Unilever, Disney, Royal Mail: 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.


Disney to close children’s TV channels in Disney+ focus

Disney is closing its children’s TV channels in the UK and moving them exclusively to its recently launched online subscription service Disney+.

The move comes after Disney failed to reach an agreement with Sky and Virgin Media to continue airing channels including the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. The channels will close in September.

Disney says: “From 1 October, Disney+ will become the exclusive home for content from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the UK.”

Disney+ has secured 54 million subscribers since its launch in March. It is available through the Sky Q platform, but unlike the Disney Channels that were part of Sky’s basic packages, Disney+ can only be viewed after a £5.99 monthly supplement.

READ MORE Disney Plus to become the exclusive home of Disney Channels in the UK

Centrica CMO Margareret Jobling departs as part of restructure

Centrica’s group chief marketing officer Margaret Jobling is leaving as part of a restructure to “create a simpler, leaner group”.

Jobling joined Centrica as brand and marketing director at British Gas from Birds Eye in 2014. She was promoted to group CMO in 2018.

Earlier this month, Centrica said it would be cutting 5,000 jobs, which includes half of its senior leadership team. The majority of the restructuring is expected to take place in the second half of 2020, following consultation.

Centrica chief executive, Chris O’Shea, says of the restrucure: “Now we must bring focus by modernising and simplifying the way we do business I truly regret that these difficult decisions will have to be made and understand the impact on the colleagues who will leave us.”

Unilever to rename ‘Fair & Lovely’ skin lightening products

Unilever is to change the name of its Fair & Lovely skin lightening brand following a backlash in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The consumer goods giant’s Indian arm says it will no longer use the words ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, or ‘light/lightening’ in advertising or the packaging of the brand, which is sold in South Asia. Instead it will substitute terms such as ‘fair’ and ‘light’ in its advertising with words such as ‘radiance’ and ‘glow’.

However, it will continue to sell the brand, albeit under a different name – in contrast with rival Johnson & Johnson, which said this month it would discontinue two of its Asian skin lightening products.

Unilever’s head of beauty, Sunny Jain, says: “We recognise that the use of the words ‘fair’, ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we do not think is right, and we want to address this. As we are evolving the way we communicate the skin benefits of our products that deliver radiant and even-tone skin, it’s also important to change the language we use.”

READ MORE: Unilever renames Fair & Lovely skin cream after backlash

Royal Mail to axe 2,000 jobs

Royal Mail is cutting 2,000 jobs in a restructuring that has been exacerbated by Covid-19.

The cuts will reduce the number of UK management roles in the business by around a fifth and are intended to deliver cost savings of £130m a year as the business struggles to adapt to changes in demand accelerated by the coronavirus crisis – with more parcels but fewer letters being delivered.

Royal Mail said it would mainly affect central and support roles rather than “field operations” as it seeks to become a “leaner, more focused company”.

They come just over a month after Royal Mail’s chief executive Rico Back quit after less than two years in the role.

Royal Mail’s interim executive chairman, Keith Williams, says: “In recent years, our UK business has not adapted quickly enough to the changes in our marketplace of more parcels and fewer letters. Covid-19 has accelerated those trends, presenting additional challenges.”

Royal Mail reported a 13.6% fall in adjusted operating profits to £325m for the year to 29 March.

READ MORE: Royal Mail to cut 2,000 management roles

British Airways proposes pay cuts

British Airways is proposing restructuring plans that would mean cabin crew would be paid at least 80% of their current basic rate.

The airline said after the Covid-19 lockdowns began that it needed to cut up to 12,000 jobs and bring its wage bill down in line with rivals if it is to survive the collapse in passenger numbers expected after coronavirus.

Following a briefing to staff announcing plans for the first time, the company’s head of inflight customer experience, Amy James, emailed cabin crew in the so-called ‘legacy fleets’ working the European and Worldwide routes to outline what she called the “pay protection proposal”.

Not all staff will be seeing pay cuts under the plan. Around 40% of cabin crew, particularly lower paid, younger ones, are likely to get some sort of pay rise in their basic, sources said.

James wrote: “This pay protection proposal provides a ‘soft landing’ into a new aviation industry that’s very different to what any of us have known in the past, and enables you to adjust to the changes we need to make if we are to compete effectively and be fit for a different future.”

BA currently has three cabin crew fleet – the Euro Fleet, the Worldwide Fleet and, in recent years, the Mixed Fleet. The latter group consists of newer staff generally on lower pay.

Under the restructuring, the three will be merged into one with cabin crew earning a basic £28,000, lead cabin crew £31,000 and managers on £38,000. Those for whom the new levels represent a bigger cut than 20% will have their pay individually adjusted upwards.

Currently, the airline employs 14,000 cabin crew.

BA says: “We are acting now to protect as many jobs as possible. The airline is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy

READ MORE: British Airways cabin crew face losing fifth of their pay

Thursday, 25 June


TikTok launches business platform

TikTok is launching a platform for businesses that it hopes will encourage more brands to use the platform to reach their consumers.

Created as a way to give brands opportunities for creative storytelling, TikTok For Business aims to give marketers the tools to be discovered and connect with the broader communities around them.

And the company has some advice for brands: make TikToks, not ads. It advises that creative, light-hearted and fun content is seen as the best way to connect with the young audience that uses the app.

TikTok’s head of Europe, global business solutions, Stuart Flint says: “We’ve seen more and more brands embrace the unique and creative ways the TikTok community expresses themselves through video.

“The experience is real, light-hearted and fun, and as we’ve seen over the course of these dynamic times, users and brands have the ability to make a meaningful and positive impact on their communities.

“We’re excited to officially introduce TikTok For Business and continue building products, services and resources for marketers to engage their communities in a new and innovative way, and show them how TikTok is a creative and valuable marketing platform.”

Daz returns to television screens

Laundry brand Daz is launching its biggest campaign in a decade as it looks to target younger consumers.

The marketing push, ‘#DazItUp’, targets 18- to 35-year olds. The campaign covers television and social channels, with the brand more than doubling its media spend in 2020 to build awareness and engagement with an audience that may not remember the ‘Daz Doorstep Challenge’ era.

With a voiceover from comedian and actor Paddy McGuiness, the ad encourages people to show off their bright holiday clothes from their home or garden, nodding to the benefits of the Daz All-in-One pods which have in-built brightness boosters.

“Our brand is all about bright cleaning so naturally we had planned to launch a summer campaign to get people showing off their summer brights even if the British summer can be unpredictable,” says Laura Mcilwaine, Daz brand manager. “We just didn’t know how unpredictable this year would be.

“We’re returning to screens via TV and social, supporting the TV campaign with a social media strategy using influencer partners and new social media platforms like TikTok for the first time ever for Daz.

“Making our brands appealing to a younger audience is an important step-change for Daz and for the laundry category.”

Domino’s launches All4 idents

Domino'sDomino’s has launched three Joy + Missing Out’ idents as part of its All4 partnership.

Created by VCCP, the spots are immersive, mixed media films that combine a live action cast with puppets and animation.

The idea is to show how you can be missing out and still experience joy (or ‘JOMO’), with the help of some Domino’s pizza.

Domino’s head of marketing Rebecca Rose explains: “We tasked VCCP to come up with an execution that disrupts the market and fits seamlessly with our All4 audience.

“These idents are our way of telling people to make the most of their night in with a Domino’s. The incredibly fun execution is instantly attention-grabbing and is a great fit for our brand, as well as the All4 demographic.”

Marketing Week columnist Tanya Joseph joins H&K

Marketing Week columnist Tanya Joseph has joined PR agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) as managing director of specialist services in London.

Joseph will lead a team of specialists across key services supporting H+K’s industry sector teams in the UK business.

These services include corporate advisory, public affairs, behavioural science, executive coaching and internal communications, as well as crisis and reputation management.

“I have always looked to H+K as a leader in corporate and reputation management, and as an agency with values that align with my own,” Joseph says.

“So, it’s particularly fitting to re-join agency life at a time when clients need support more than ever to protect their businesses, navigate some really challenging issues sensitively and engage their audiences authentically.

“Bringing together PA, issues and reputation, internal communications, behaviour change, diversity and inclusion – all areas I have deep expertise in and am truly committed too – it feels like this role was designed for me.”

A former journalist, Joseph’s CV includes a stint as press secretary to then prime minister Tony Blair and working both in-house and agency side for brands including Mars, Fujitsu, Tesco, Lloyds Banking Group, the Department for Work and Pensions and Nationwide. She is also credited as the architect of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.

John Lewis hires new boss

Pippa Wicks John LewisThe John Lewis Partnership has appointed Co-Op Group deputy chief executive Pippa Wick as executive director of the John Lewis department store chain.

Wicks, who will start her new role in August, will be responsible for trading, merchandising, marketing, and developing propositions and services for John Lewis shops and johnlewis.com.

“I am delighted to welcome Pippa to the Partnership,” says John Lewis Partnership partner and chairman Sharon White.

“She brings a wealth of experience of leading and developing businesses that deliver brilliant products and services to customers, both online and in stores.”

The appointment forms part of a seven-strong executive team and follows the appointment of James Bailey as executive director of Waitrose in April.

“I feel extremely privileged to be joining the John Lewis Partnership at such an important time in its history,” adds Wicks.

“As executive director responsible for the John Lewis business I look forward to working closely with partners to steer through these extraordinary times in society and in retail.

“As the biggest employee-owned business in the UK and one of the biggest in the world there is an opportunity to provide both exceptional service for customers as well as really meaningful work for partners.”

Wednesday, 24 June

Digital advertising to overtake traditional for the first time

Digital advertising spend is forecast to overtake ‘traditional’ media for the first time this year as coronavirus accelerates the shift to online ad formats.

Excluding online ads sold by media outlets such as news publishers or broadcasters, digital marketing is forecast to account for more than half the $530bn global ad industry in 2020, according to media agency GroupM. While the overall industry is predicted to fall by about 11.8% year on year, pureplay digital ad spend will decline by 2.4% while traditional media will experience a 20.7% decline.

In a separate forecast, eMarketer predicts that Google’s ad revenue will decline for the first time. It estimates Google’s US ad revenue will fall by 5.3% year on year to $39.58bn. Facebook is expected to see growth of 4.9% to $31.43bn (down from growth of 26.1% in 2019), while Amazon’s ad revenues are predicted to increase 23.5% to $12.75bn.

READ MORE: Digital ad market set to eclipse traditional media for first time

Diageo launches $100m fund to support recovery of pubs and bars

Guinness-maker Diageo is launching a $100m fund to support the recovery of pubs and bars in major cities including London, New York, Mexico City, Nairobi and Mumbai.

The ‘Raising the Bar’ programme comes after Diageo ran a global survey of bar owners to identify what they need to reopen after lockdown. Their priorities include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment, and so Diageo will, for example, providing funding for hygiene kits, online reservation systems and mobile bars.

Bar owners that register to take part will also receive updates on best practice, as well as be able to take part in further surveys.

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes says: “Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community. We have launched ‘Raising the Bar’ as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again.’

“We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector. These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, which provide a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.”

Ben and Jerry’s joins Facebook ad boycott

Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s has joined a small but growing list of big brands that plan to pull advertising from Facebook’s platforms in July in protest over its content moderation practices.

The move is part of the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, which is calling on Facebook to implement stricter measures around hateful and racist content on its platforms.

Ben & Jerry’s says in a tweet that it will “pause” all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US.

“We will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Facebook, Inc. must take the clear and unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate,” it says.

Ben & Jerry’s joins brands including The North Face, Patagonia and REI in boycotting Facebook ads during July. The freelancing platform UpWork and password manager Dashlane are also taking part.

READ MORE: Ad Boycott of Facebook Keeps Growing

Skittles asks people to write letters in support of Pride

Skittles is launching a campaign to celebrate and promote Pride that will see thousands of ‘Letters filled with Pride’ sent. Teaming up with Gay Times and Switchboard, the campaign will enable people to log into a website to create their letter, before submitting it to be printed and posted for free to a recipient of their choice.

Skittles will also be removing the rainbow colours from its packs for the fifth year in support of Pride. And it will be promoting Switchboard’s helpline.

Victoria Gell, Skittles director at Mars Wrigley, says: “We believe that giving up our rainbow means so much more than just removing the colours from our Skittles packs, which is why we have supported Switchboard for the last three years and this year have worked closely with the Switchboard volunteers and Gay Times to develop a campaign aiming to keep people connected even while we’re apart.”

The UK’s economic downturn easing in June

The UK’s economic downturn, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, is easing this month according to a closely followed survey from IHS Markit.

The UK’s economic output hit 47.6 in the purchasing managers’ index – a four-month high. While anything below 50 represents a contraction, it is an improvement on the score of 30 in May.

“June’s PMI data add to signs that the economy looks likely return to growth in the third quarter, especially given the further planned easing of the lockdown from 4 July,” says IHS Markit chief business economist, Chris Williamson.

“June saw a record rise in the PMI for a second successive month, confirming that the economy is moving closer to stabilising after the worst of the immediate economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic was felt back in April.”

Manufacturing is leading the recovery, with a PMI score of 50.8. However, the services industry posted a score of 47 – suggesting it is still contracting – although this is higher than May’s score of 29.

READ MORE: UK economy set for third quarter growth after coronavirus chaos

Tuesday, 23 June

Centrica to launch digital-only energy brand

The parent company of British Gas is trialling a digital-only energy brand that would be much cheaper and greener than British Gas.

British Gas X will target “digitally savvy” homeowners by allowing them to do everything online. According to its website, customers will be able to switch at any time with no exit fees and the energy British Gas X uses will be offset from 100% renewable sources.

“If you’re looking for competitively priced energy including green electricity, British Gas X is for you,” it says on its website.

While British Gas remains the UK’s largest household energy supplier with 7 million customers, it has been losing customers – almost 290,000 last year alone.

News of British Gas X follows Centrica’s announcement that it will cut 5,000 jobs from its 27,000-strong workforce amid challenging market conditions that saw the energy giant lose £849m in 2019.

READ MORE: British Gas owner plans to launch cheaper energy rival

Asahi UK launches ‘super-premium’ online bottle shop

Asahi UK has launched a direct-to-consumer delivery service that will allow people to order its beers online for next-day delivery.

The platform, called Beer Pronto, will sell Asahi UK brands including Peroni Nastro Azzuro, Asahi Super Dry, London Pride, Meantime and Cornish Orchards.

Asahi UK hopes it will give it a “super-premium point of difference” and help it connect with consumers in a new channel and expose them to new product offerings. It will be supported by a social campaign to drive awareness.

“With hard to come by home delivery slots and surge in popularity of online shopping – we wanted to ensure fans of our most popular brands weren’t kept waiting and could still enjoy their favourite premium larger and cider, at home, delivered with speed,” says Asahi UK’s marketing director, Sam Rhodes.

“By offering next working day deli very, we believe BeerPronto.co.uk will be popular with shoppers.”

Manchester City and Faze Clan unveil fashion collaboration

Manchester City has unveiled a new limited edition product collaboration with esports giant Faze Clan.

Marking the second year of their partnership, the capsule collection merges Manchester City and Faze Clan’s branding and crests and includes a T-shirt, hoodie, shorts and a “collectable” ‘half and half’ scarf.

The two have also teamed up with FaZe’s partner Scuf to create limited edition game controllers that will be given away to fans.

City Football Group’s chief marketing officer, Nuria Tarre, says: “Manchester City’s partnership with FaZe Clan has strengthened our extensive esports offering and allowed us to further experience football beyond the pitch.

“Fans have embraced this partnership as it has allowed them to combine their passions for football and gaming in ways that have never been seen before in football.”

Major multinationals keep global ad budgets in lockdown

Major multinationals are continuing to hold back advertising spend by six months, with more than 40% deferring campaign spend, according to te World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) Covid-19 Response Tracker.

This is the same level of deferral as the data released in May, which the report says shows the world’s largest companies continue to be wary of returning to the old normal, even as lockdown restrictions are lifted in many countries.

However, the vast majority (78%) do now have response campaigns live, up from just 32% in March when the WFA conducted its first Covid-19 Response Tracker research. The report notes while such campaigns do stop brands from going “dark” during the crisis, they also tend to involve smaller advertising investments than what was originally planned at the start of the year.

The results, based on responses from 35 major advertisers across more than eight key sectors with a cumulative total annual ad spend of $65bn, also found that large multinationals expect 2020 ad spend will be down by 36% globally.

There is some improvement in sentiment among senior marketers at large multinationals. While just 8% feel positive about the current business environment, 27% are positive about the business environment in the next six months.

Around half, however, feel negative on both time frames, with 51% not positive about the current business environment and 46% expressing the same sentiment on the six-month time frame.

“While the overall picture may show continued restraint when it comes to global ad spend, anecdotal evidence from our conversations with CMOs shows that major multinationals are seeing business growth in China and more broadly across APAC,” says the WFA’s CEO Stephan Loerke.

“We are also hearing about rises in ad spend globally in some key sectors. We expect advertisers to remain cautious but many are preparing plans for recovery. A more tactical approach, where opportunities for more flexible, short-term buying become available, is likely to be key to building confidence for a return to higher levels of advertising investment.”

People shopping more locally during lockdown

Consumers are shopping more locally during lockdown, with sales at UK convenience stores up by almost a fifth (17%) over the last month.

Demand for convenience shopping outpaced overall total till sales in the grocery market (14%), according to new figures from Nielsen for the four weeks ending 13 June, with 25% of shoppers claiming to shop more at their closest local store than they did pre-Covid. Sales at independent shops and franchises also grew by an average of 33%.

Despite an increase in convenience store shopping, overall sales at bricks and mortar grocery retailers grew by only 6%, whereas online sales grew 115% compared to the same period last year, maintaining the online share of sales at 13% in the last four weeks.

Iceland (+23%) has continued to outperform all other major UK grocery retailers over the last 12 weeks, while sales at the Co-op (+16%) grew faster than the big four major UK supermarkets.

The average spend per shopping visit across all formats was £20.32, a decrease of £1.30 compared to the previous four weeks.

Monday, 22 June

Patagonia store Manchester

The North Face and Patagonia join Facebook ad boycott

The North Face and Patagonia have become the first major brands to join a movement boycotting advertising on Facebook amid concerns over hate speech on the platform.

As of 19 June, The North Face said it was halting all US paid advertising on Facebook “until stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on the platform”. The ban extends to ads on Facebook-owned Instagram, although the brand intends to continue posting on the site organically.

In a statement The North Face added: “We know that for too long harmful, racist rhetoric and misinformation has made the world unequal and unsafe, and we stand with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People] and the other organisations who are working to #StopHateforProfit.”

Patagonia is alo pulling all its advertising on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately until “at least” the end of July. Head of marketing, Cory Bayers, claims Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop “the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform”

In a statement, Bayers adds: “From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred. As companies across the country work hard to ensure that Americans have access to free and fair elections this fall, we can’t stand by and contribute resources to companies that contribute to the problem.”

US civil rights groups including the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League are calling on brands to pull their advertising off Facebook during July.

The North Face and Patagonia join New York-based ad agency 360i, which has encouraged its clients including Ben & Jerry’s, Oreo and United Airlines to pull their Facebook ad spend for the month of July in protest. In an email to clients, 360i said: “Any social platform that earns profits by amplifying the voice of their community must have a zero-tolerance policy for hate.”

In response, Facebook’s vice-president of global business, Carolyn Everson, said the social media giant is working with marketers and civil rights organisations to determine how it can be a “force for good.”

READ MORE: The North Face becomes first major brand to join Facebook ad boycott

Go Outdoors on the ‘brink of collapse’ putting 2,400 jobs at risk

Go Outdoors is poised to fall into administration, putting 2,400 jobs at risk across 67 stores nationwide.

The retailer, which sells outdoor clothes, tents and bikes, has been put under pressure by the coronavirus retail lockdown, as well as the hit to outdoor activities and closure of campsites. Bought by JD Sports for £112m in 2016, Go Outdoors made a £291.1m loss in the six months to 3 August 2019.

The company is not alone in struggling to cope as the Covid-19 shutdown has taken its toll. Since lockdown began Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley and the UK business of Victoria’s Secret have called in administrators, while Poundstretcher has entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) insolvency process.

READ MORE: 2,400 jobs in peril as storm hits Go Outdoors

Red Bull under fire for initial ‘public silence’ over Black Lives Matter

Red BullMore than 300 Red Bull employees have signed a letter asking the brand to go further in recognising the Black Lives Matter movement.

The letter, which was sent to North American CEO Stefan Kozak and CMO Amy Taylor, expressed concern about Red Bull’s initial “public silence” regarding the protests, according to Business Insider. While staff were sent an internal memo on 31 May from the leadership, which referred to the “tremendous heartbreak, pain, and anger across our country”, there was no use of the word “black” or mention of George Floyd.

The signatories to the letter point out that Red Bull has drawn heavily from black culture, including hip-hop, breakdancing and basketball, in order to promote its products.

They added: “Absence during a time that demands action, reveals purported support as nothing more than exploitation.”

Red Bull has also been criticised for not using the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ on its Instagram post supporting #BlackoutTuesday.

A staff email sent on 2 June from Kozak did mention “the murder of George Floyd and countless others”, while another message on 14 June from Red Bull’s head of communications, Carly Loder, said that Red Bull “supports the black community and the movement”.

In the message, Loder is reported to have said executives understood why staff were frustrated with the company’s delayed response and promised “action in short term solutions for black representation in our organisation and in the stories and content we amplify in the market.”

READ MORE: More than 300 Red Bull employees signed a letter expressing ‘concern’ about the company’s response to Black Lives Matter and asking for ‘internal action.’ Read their note to executives (£)

Brands urged to take ‘urgent action’ on leadership diversity

Companies are being urged to take “urgent action” to redress their lack of diversity as a survey reveals just 1.5% of the 3.7 million public and private sector leadership positions in the UK were held by black people in 2019.

This number has barely improved since 2014, when the level was 1.4%, according to Business in the Community, a group supporting responsible business.

By contrast, white professionals held approximately 89.6% of the UK’s leadership positions across both the public and private sector, down about 1% since 2014.

Business in the Community is calling on employers to review their internal culture as black people continue to be under-represented at a senior level.

“Black livelihoods matter, and employers need to take urgent action to ensure that their organisation is inclusive and a place where people of any ethnic background can thrive and succeed,” says Sandra Kerr, race director at Business in the Community.

Some brands are making a commitment to do more to improve representation. BT, Tesco, ITV, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Direct Line Group authored an open letter published in the Sunday Times, in which they addressed their own systemic racism.

The letter states: “For years, diverse voices have pleaded for action on ethnic-minority inclusion in business. The sad truth is that organisations have not been ready to have a challenging and frank conversation about systemic racism within the four walls of their own offices.

“This cycle of inaction and disengagement must end. As business leaders, we need to talk about white privilege. We need to talk about racism. We need to talk about the role we have played in maintaining this system for so long. Finally, we need to talk about how we will change.”

READ MORE: UK black professional representation ‘has barely budged since 2014’

Agencies warn wrong KPIs are hurting relationships with brands

Poor processes, few face-to-face meetings and the dominance of ‘cost-only’ KPIs mean agency performance evaluations are less effective than they should be, according to new research from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

Completed in May, the study asked 60 senior global agency leaders across 36 different agencies about the evaluation process and whether it added value.

The research found agencies want more face-to-face and open discussions with clients about what can be done better once evaluations have occurred. While 31% of clients say they conduct face-to-face discussions around the results of evaluations, 14% of agencies say they discover results via an evaluation tool, 7% get a phone call, 5% hear by email and 2% say they get no feedback at all.

Many agencies are also not comfortable in providing honest feedback, with 43% citing this as the biggest barrier to effective evaluation. Some 38% say they do not believe clients will change as a result of feedback and 34% say there is little leadership engagement with the process.

While 70% advertisers say they provide feedback on their agencies at a least once a year, just 40% of agencies get the same chance. Some 29% of respondents said most of their clients didn’t ask them for feedback at all.

Agencies also want brands to think more carefully about the KPIs they use, rather than relying solely on cost-focused KPIs, NPS, share price or subjective KPIs such as ‘enthusiasm’. Respondents suggested new KPIs could be explored, such as proactivity and speed, efficiency, contribution to business strategy and capacity to add value and enrich the brief.

According to the research, many agencies also see linking evaluation to ‘performance by results’ payments as inappropriate and the results of the research indicate that it should be kept as a small percentage of total remuneration. Some 71% of respondents say such payments should be below 15% of total remuneration, while 25% suggested it should be less than 5%.



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