Barclaycard, Heinz, Vodafone: 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.

Heinz launches first masterbrand campaign in a decade

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Kraft Heinz is launching a campaign to highlight three of its core products – soup, baked beans and mayonnaise – as it looks to “leverage its power as a food masterbrand”.

The campaign, developed by BBH, kicks off with a TV ad for Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise, which shows how little things can improve someone’s day, ending with the line ‘Heinz Makes it Better’.

Further TV executions for Heinz Baked Beanz and cream of tomato soup will go live in August and September, with the £7m campaign also supported across digital, out-of-home, radio and social media until December.

It marks the first time in 10 years that Heinz has focused on multiple brands in one campaign.

Heinz marked its 150th anniversary by celebrating ‘150 years of clean plates’ in April, with a campaign focusing on perhaps its most iconic product, Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

Marketing Week also caught up with Kraft Heinz’s vice-president of marketing for EMEA, Vicki Sjardin at the time, to see how the 150-year-old brand will be using its heritage to build its future.

Olivia Hibbert, director of brand building at Kraft Heinz, says of the latest campaign: “2019 is an exciting moment; as we celebrate our 150th birthday and look to leverage our power as a food masterbrand more; reminding consumers how Heinz can help to make the everyday little moments that little bit better. Each of our ads is designed to portray real moments and represent the breadth of our products and consumers.”

Mastercard debuts sonic identity at point of payment

Mastercard is introducing its recently launched sonic identity to point of payment for the first time. Golf fans The British Open will be the first to hear it in the UK when they pay, which the company says will be a “critical component” in helping people recognise the brand going forward.

Working with Global Payments and Ingenico, the brand has developed technology to enable payment terminals to play its sound whenever a Mastercard or Maestro card is used in the Mastercard Clubhouse.

Fans will also hear Mastercard’s sonic brand and see the animation when they pay at the official Open shop.

Mastercard developed the sound as the rise of voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home means “consumers have stopped interacting visually”, according to CMO Raja Rajamannar, speaking at the time.

On the activity launching this week, Mark Barnett, president of UK, Ireland, Nordics and Baltics at Mastercard, says: “Sound adds a powerful dimension to our brand identity and a critical component to how people recognise Mastercard today and in the future. We’re thrilled golf fans will be the first in the UK to experience our sonic brand in real time when they use their Mastercard at The Open.”

Barclaycard joins forces with EasyJet for holiday spending campaign

Barclaycard has teamed up with EasyJet for a “first of its kind” campaign to help credit card users make better choices when spending abroad this summer.

With the help of comedian Katherine Ryan, the ‘Travel Smart’ campaign explains how Brits can save cash by choosing the local currency instead of sterling, and how using a credit card can help protect purchases.

The campaign will run across social, digital out-of-home, owned media and PR, while Travel Smart cards in the style of onboard safety information will also be placed in seat pockets on EasyJet flights from the UK throughout July, August and September.

The cards feature tips on how to avoid unnecessary fees and stay protected while making purchases.

Alex Naylor, marketing director at Barclaycard says working with Ryan will help land what can be an important but perhaps dull message with customers. “We’re thrilled that Katherine has collaborated with us on this campaign. Thanks to her trademark comedy style, she has helped bring the key messages to life in a hilarious way.”

Slug & Lettuce owner buys UK’s biggest pub group in £3bn deal

The owner of Slug & Lettuce and Yates’s is set to buy Ei Group, the UK’s largest owner of tenanted pubs, for £3bn, a move set to shake up Britain’s pub industry.

Stonegate Pub Company, which also owns Walkabout, will acquire Ei Group’s estate of more than 4,000 pubs, the vast majority of which are freehold. This will mean it has almost 5,000 bars and pubs, making it the largest company in the industry.

In its recent half-year results, Ei Group declared the value of its property assets as £3.3bn.

Stonegate has agreed a 285p-a-share deal to buy Ei Group, formerly called Enterprise Inns, valuing its equity at £1.27bn. Including its debt, the takeover equates to an enterprise value of £2.97bn.

READ MORE: Ei raises a glass to £3bn Stonegate takeover (£)

Vodafone’s £18bn Liberty Global deal approved

Vodafone’s $22bn (£18bn) takeover of Liberty Global’s cable networks has been given the green light by competition regulators in Brussels.

The decision clears the way for the most valuable European telecoms merger in more than a decade.

Competition regulators have been scrutinising the planned deal, which will see Vodafone takeover Liberty’s central Europe and German networks, for months amid concerns it will lead to “higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation”.

Once the deal is completed, which will likely be later this month, Vodafone says it will own the largest next-generation network in Europe, and will have more than 115 million mobile customer and 24 million broadband customers in the region.

But competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says the approval is “subject to remedies designed to ensure that customers will continue enjoying fair prices, high-quality services and innovative products”.

READ MORE: Vodafone wins Brussels approval for £18bn Liberty Global deal

Thursday, 18 July

netflix

Netflix blames price rises for subscriber slump

Netflix has blamed price rises for attracting fewer than expected subscribers over the past three months as the streaming service missed targets and saw its shares fall by 10%.

Between April and June, Netflix added 2.7 million new subscribers worldwide, far below analyst estimates of 5 million and well shy of the 5.5 million new customers it attracted during the same period last year.

The streaming giant admitted it had missed its forecasts across all regions, although slightly more so in regions with price increases. In May, Netflix raised prices in the UK for its standard tariff from £7.99 to £8.99 and its premium tariff, which lets users stream to four devices, from £9.99 to £11.99.

While US paid membership was essentially flat during the second quarter, the company expects the release of Stranger Things 3 will help it hit 7 million new paid subscribers during the third quarter of the year.

Netflix rebuffed suggestions that its subscriber base had been hit by competition from the likes of Disney and Warner Media as their streaming sites are still early-stage.

In a statement Netflix adds: “We don’t believe competition was a factor since there wasn’t a material change in the competitive landscape during [the second quarter] and competitive intensity and our penetration is varied across regions.”

Netflix will also have to prepare to lose some of its biggest shows, as Friends moves to Warner Media and The Office moves to NBC. The streaming giant put a positive spin on it, however, stating that as licensed content winds down that frees up budget for more original content.

READ MORE: Netflix shares sink 10% as subscriber take-up slows

Asos warns profits to drop as ‘operational issues’ bite

Online retailer Asos expects full-year profits to fall to between £30m and £35m, as sales in the EU and US are hit by “operational issues”.

The company points to £47m of “transition costs” related to problems at its warehouse facilities and a further £3.5m in restructuring costs. These issues relate to the major overhaul of infrastructure and technology at Asos’s warehouses in Berlin and Atlanta, which has taken longer than anticipated and therefore impacted on stock availability and sales.

“Despite these short-term challenges, the move to a multi-site logistics infrastructure will enable us to offer customers across the world our market leading proposition, facilitate our future growth, as well as leading to longer-term efficiency benefits,” says CEO Nick Beighton.

During the four months to 30 June, total group sales rose by 12%, while sales in the UK were ahead of expectations at 16%. The business also hit 20 million active customers globally for the first time.

Asos is ramping up the “velocity” of its social media activity and has seen the quality of engagement with its customers improve, while also increasing its focus on video content. The retailer adds that new customer acquisition is “recovering” and churn from its existing customer base is declining.

Eve credits ‘marketing efficiency’ as losses halve

Eve sleep marketing campaignEve Sleep has credited its decision to refocus on three markets and ramp up its marketing efficiency as it saw losses halve to £5.9m during the six months to 30 June.

The direct-to-consumer sleep wellness brand says its “rebuild strategy” is making good progress, as revenues in the UK and Ireland fell 0.9% compared to last year, owing to a planned reduction in marketing investment, the challenging retail backdrop and a highly promotional mattress market.

In France, Eve’s third market, revenues decreased 29% reflecting the business’s decision to prioritise margin over revenue growth and its work to reposition the brand.

Eve credited its progress on creating a differentiated brand positioning, signalled by the launch of a new brand positioning and campaign in the UK that features the endline ‘rise.shine.’ In France, the company also rolled out a complete creative refresh at the end of June including a new marketing campaign titled ‘Renaissez chaque matin’ (Reborn every morning).

The brand also points to its strength in product development through the expansion of its ranges across bed frames, storage, bedding and the baby collection. Furthermore, Eve has improved its conversion rate thanks to the team “reducing friction” for customers.

Eve says retail partnerships will remain an important element of the strategy as it looks to raise brand awareness. The company points to new partnerships signed with Argos, Dunelm and Homebase to sell Eve products through their online sites. The Argos tie-up will go live at the end of July, while the partnerships with Dunelm and Homebase will launch later this summer.

“Our focus on reducing losses, while creating a differentiated proposition as a sleep wellness brand, will underpin the business and lay the path to long-term profitability,” says Eve Sleep CEO, James Sturrock.

“We have some exciting plans and partnerships launching and I look forward to seeing more progress against our strategy in some of the biggest peak trading periods for the business in the second half of the year.”

Google suspends ticketing site Viagogo from paid-for search results

Google has suspended secondary ticketing website Viagogo from its global paid-for search results.

A Google spokesperson says Viagogo had been found in breach of its advertising policy and that it would remove the brand’s ads from its search rankings. The move means the site has fallen down the rankings, sitting below rivals such as StubHub, whose ads are still being accepted.

It comes after campaigners and some music artists accused Viagogo of exploitative resale practices. The site is also facing legal action from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is seeking to have the company found in contempt of court for allegedly ignoring repeated warnings to comply with consumer law.

Last year, fans who bought tickets for Ed Sheeran’s UK stadium tour through Viagogo were denied access to the first night as part of a publicised plan by the tour promoters to stop touts and inflated resale prices.

An open letter signed by the Football Association, several MPs and the trade body UK Music also urged Google to stop accepting Viagogo ads.

A Google spokesperson says: “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust. This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”

A spokesperson for Viagogo adds: “We were extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns today. We are confident that there has been no breach of Google’s policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

READ MORE: Google suspends ticket website Viagogo from paid-for global search results

Zara commits to 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

Fashion giant Inditex, the owner of Zara, has committed to make all its clothes from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025.

This shift to sustainability makes Zara, which accounts for 70% of Inditex’s group sales, the first international high street store to take such a stand, according to WWD. This commitment applies to other Inditex brands including Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Zara Home.

As early as 2023 the fashion group says all viscose used in its products with be 100% sustainable. Inditex is also aiming for 80% of the energy consumed at Zara’s headquarters to be renewable by 2025, and in its factories and stores, will come from renewable sources and its facilities will produce zero landfill waste.

“We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector,” says Pablo Isla, Inditex chief executive.

“We are the ones establishing these targets: the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics. It is something that’s happening inside our company.”

READ MORE: Zara clothes to be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

M&S defends toy giveaway amid plastics row

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has defended its plastic toy giveaway campaign amid a backlash from customers calling out the scheme’s environmental impact.

The retailer insists that sustainability is “at the heart” of the Little Shop campaign, which encourages customers to collect 25 miniature replicas of its most popular food items for every £20 spent. Not only are the toys made from plastic, they come in plastic wrappers.

Shoppers on platforms such as Facebook and Mumsnet have called out what they see as the unnecessary creation of more single-use plastic at a time when the UK is attempting to reduce its emissions and deal with a mounting plastic waste crisis.

In a YouTube video, M&S head of sustainability, Carmel McQuaid, attempts to reassure customers that the retailer will be offering collection boxes in every store for children to return unwanted toys for recycling. M&S also plans to run swap events for people to exchange duplicates and collect toys they need to complete their collection.

A spokesperson says the Little Shop campaign is all part of the retailer’s strategy to become “more relevant to the family customer”.

However, it has been noted that even if shoppers could guarantee they would get a different toy with every £20 shop, it would cost £500 to complete the set.

READ MORE: M&S defends Little Shop toy giveaway despite backlash

Wednesday, 17 July

blockchain

Nestlé, McDonald’s and Virgin Media sign up to blockchain media trial

Nestlé, McDonald’s and Virgin Media have become the first brands to sign up for a trial that aims to evaluate how blockchain could be used to improve trust, transparency and inefficiency in the digital media supply chain.

The initial stage of the trial will look to provide end-to-end supply chain transparency and clarity around ad spend. Further trials will look at how blockchain could be used to optimise the supply chain and improve efficiency.

Steven Pollack, head of media communications at Nestlé, says: “We’re really excited to be involved in this pilot. Blockchain is a new technology being tested in many diverse industries. It’s great to be one of the first brands to gain insight into its potential in programmatic.”

Kat Howcroft, senior media and budget manager at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, adds: “This technology offers us the opportunity to see a truly transparent picture of our investment across the digital supply chain. We are also eager to understand the potential impact that this may have on our ROI and efficiency.”

The trial is being run by JICWEBS and tech business FIDUCIA over the course of this year. If successful, JICWEBS will consult the industry on how best to roll out blockchain to more brands and agencies through 2020.

Tesco sees win over Aldi in switching ad complaint

Tesco has had its complaint that Aldi misled customers over the potential savings on offer if they switched to the discounter upheld by the ad regulator.

A print ad run by Aldi in December showed a basket of festive goods including chocolate and champagne from both supermarkets under the heading: “Swap to Aldi and save”. Tesco’s basket, which featured a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne, cost £61.55, while Aldi’s included its own brand Veuve Monsigny champagne and cost £32.54.

The ad claimed shoppers could “save 45%” by switching from Tesco to Aldi, although it did point out in small text at the bottom of the ad that “Tesco may sell ‘own-brand’ products at different prices”.

Nevertheless, Tesco complained the choice of champagne in its basket unfairly skewed the price comparison and that it wasn’t sufficiently clear Tesco sold cheaper champagne as well as Moët.

In a counter argument, Aldi said comparing own-brand and branded products is “inherently permissible” and that its champagne is the second biggest seller behind Moët.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld Tesco’s complaint, noting that the choice of champagne in each basket accounted for more than half the price difference between the two retailers. Because the ad regulator believed other lower priced champagnes would be considered by price-conscious consumers, it ruled the Moët skewed the comparison and was likely to mislead.

It has told Aldi to ensure that in future if it is making multi-product comparisons it must not imply customers can make more general savings if the claim is based on a specific selection of goods rather than a typical weekly shop.

Facebook introduces reporting tool to clamp down on scam ads

Facebook is introducing new tools that aim to combat scam adverts on its social network after settling a defamation lawsuit with MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis.

Facebook is introducing a scam ad reporting tool and training a team to investigate problems raised by users and take down violating posts. It will also look for trends in scam ads to help cut their numbers.

Facebook has also donated £3m to Citizens Advice for an anti-scam project, called Scams Action, that will offer one-to-one support for those worried they may have been scammed online either through a scam ad or another route such as scam emails. It is expected to help 20,000 people in the first year.

Scam ads often use pictures of celebrities or fake endorsements to dupe people into buying false products and services, such as bitcoin trading schemes or diet pills. Lewis brought a lawsuit against Facebook after his image was repeatedly used in such ads despite his raising the issue.

The tool to flag scam ads will only be available in the UK. And Lewis is calling on other tech players to follow Facebook’s lead and help resource the Citizens Advice helpline.

Lewis says: “Today should be the start of real improvement. The aim is to tap the power of what I’m dubbing ‘social policing’ to fight these scams. Millions of people know a scam when they see it, and millions of others don’t.

“I’d ask all who recognise them to use the new Facebook reporting tool, to help protect those who don’t – which includes many who are vulnerable. Facebook’s new dedicated team will then hopefully respond quickly to ditch the scammers.”

The Green Party signs up to coalition calling for political advertising reform

The Green Party has become the biggest political party to sign up to the Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising, a group calling for the rules around political advertising to be changed.

Prior to this, only The Independent Group for Change had signed up to the coalition in terms of political parties, although other organisations such as advertiser trade body ISBA support the cause.

The Green Party says: “At the Green Party, we support The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising’s campaign and all of the points you are seeking support for. We have been pushing for reform of regulations around elections for some years, particularly for transparency over online campaigning where electoral law is far behind where it should be in today’s digital age.”

The coalition wants UK Parliament to implement a four-point plan to tighten rules around political advertising, which are not currently covered in ad regulator the Advertising Standards Authority’s remit.

The plan calls for legislation so all paid-for political ads can be viewed by the public, give a body the power to regulate political advertising, require all objective factual claims used in political ads to be substantiated and compulsory imprints or watermarks to show the origin of online ads.

Ryanair brings respite to airline industry as it halves growth forecasts

Ryanair has halved it growth forecasts for next year, bringing respite to rival European airlines that feared an increase in capacity from the low-cost airline would bring down ticket prices across the market.

The cut has been caused by delays to deliveries of its ordered Boeing 737 Max jet, which has been grounded after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killer 346 people. Boeing is working on a software fix, which Reuters says it expects to have ready to show regulators in September.

However, Ryanair now says it only expects to have received 30 planes in time for summer 2020, as opposed to the 58 that were due. That is because it doesn’t expect the jet to return to service until December, meaning deliveries will only start at the earliest in January. It can only process between six and eight new planes a month and does not take deliveries during its busiest period between June and August.

As a result, Ryanair expects to fly 157 million passengers in the year to March 2021, halving its growth plans to an additional five million customers.

READ MORE: Ryanair halves 2020 growth plans on Boeing MAX delays

Tuesday, 16 July

Uber

Uber makes diversity a key business metric

Uber says diversity will now be used as a key metric to evaluate the job performance and determine the compensation of some of its top executives.

The move comes as the ride hailing company looks to increase the number of women in senior roles to 35% by 2022, as well as improving the number of “underrepresented employees” at lower grades to 14%.

“Diversity and inclusion isn’t just about redesigning a single system or a process, but also about giving people real developmental opportunities that change everyday behaviors and attitudes,” says Bo Young Lee, Uber’s chief diversity and inclusion officer.

“With the right actions, diverse teams can become our single greatest asset because they are what drive innovation.”

READ MORE: Uber ties some executive pay to diversity goals

Jaguar given £500m in electric car push

The UK government has given Jaguar £500m to accelerate its development of electric cars, alongside £125m from commercial lenders.

In addition, companies including Aston Martin, BMW, Nissan and Vauxhall, as well as energy groups BP, Shell and National Grid have agreed to set up a green mobility transition board that will help co-ordinate the shift to electric cars.

During the meeting with government and car makers, Theresa May also outlined plans to make England the first country to introduce mandatory electric car charging points in new homes.

“[It is] clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport,” says transport secretary Christ Grayling. “Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone.”

READ MORE: No 10 hands Jaguar Land Rover £500m loan to develop electric cars

Confused.com unveils ‘year of confusion’ campaign

Confused.com is calling 2019 ‘the year of confusion’ in new creative that continues its strategy to bring clarity to customers.

The concept for the campaign, created by Karmarama, came from customer insight looking into what makes the British public confused on a daily basis, including fake news, politics, recycling and deliveries.

This has been captured in an ad that sees Irish actor Timothy Murphy overtake a lorry piled with ‘confusion’, which is intended to symbolise the clarity Confused.com brings to its customers.

Confused.com claims its brand awareness has doubled since it launched its ‘Don’t Be Confused. Be Confused.com’ campaign in the second half of 2018.

“We’ve put the name back into the heart of the campaign and reclaimed the concept of ‘confusion’ in connection with our brand. Now we’re taking it a step further and tackling some very poignant confusions head-on,” explains CMO Sam Day.

“We’re not claiming to be able to clear up confusion around all of these themes – although where we can we will. We’re saying we know it’s confusing, let’s take a little bit of that pain away by giving you a clear way to buy your finances – particularly for some of the more complicated products like insurance.”

Pets at Home moves into dog-walking

Pets at Home has bought a stake in dog-walking and pet-sitting service Tailster.com.

The deal will see the UK’s largest pets retailer offer Tailster’s services – which includes a network of 26,000 self-employed pet carers in the UK – to its 4.4 million loyalty scheme members.

It forms part of Pets at Home’s strategy to generate half of its revenues from services, up from around a third today, to help it compete with online rivals such as Amazon.

Pets at Home boss Peter Pritchard describes the investment as “a win-win deal, good for both businesses but especially good for owners searching for someone they can trust to look after their much-loved pet.”

Tailster’s chief executive Indy Sangha adds: “Not only do the team at Pets at Home share our vision about how we can bring our services to UK pet owners and drive the growth of our business, but they also share many of our values of putting pets first, and the customer at the heart of what we do.”

READ MORE: Pets at Home buys stake in dog-walking service Tailster

Radiocentre launches campaign to promote new research

Radiocentre has launched a radio, print and digital campaign to promote key findings from its latest ‘Hear and Now’ research.

In three comedy radio ads created by Radioville, actor Oliver Maltman – who featured in the last campaign – reprises his role as an enthusiastic but misguided boss guiding his team through media channel decisions for product launches.

In one ad, he asks his team where they should be advertising their new hybrid SUV. His colleague points out that radio would be a successful proposition, as research proves that targeting people when they are doing relevant activities, such as driving, can boost ad effectiveness.

Other spots focus on a new chicken sauce and a bubble bath and point out that other media, like TV and print newspapers, aren’t being consumed during driving or cooking.

The research, conducted by Neuro-Insight across sectors including motoring, FMCG and household goods, consistently found increased performance when audiences heard ads that had been matched to relevant tasks.

Engagement with ads relevant to activities rose by 23% while memory encoding – the process crucial for advertising effectiveness relating to turning and experience into memory – increased by 22%.

Monday, 15 July

National Lottery enlists real-life operators for new campaign

The National Lottery has enlisted a real-life employee to star in its latest campaign, designed to highlight the notion that anyone can win.

Produced alongside adam&eveDDB, the television spot features National Lottery operator Michelle. The film starts by imagining her journey to the office before turning the focus to her colleagues as they await the result of the draw in silence before phones immediately start ringing.

Hayley Stringfellow, head of brand strategy and marketing at the National Lottery’s parent company Camelot, says: “The most exciting thing about playing The National Lottery is the anticipation that it really could be you who wins, and we wanted to create a campaign that brings this to life in a whole new way.

“We want everyone to know that not only does someone have to win, but also that people really do win all the time. Who better to show that than our contact centre colleagues, who have the pleasure of dealing with lucky winners every single day.”

The spot will go live on TV today (15 July) and will be supported by radio and out-of-home activity.

Warner Music buys label behind Mary Poppins

Warner Music has purchased the label behind the likes of Mary Poppins and Les Misérables in the hope that family-friendly music will help boost revenues and tap into a younger audience.

Warner, which also represents artists such as Ed Sheeran, says the deal is part of a wider strategy to target genres that it predicts will adopt streaming in the coming years, the Financial Times reports.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed but it is believed to be less than $100m.

Warner has grown its market share since signing hip hop artists Meek Mill and Cardi B. Hip hop is a genre that is commonly streamed via services such as Spotify. However, the label is looking to tap into “underserved” genres as streaming services become more mainstream.

Warner established an arts division last year, which is home to a number of labels including Sesame Street Records. The Financial Times reports that just last week the division started a new record label, partnering with Build-a-Bear, while focusing on classical music and film scores.

READ MORE: Warner Music buys label behind Les Misérables and Mary Poppins

High streets and shopping centres suffer in June

The high street has been the worst hit by the relatively poor summer weather, with a drop in footfall leading to a fall in sales figures for the month of June.

For instance, footfall declined by 2.9% in June, compared to 0.9% year on year. During the three months to 29 June, footfall also declined by 2.4%, well above the six- and 12–month averages at 1.3% and 1.7% respectively.

According to figures released by the British Retail Consortium, high street footfall plunged by 4.5%, following a 0.1% rise in June last year, while retail park footfall climbed by 0.1% compared to growth of 0.4% year on year.

Lastly, shopping centre footfall also declined by 2.4%, following a drop of 3.4% in June last year.

“Retail parks managed to buck the trend. Last year’s World Cup and glorious sunshine set a high bar, which 2019’s slow consumer spending and Brexit uncertainty failed to live up to,” says BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickenson.

She adds that high streets and shopping centres across the country must invest in improving their consumer experience if they wish to see these footfall numbers reverse.

“Unfortunately, high business rates, as well as a raft of other public policy costs, mean there is little left over to spend on these improvements,” she says. “If the Government wants to see more investment on the high street, then they must reform the broken business rates system and give firms the means to make the necessary improvements.”

Camden Town Brewery launches biggest campaign ever

Camden Town Brewery has launched a new campaign titled ‘Fresh as Hells’, marking the brand’s largest advertising investment to date.

Produced alongside Forever Beta, the campaign also signifies the launch of its new brand positioning: ‘Fresh thinking, fresh drinking’.

The campaign is designed capture the sensory feeling of ‘fresh’, from freshly squeezed juice to fresh bedding and fresh ingredients.

Andre Amaral, marketing director at Camden Town Brewery, says: “From day one, freshness has been super important at Camden. The taste of Hells Lager is unique and we’re very excited to launch a new campaign that celebrates that.”

He adds: “Fresh as Hells pays homage to the fresh taste of Camden Hells Lager and to the mindset of Camden Town Brewery of doing things differently to make them better.”

Working with production house Jelly, Camden Town Brewery has also created a suite of out-of-home and digital assets including videos and stills to reflect the new positioning.

The campaign will roll out across digital, print and out-of-home today.

Sports Direct predicted to record 20% slump in profit

Sports Direct is expected to report a 20% drop in profits following owner Mike Ashley’s acquisition of House of Fraser.

Profit before tax could slip from £152.9m to £122.06m, while analysts say revenue is expected to rise from £3.35bn to £3.65bn, which will be reflected in the firm’s full-year results.

The Telegraph reports that some analysts believe one-off charges, such as the integration of House of Fraser, could dent profits further. Sports Direct bought the department store out of administration for £90m in August last year.

Ashley, the chief executive of the sports retailer, says he wants to transform it into the “Harrods of the high street”.

Ashley also owns Evans Cycles and lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, and has stakes in French Connection, Goals Soccer Centres and online discount business Findel.

He failed to acquire Debenhams earlier this year after the department store was taken over by a consortium of lenders.

READ MORE: Sports Direct expected to post 20 per cent profit drop

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