the financial year to 28 February 2019 is expected to be between 43% to 45%, ahead of the company’s previous guidance of 38% to 43%.
Joint CEOs Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane say the business remains “firmly focused” on continuing to provide its customers with ”great fashion at unbeatable value”, adding that while the global growth opportunity is “significant” it will be addressed in a controlled way by investing in the proposition, operations and infrastructure.
No-deal Brexit could spark recession in UK ad market
The UK ad market is poised to fall into its first recession for a decade in the event of a no-deal Brexit, wiping out £1.36bn of advertising and marketing spend.
The research, carried out by Enders Analysis, suggests that this year UK advertising spend will decline by 3% to £22.54bn if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Display advertising would be the worst hit sector, losing £1bn in the event of a no-deal Brexit compared with an ‘orderly withdrawal’. This includes online display advertising on sites such as Facebook and YouTube, which is expected to stagnate if the UK cannot secure a deal.
TV advertising, including on catch-up sites such as ITV Hub and All4, is expected to fall by more than 9%, according to Enders Analysis, down £500m on the £5.1bn spent last year. However, even if a Brexit deal is achieved expectations are that TV ad spend will drop by 2.9%.
The research suggests that if a deal can be agreed to achieve an ‘orderly withdrawal’ UK media spend on TV, newspapers, online, radio and billboards will rise by 2.7% to £23.9bn in 2019, which is still down on growth of 4.7% in 2018.
Jamie Oliver defends ‘£5m’ tie up with Shell
Jamie Oliver has defended his reported £5m tie-up with oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, saying he “anticipated accusations of hypocrisy” after having campaigned for years for action on climate change.
The celebrity chef, who was named an “environmental champion” by the UN Environment Programme in 2015, has developed a range of 80 wraps, sandwiches and salads to be sold at more than 500 Shell petrol stations across the UK.
The Times reports that Oliver “thought a lot” before signing the deal but had reached the conclusion that “there are pitfalls working for any client and they all have their own baggage”. Furthermore, he argued that the partnership “was absolutely worth it” if it meant people had access to better quality food.
He adds: “From my point of view this is not a first. I have restaurants in airports and I’m looking at different transport hubs.”
The executive vice-president of Shell, Istvan Kapitany, says it is important to offer a better range of food if the oil giant is to meet its target of increasing its convenience retail business by 10% a year, which it accepts cannot be done simply by selling more fuel.
However, Greenpeace has hit out at Oliver’s decision to work with one of the world’s top 10 global carbon emitters, saying it would “love it if [Oliver] kept dishing out the truth about climate change, but there are better places to do so than a Shell forecourt”.
PayPal appoints first CMO for six years
PayPal has hired former Apple marketing boss Allison Johnson as CMO and executive vice-president, having been without a CMO since 2013.
Johnson has been appointed to lead strategic marketing for PayPal and its wider family of brands globally, with a view to helping drive the payments firm’s next phase of growth.
Having served as director of media relations at IBM for five years from 1993, Johnson took on a variety of marketing roles in the tech sector including senior vice-president of global brand and communications for HP and vice-president of worldwide marketing communications at Apple, before establishing joint marketing and venture capital business, West.
Monday 14 January
HMV’s fate to be sealed by 15 January
HMV’s administrator has given potential buyers until tomorrow (15 January) to make a bid to rescue the music retailer.
The company, which employs 2,200 people, called in administrators from KPMG just after Christmas, blaming a “tsunami of challenges” for its “extremely weak” festive trading.
Several approaches to save the retailer have already been made, according to Sky News.
The music and entertainment retailer was bought by investment firm Hilco six years ago after falling into administration for the first time. It currently operates 125 stores, which remain open for now.
Microsoft search engine found to surface child porn
Microsoft’s Bing search engine has been found to not only surface child porn but suggest related keywords and images that provide more child pornography, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The website commissioned online safety startup AntiToxin to investigate the search engine following an anonymous tip.
It discovered that searching for terms such as “porn kids” and “nude family kids” resulted in suggestions of illegal child exploitation imagery. Worryingly, this same content also surfaced when these terms were not explicitly searched for, suggesting Microsoft is failing to adequately police the search engine.
Bing also made suggestions for child porn: when researchers searched for “Omegle Kids”, a video chat app popular with teens, one of the auto-complete suggestions was “Omegle Kids girls 13”, which surfaced child pornography.
Microsoft’s chief vice-president of Bing and AI products Jordi Ribas says in a statement: “Clearly these results were unacceptable under our standards and policies and we appreciate TechCrunch making us aware. We acted immediately to remove them, but we also want to prevent any other similar violations in the future. We’re focused on learning from this so we can make any other improvements needed.”
Christmas doesn’t help increase retail footfall
Retail footfall over the five-week Christmas shopping period to 29 December fell by 2.6%, marking the 13th consecutive month of decline, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Springboard Footfall Monitor.
This is an improvement on the same period in 2017, however, when footfall dropped by 3.5%.
Shopping centre footfall saw the greatest decline, dropping 3.9% during the period, which is broadly in line with both November’s 2018 and December 2017’s rates of -3.8%. It is the 21st consecutive month that shopping centre footfall has declined.
Footfall on the high street was also down, falling 2.1%, the fifth consecutive month it has declined. Footfall in retail parks fell by 2.1% as well, a drop from -1.4% in November 2018.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, says: “[The decline] comes at a time when retail is in the midst of a transformation, investing in technology and the online offer, as well as offering more experiences in physical shops. This is evolving many high streets into a destination for wider services, as well as shopping.
“However, many well-known brands have disappeared from our high streets, and without government intervention there will be more to come. Government should take action by reforming the broken business rates system and ensuring consumers and retailers retain tariff free, frictionless trade with the EU after 29 March.”
The Guardian swaps plastic for potato starch wrapping
The Guardian has replaced the plastic bags it wraps Sunday supplements in with a compostable potato starch alternative.
The newspaper said it dropped the polythene covers after feedback from readers, despite the change resulting in an increase in production costs. It has so far been introduced in London, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, with plans for the new wrapping to be phased in across the rest of the UK over the coming months.
Rather than being recycled, the new wrapping, which is produced by Ecover, should be disposed of on a compost heap or in a food waste bin. The Guardian, which claims to be the first national newspaper to make the switch, says the wrap is suitable for domestic composting and designed to “completely compost within six months in a well-maintained compost heap or food waste bin”.
The reaction on social media has been largely positive, however some have questioned whether their local authority will allow the item.
WFA forms global taskforce to tackle digital media concerns
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has assembled a global taskforce to help drive change in the digital media ecosystem.
The Global Media Board will be led by Procter & Gamble’s global media director Gerry D’Angelo, who has been appointed co-chair alongside Ben Jankowski, senior vice-president of global media at Mastercard. Both men will also head up the WFA’s Media Forum.
Together, members of the newly-formed group spend more than $45bn on communications each year. They have been tasked with driving adoption of the eight measures set out in the WFA’s Global Media Charter, including ad fraud, viewability, brand safety and transparency.
The board also includes members from Unilever, Volkswagen, Mars, Adidas and LVMH.
D’Angelo says: “Advertisers can no longer relinquish control of media, data and algorithms. Together, we’re transforming the media industry, taking back control to lead mass disruption through active participation in industry bodies such as the WFA, and promoting measures as set out by the Global Media Charter.”