Amazon plans department stores
Amazon plans to open large department store-like physical retail outlets in US cities, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The first examples are expected to be in California and Ohio, and to measure around 30,000 sq ft. This is similar in size to the scaled-down department stores being opened by more traditional US retailers such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.
Amazon declined to comment on the report, which quotes sources familiar with the project.
The disruptive online retailer is reported to be seeking to extend its reach in sales of clothing, household items and electronics, along with other product categories.
Recent physical retail innovations from Amazon have included its first full size grocery store with ‘walk out’ payment technology.
Amazon is expecting sales in its third and current quarter to be between $106bn (£77bn) and $112bn (£82bn). Its Prime online delivery service is now available in 22 countries.
ITV invests in DTC digital health startup Feel
ITV has made its fourth media for equity investment, with up to £3m going to digital health startup Feel. The brand will start a tailored media campaign across ITV channels later this year.
The health brand takes a science-led approach to product development, selling on a direct-to-consumer subscription model. It now plans to expand into other nutrition categories and grow its London-based team. Singer and TV personality Cheryl has also invested in Feel.
ITV AdVentures launched earlier this year and is investing in a portfolio of high growth, innovative brands. It has previously invested in What3words, menswear brand Spoke and cash saving platform Ismybillfair.
“As an innovative, digital consumer brand at scale-up stage, it’s a perfect fit for ITV’s investment, and we look forward to helping Feel grow through the power of TV advertising,” says ITV AdVentures fund manager Niko Waesche.
Feel founder and CEO Boris Hodakel says: “To achieve our next stage of development, we looked for a leading media partner with a trusted brand and the broadest commercial reach in the UK. We are not here to create a brand for a select few; we want everyone in the UK to be able to benefit from our science-based nutritional supplements.”
Coffee shop pop-up for Jägermeister
Jägermeister UK opened its first Jäger coffee shop yesterday, to celebrate the launch of its new Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur product.
The Coffee Haus pop-up store is operating for two days, serving complimentary drinks from Caravan Coffee Roasters on a first come, first served basis.
Visitors are given a sample-size Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur bottle to take away as part of a goodie bag. They are also able to use a dispensing billboard, which has been giving away free takeaway bags of Caravan Coffee Roasters coffee beans.
“We’re excited to collaborate with an awesome independent business such as Caravan Coffee, to celebrate Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. People expect the unexpected from Jágermeister, and us opening a pop up ‘Coffee Haus’ with a coffee bean dispensing billboard outside, is no exception,” says a spokesperson for the brand.
The Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee product, which has an ABV of 33%, features the Jägermeister blend of 56 herbs and spices, fused with coffee and cacao.
Bed store used to highlight youth homelessness
National youth homelessness charity Depaul UK has opened the Beyond a Bed store in Croydon Centrale shopping centre, to illustrate that a bed is not enough to help young people escape homelessness.
Fitted out like a real bed store, but without any beds for sale, the store instead tells real-life stories of young people who have been helped by Depaul. The store will remain open until 24 August as part of a wider campaign, developed by Publicis Poke.
The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) has reported a 30% increase in the number of under 25s sleeping rough in London, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and the £20 top-up on Universal Credit payments is not renewed.
“The strategic shift of the ‘A bed is not enough’ mission is a vital step to tackle the constant challenges homelessness charities like Depaul face in raising ongoing funds. We need a more permanent solution,” says Depaul UK executive director of fundraising and communications Claire McMaster.
“With the ‘Beyond a Bed’ campaign we’re aiming to bring a fresh awareness to the issue in an engaging, immersive way in the hope that people begin to subscribe to tackling homelessness and go beyond a single donation.”
Natural Diamond Council thanks conscious consumers
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC), with the support of the Responsible Jewellery Council, has launched a new campaign targeted at consumers who demand greater information on the social and environmental impact of their purchases.
The ‘Thank You, By The Way’ campaign features a variety of facts about the sustainability credentials of the natural diamond industry, highlighting both socioeconomic and community benefits to choosing a natural product. Nine executions of the campaign will debut on the NDC’s social channels this week, with forthcoming ads in printed magazines.
“This isn’t a new topic for the diamond industry,” says NDC CEO David Kellie.
“For the last two decades the industry has been doing this work, putting sustainability at the forefront of everything we do. But now more than ever, consumers have an appetite for it, they want to know the impact of what they are buying, and how their purchases are contributing to the regions and communities producing them. Through this campaign, we would like to thank our consumers for their trust and support in doing good around us.”
Thursday, 19 August
John Lewis ramps up diversification plans with investments push
John Lewis is ramping up its strategy to diversify beyond pure retail with its first foray into investment products.
The department store chain, which plans to spend £100m over the next five years to quadruple its financial services business, is teaming up with digital wealth management brand Nutmeg after identifying a “significant opportunity” to deliver simple investments.
The offering includes a Junior ISA, a tax-free investment with a yearly allowance of £9,000 that allows parents and guardians to invest for a child under 16, which the young person cannot access until they turn 18. There is also a stocks and shares ISA, which allows customers to invest in stocks and shares up £20,000 tax-free, and a general investment account.
John Lewis is pitching the financial products as an easy-to-use service to help customers reach their financial targets, aimed at people who would otherwise would not consider investing. Customers can start by investing £100 based on a timeframe and level of risk that suits them. Users will then be able to check their investments online at any time, as well as access a dedicated phone line or contact the John Lewis team via the website.
The investments will be focused on businesses that score highly in the areas of carbon emissions, climate change, renewable energy, social impact and ethical practices.
The move into investments follows a survey of 2,000 people conducted by John Lewis, which found 72% of respondents would consider investing in stocks and shares instead of leaving their funds in a current account. However, 59% said they were put off doing so as they had no idea where to start.
John Lewis financial services director Amir Goshtai believes the products will help people take the first step into the world of investments.
“The pandemic has been tough for many, but others have managed to save more every month. They’ve also reassessed how they want to spend their money – more than ever, they want to secure their financial future and that of their families. Our products allow people to put money aside and to take that first step into what is often perceived as the complicated world of investments,” Goshtai adds.
“This is where the trust and love that customers have for our brand combined with Nutmeg’s expertise can make a difference, while making John Lewis even more relevant for life’s big moments; whether that’s saving for a home or preparing for the arrival of a new baby.”
By 2030, John Lewis wants 40% of its profits to come from areas outside retail, focusing on financial services, housing and outdoor living. Speaking in March, the business described financial services as a “really exciting opportunity”, having already launched a new flexible home insurance product and interest free credit service in 2020.
The diversification plans don’t stop there. Only last month John Lewis revealed plans to build 10,000 rental homes over the next decade in former department store car parks, above Waitrose supermarkets or next to distribution centres.
The company is attempting to claw itself back to a position of profitability after reporting a pre-tax loss of £517m in the 53 weeks ending 30 January, compared to pre-tax profit of £146m the previous year.
Facebook poised to launch cryptocurrency wallet
Facebook is poised to launch its cryptocurrency wallet Novi, as the social media giant looks to address the world’s “broken payments infrastructure”.
The Novi wallet will allow users to transact using a stablecoin, a cryptocurrency with a market value pegged to an external reference, which is considered more stable than other forms of cryptocurrency. In this case the idea would be for Novi to be backed one-for-one by the US dollar.
According head of Facebook Financial David Marcus, the social media giant wants a “fair shot” at the digital currency market and sees itself as a challenger in the space.
“We’re a challenger in the payments industry, and we will offer free person-to-person payments domestically and internationally for people using the Novi wallet,” says Marcus. “We trust that people will prefer a service that is cost free and more convenient to ones that are significantly more expensive and not consumer-centric.”
Users will have to choose to open a Novi account and won’t simply be given one because they are a Facebook user. The opening of an account will include identification through the uploading of a government issued ID and will only roll out to a small number of countries first given the service is not yet approved in specific jurisdictions.
Facebook says that once it has a meaningful customer base it will be able to offer cheaper merchant payments to businesses worldwide, before branching out into a “variety of other financial services” in partnership with regulated partners.
The Novi wallet is “ready to come to market”, says Marcus, who describes it as regulated and developed to exceed the high standards of compliance. He points out that Facebook has been in the payments space since 2009 and over the past four quarters has facilitated more than $100bn (£73bn) in payments in 55 currencies, across 160 countries.
“The scaling of our wallet will be a long journey, one we intend to take responsibly as we know and accept that we will be held to the highest standards globally,” Marcus adds.
Boots tackles hygiene poverty ahead of return to school
Boots is teaming up with publisher Reach on a campaign to make hygiene poverty a national talking point ahead of the return to school in England and Wales next month.
The ‘Right to Feel Good’ campaign is intended to raise awareness of the impact hygiene poverty has on young people, breaking down the stigma by starting a conversation across Reach’s network of newspaper titles. The creative will remind customers about the 400 Hygiene Bank donation points in Boots stores, encouraging them to donate in store or online, or volunteer at the banks. For every 1kg of product donated in store, Boots will donate four additional products.
The campaign launch will also see the publication of a ‘State of the Nation’ report across the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star, as well as Reach’s network of regional titles, revealing the implications of hygiene poverty amongst school children in the UK based on a Boots-funded study.
The campaign will run for six weeks with a series of case studies featuring stories from those affected, supported by contextual print and digital activity targeted to relevant editorial and ‘Back to School’ content. Calls to action will run across all activity encouraging people to donate or volunteer.
The creative, devised by VMLY&R, launched in Scotland on Monday to time in with the return to school and will roll out across England and Wales next week. Media planning and buying across the campaign was handled by MediaCom.
“Boots and The Hygiene Bank are working together to ensure more children have access to the hygiene products they need as they return to the classroom,” says Boots CMO Pete Markey.
“By partnering with Reach, with their heritage of campaigning on social issues, we are pledging to make this issue a national talking point with the ambition of boosting donations of the much-needed essentials at a critical time when families are preparing to send their children back to school.”
Uber poaches JetBlue vice-president to head up mobility marketing
Uber has appointed JetBlue vice-president of marketing Elizabeth Windram as its new global head of mobility marketing.
Windram, who will report into Uber’s vice-president of global marketing Thomas Ranese, will be responsible for marketing across the company’s ride-sharing, rental car and transit businesses. She replaces Laura Jones, who left Uber in June after six years to become vice-president of brand and marketing at US grocery delivery business Instacart.
The new Uber mobility marketing boss joins from airline JetBlue, where she led a team of more than 60 and managed an annual operating budget of $250m (£182m). Windram was responsible for devising the JetBlue brand strategy and tone of voice, leading on the ad campaigns, sales strategy and sponsorship portfolio. Her role also spanned product development, loyalty and marketing analytics.
Prior to joining JetBlue in 2016, Windram worked for more than six years at the E. & J. Gallo winery, culminating in a role as senior marketing manager for the Barefoot wine and bubbly range. She kicked off her career in private equity, with roles at Citigroup and Terra Firma Capital Partners.
Twitter trials feature to report ‘misleading’ posts
Twitter is trialling a feature that will allow users to report tweets which appear to be misleading.
The test means “some” users in the US, South Korea and Australia have been given the option to flag a Tweet as misleading after clicking on the ‘Report Tweet’ button. In a post on its Twitter Safety account, the social media site confirmed it was starting small as it assessed whether this was an effective approach.
“We may not take action on and cannot respond to each report in the experiment, but your input will help us identify trends so that we can improve the speed and scale of our broader misinformation work,” the post added.
Twitter has been grappling with how to combat fake news on its platform for years. In February 2020, the site introduced warnings on tweets considered to have been “deceptively altered or fabricated” and where additional context is needed. This includes sharing a warning with users before they retweet or like a post, reducing the visibility of the tweet and providing additional clarifications, such as a landing page with more context.
In January Twitter launched Birdwatch, a pilot allowing a select number of US users to submit notes on tweets that may be false or misleading. At the time the social media platform said that while the process might be “messy”, it was a model worth trying.
Then earlier this month, the site announced it was teaming up with news agencies Reuters and the Associated Press to provide background information on events creating a high volume of tweets, in a bid to prevent the spread of misinformation.
Wednesday, 18 August
Supply chain problems prompt Nando’s closures
Nando’s has temporarily closed 50 of its restaurants after running out of ingredients, putting the blame squarely on the pingdemic and a calamitous knock-on effect for suppliers.
“The UK supply chain is having a bit of a ‘mare right now,” the brand declared on its UK Twitter feed, in response to customer concerns about closures.
A number of other companies in the food and drink sector have reported similar problems, with several pubs reportedly running out of beer.
Diary brand Arla has had to cut back on its milk deliveries to supermarkets after it announced a shortage of lorry drivers, most of whom have been told to self-isolate due to coming into contact with someone with the coronavirus.
Now, with fully-vaccinated staff no longer required to self-isolate, the government is hoping that the situation will quickly improve and the supply chain can get moving again.
However, Nando’s are said to be looking into the possibility of its staff helping hard-pushed suppliers as a temporary solution.
RSPCA Assured hopes to teach consumers about farming
Ethical food label RSPCA Assured has produced a mini-documentary series and accompanying campaign to better educate consumers about farming and where their food comes from.
Presented by Kate Quilton, ‘Welly Vision’ kicks off with a 10-minute doc focusing on pig farming, with two shorter videos looking at pork labelling and pig behaviour available to watch on the RSPCA Assured website.
The series will be promoted with television slots on Channel 4, Sky 1, Eden and HGTV, alongside full-page print adverts in Sainsbury’s and BBC Good Food magazines, social media ads and organic posts.
“The purpose of Welly Vision is to give viewers an authentic, feet-on-the-ground look at life on RSPCA Assured farms,” explains RSPCA Assured’s marketing manager Xenia Kinglsey.
“We will be tackling some key issues to help better educate people about the reality of food and farming. At the same time, the series aims to build even more awareness of the importance of farm animal welfare and trust in the RSPCA Assured brand.”
Future episodes will focus on other species including laying hens, broiler chickens and turkeys.
NatWest teams up with Spotify for carbon-neutral podcast
NatWest has partnered with Spotify and digital agency Vayner Media to present the UK’s first completely carbon-neutral podcast series.
Presented by Ade Adepitan, ‘Green Business Builders’ will talk to climate and eco champions and experts from across the UK business community, providing advice and inspiration for individuals and businesses looking to make long-term changes to their impact on the environment.
Each 25-minute episode will include guests such as brands like Green Tomato Cars, Beeswax Wrap Company and Too Good To Go, as well as multinationals BT, WPP and Coutts.
The podcast’s green credentials have been given a significant boost thanks to its carbon-neutral status, achieved due to its offsetting of carbon emissions generated by the production and streaming, all part of Spotify Advertising’s sustainable audio offering ‘Sustainable Sonics’.
“Becoming a more climate responsible citizen or business is an imperative, and it is now about how quickly we can work together to make the changes that matter,” says NatWest Group COO, commercial banking and executive climate sponsor, Solange Chamberlain.
“It’s crucial that businesses have the information they need to help them make decisions that are good for them and for the planet, and that they feel empowered and ready to take action.
“We look forward to hearing about where the fantastic businesses featured in this series have inspired the wider community to go greener.”
P&O Ferries readies itself for post-pandemic travel
Ferry operator P&O Ferries is promoting the launch of a strategic brand platform with a 30-second television slot that looks to capture the mood of a nation keen to get away on holiday, but also concerned about safety, convenience and flexibility.
Developed and created with the Publicis Poke agency and shot during lockdown, ‘To the Sea’ celebrates the sea as a liberating force, but also as a traditional, much-loved form of transport
“For the easyJet and Airbnb generation, ferry travel is not as front of mind when planning a holiday,” explains P&O Ferries director of passenger sales Sarah Rosier.
“As a market leader that for over 180 years has ferried curious travellers on their dream adventures for generations, we have the foundations to inspire this intrepid generation and feed their desire for freedom by rediscovering the uniqueness of ferry travel for years to come.”
The campaign will run until 5 September, backed up by video-on-demand and social, radio, press and OOH. There will also be a digital content series, ‘Ferry Tales’, showcasing the various possibilities that ferry travel offers, including bike tours and surfing.
Nick Meagher joins the Co-op as head of insight and research
Former Tesco head of insight Nick Meagher has joined rival supermarket the Co-op as head of insight and research, where he’ll head up the data, digital and loyalty team in a newly created role.
Starting next month, Meagher will report directly to director of data, digital and loyalty Charlotte Lock, taking on insight and research leadership for the food, insurance, funeral care, legal, community and membership functions.
The appointment comes shortly after the relaunch of the Co-op’s membership offering and launch of a digital app serving 4.3 million members.
“Nick is a first-class insight and research leader and his focus on purpose aligns with our Co-operative values and vision of co-operating for a fairer world,” says Lock.
“Thanks to his loyalty club experiences, Nick will play an instrumental part in helping us to supercharge our membership commitments, as well as make meaningful differences to the lives of our members and communities.”
Meagher says that he is looking forward to the new challenge: “For me, joining the Co-op is a great opportunity to be part of what must be one of the original, and certainly most enduring, purpose-led businesses, founded long before the term was even coined.
“As an insights expert the way the group spans across both significant and everyday moments in customers’ lives, gives us a really precious resource in connecting data-sets to drive strong customer understanding and empathy.”
Tuesday, 17 August
Oatly hails successful IPO and 53.3% surge in revenue
Swedish plant-based milk brand Oatly has reported a 53.3% surge in revenue for the three months to 30 June, the first results it has reported since the “successful completion” of its IPO in May. The brand is now pushing on with plans to expand capacity and footprint.
Oatly’s revenues hit $146.2m (£105m) during the second quarter, up from $95.3m (£68.8m) in the same quarter a year ago, although the pandemic has impacted sales by $12m to $14m, the company predicts. Meanwhile, gross profit is up to $38.6m from $30.8m in the same period last year.
Marketing spend has increased during the quarter to $5.3m after the brand pulled back on advertising due to the pandemic. On research and development, the brand has increased investment to $4m from $1.3m for new innovations.
Looking ahead, Oatly is forecasting full-year 2021 revenue to surpass $690m (£497.6m).
The company went public on 24 May to fund global expansion plans. Shares were sold at $17 per share, raising the company $1.03bn.
Oatly chief executive Toni Petersson says the IPO provided the company with enough funds to operate on three continents, and doubled its production capacity in Vlissingen, Netherlands.
It plans to use the cash raised to “fund incremental growth” including capacity expansion which entails the opening of a third US-based manufacturing site to be open in 2023 in Fort Worth, Texas and has opened a facility in Singapore this year.
Oatly has partnered with brands globally to expand distribution. In China it partnered with McDonald’s, KFC, Walmart and convenience store chain 7-Eleven. The brand also began selling in Switzerland and Ireland.
Petersson says: “We’re continually expanding global production capacity to support our long-term growth and launching key partnerships and distribution agreements with prominent customers globally.
“We’re excited about the addition of our second manufacturing facility in Asia, which remains on track to open in the second half of 2021, providing a second new source of local production to the region.
“Our new and existing production capacity gives us confidence in our ability to achieve an accelerated revenue growth rate in the second half of this year, while also extending our core values and mission for a more sustainable food system.”
Morrisons bidder pledges to hold off on property sale
US company Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is expected to promise not to sell parts of Morrisons’ property portfolio when it launches an improved bid for the supermarket brand.
Morrisons owns 86% of its stores outright and is the UK’s fourth-largest grocer, while rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s own just over 50% of theirs.
Currently, Morrisons’ board is pushing for shareholders to accept a bid from rival bidders, a consortium led by US-based and Japanese-owned Fortress Group.
CD&R’s statement seems to move in response to speculation on the Fortress Group’s plan involving property sales, as the latter includes the real estate arm of the biggest private company in the US, Koch Industries.
However, in its offer Fortress has stated it “does not anticipate engaging in any material store sale and leaseback transactions”.
The BBC says a person close to the deal has said CD&R will make “similar commitments” when it tables an improved bid of £6.7bn before a deadline this Friday.
Grocery shopping habits edge closer to pre-pandemic levels
British consumers have been steadily returning to pre-pandemic shopping habits with punters now making more trips to stores, as restrictions are relaxed.
Data from Kantar shows grocery sales fell 4% in the 12 weeks to 8 August compared to the same period last year, and in the last four weeks sales have declined more slowly by 0.5% as consumers made an additional 108,000 trips to store.
However, Covid-19 is still having an impact on people’s spending as grocery sales remain 9.9% higher in the latest 12 weeks than in 2019.
Over 20% of households bought groceries online in the latest 12 weeks, its lowest level since October last year. But consumers who discovered the convenience of online ordering seem to be “sticking with it”, by ordering more regularly and spending on average more than two-thirds of their grocery budget online.
But those unsure about online ordering have moved back to stores.
The shift away from online has contributed to Ocado’s first decline on record with sales falling 0.7%, after “rapid expansion” under lockdown.
However, Kantar states there is “still a positive outlook” for the online specialist which retains 1.8% of total grocery sales compared to last year, and sales are up 44.4% compared to 2019.
In the same period, 87% of all payments made at major grocers were made using card as the pandemic accelerated the shift away from cash.
Tesco will introduce its first till-less store and Amazon has launched its ‘just walk out stores’, with other brands to tipped to follow suit.
Kantar head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt, says: “With the end of social distancing restrictions people have been happier to head into stores to make more regular, smaller shops. Consumers made an extra 108,000 shopping trips this month, while average basket sizes were 10% smaller.”
Facebook bans content from the Taliban
Facebook has stated it will ban all content from the Taliban across its platforms after deeming it a terrorist organisation, as the group takes over key territories in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has for years used social media to spread its messages, Facebook is dedicating a team of Afghan experts to monitor and remove content linked with the group on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook has said it follows the “authority of the international community” and it does not decide the recognition of national governments.
A Facebook spokesperson has told the BBC: “The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law and we have banned them from our services under our dangerous organisation policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them,”
“We also have a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context, helping to identify and alert us to emerging issues on the platform,” they added.
Rival platforms Twitter and YouTube have also been scrutinised for how they regulate content from the group, as Taliban leaders have used Twitter to inform followers it has regained control of Afghanistan.
Twitter points to its rules, stating it does not allow groups that promote terrorism or violence against civilians.
US probes Tesla Autopilot feature
A US federal agency has opened an investigation into the electric car marker following 11 crashes since 2018 with emergency vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says its investigation will span around 765,000 Tesla cars manufactured since 2014.
This includes the Tesla’s entire current range the Model Y, Model X, Model S and Model 3
The NHTSA says some Tesla vehicles “crashed directly into the vehicles of first responders”.
It is concerned with how Tesla vehicles seemingly have the inability to register stationary vehicles on the road, especially with emergency vehicles at an incident.
In its preliminary investigation, the agency will check “the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement”, while using Autopilot.
In the 11 crashes, Autopilot or a system called Traffic Aware Cruise Control had been active “just prior” to the collisions, says the NHTSA.
Autopilot allows the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically. But it has come under fire for being misleading as it requires a driver’s full attention at all times.
Tesla pledges to launch a “full-self-driving” version of its technology which is currently in beta.
An NHTSA spokesperson says: “No commercially available motor vehicles today are capable of driving themselves. Every available vehicle requires a human driver to be in control at all times.”
Although the agency notes the crashes occurred under challenging conditions.
“Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones.”
Monday, 16 August
Pret A Manger looks outside London in expansion plans
Pret A Manger is reportedly making plans to open 100 new franchised shops across the UK in a push to expand further beyond the capital.
The new stores will focus on areas outside of London, including in drive-thru shops and on high streets. The move could create up to 2,000 new jobs.
The business is also planning to open 100 new company-owned outlets in the next three years, the Sunday Times reports.
Pret A Manger was hit hard by the pandemic, as lockdowns and working from home kept customers out of London where most of its shops are concentrated.
Sales were down by 80% at the lowest point, and last summer the business made 3,000 job cuts – almost a third of its workforce. Its store estate has also fallen from 413 in 2019 to 390.
Earlier this month the business was forced to make a U-turn on plans to axe staff bonuses after employees threatened to strike, though temporary pandemic pay cuts are to remain permanent.
Rail industry unveils biggest consumer rail campaign since Covid
The rail industry has launched a new campaign designed to encourage people back onto the railway as pandemic restrictions ease.
‘Let’s get back on track’, the industry’s biggest campaign since Covid-19 began, highlights the role rail plays in connecting people by focusing on the different journeys people take on the train every day.
The campaign launches today and will run across TV and on-demand until the beginning of September, alongside radio, outdoor advertising and digital activity until the end of October. Train companies will also utilise their owned marketing channels, such as at stations.
According to the Rail Delivery Group’s marketing strategy director Merel van den Boomen, the aim is to drive consideration of train travel as a mode of transport.
“Rail is fundamental to helping people reconnect while also at the centre of the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic, which is why the industry has come together to develop a national, emotionally-engaging campaign to drive consideration of train travel and re-connect the UK,” she says.
The campaign was devised by creative agency Accomplice, while media was planned by Spark Foundry.
Virgin Money celebrates return of live music with rooftop gigs
Virgin Money has unveiled a series of live gigs to celebrate the return of live music, which has been banned under Covid restrictions for the past 18 months.
Virgin Money customers have access to the gigs as part of a developing customer rewards programme, while tickets are also on general sale.
Taking place on the roof of The O2, ‘Up at The O2’ will feature up and coming artists from Virgin Money’s ‘Emerging Stars’ programme, which is designed to identify, support and promote emerging musical talent in the UK. Launched in the summer of 2020, each of the six artists on the programme has so far received a £10,000 development fund and has access to financial mentoring from Virgin Money.
The first three Emerging Stars to be featured in the gigs include Dylan, Aaron Taylor and Mosa Wild.
“Creativity and innovation is at the core of the Virgin Money brand and we are excited to mark the return of live music events in 2021 in a truly spectacular way,” says chief brand officer Helen Page.
“We can’t wait to create unforgettable moments for Virgin Money customers while supporting the UK’s music industry as it makes its return to live events. Rewarding our customers is a huge priority for us – access to exclusive events, such as these, is a brilliant perk for customers and there’s plenty more to come.”
Beavertown Brewery launches first pub
Craft beer brewer Beavertown Brewery has launched its first pub in the brand’s home town of Tottenham.
The ‘Corner Pin’ pub is located opposite The Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and is being restored in collaboration with the football team. Beavertown already has a longstanding partnership with the squad.
The design of the venue takes inspiration from Beavertown’s colourful and cartoonish cans, and is described as “the full Beavertown experience”.
The pub, the company’s first in its nine-year history, will serve both food and its own range of drinks.
“We can’t wait to open the doors to this historic venue and breathe new life into the much-loved pub, the only way we know how…with epic design, cracking beer and a great atmosphere,” says founder Logan Plant.
Rival craft beer company BrewDog, which has been in business since 2007, launched its first bar in Aberdeen in 2009. By the end of 2018, the company and franchisees operated 78 bars worldwide.
Life insurance provider encourages customers to ‘Please Die Responsibly’
DeadHappy has launched a new brand advertising campaign to promote its ‘Deathwishes’ service.
The brand claims to be able to weave a Deathwish into any life insurance policy, such as sending somebody’s ashes to space or giving someone a tattoo.
The TV ad launches today (16 August) across channels including Channel 4 and Sky, while a second version will debut on 1 September.
The first ad takes a straight-talking approach, showing examples of Deathwishes on-screen. One asks for a “Viking funeral with a truck load of fireworks”, for example.
The second spot features the brand’s two cartoon personalities, ‘Mick’ and ‘Tel’. The full campaign will also run across social channels and is supported by a PR campaign.
“We’ve seen incredible growth over the past year, driven by consumers getting fed up with the long-winded and laborious way the life insurance sector works and seeking out easier, hassle-free ways of doing it,” says DeadHappy’s head of brand, Ed Edwards.
“The one certainty in life is that we’re all going to die. We know that asking people to ‘please die responsibly’ may shock or surprise some consumers, but it really is time life insurance is pushed front of mind.
“This campaign is about encouraging all of us to genuinely think about what we’d like to happen when we die; whether that’s giving loved ones a trip of a lifetime, leaving one final jab of banter at our pals or ensuring your partner and children have a roof firmly over their heads.”