Keith Weed takes on board role at WPP
Unilever’s former chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed is joining the board of WPP, the world’s biggest agency holding company, as a non-executive director.
Weed, who retired from the top marketing role at Unilever earlier this year, will take on the role from 1 November. During his time at Unilever, Weed worked closely with WPP, which will hope his knowledge of building brands and sustainability can help reboot its business.
WPP has struggled as FMCG brands in particular pull back on spend.
Roberto Quarta, WPP’s chairman, says: “Keith is one of the world’s most influential and successful marketers. He has a deep understanding of our business, the ways in which technology is transforming marketing, the sectors in which we operate and our FMCG clients in particular. We are very pleased to welcome him to the WPP board.”
Weed has made clear his desire to pursue a portfolio career since stepping down from Unilever. He is also president of the Advertising Association and the History of Advertising Trust, as well as a board member of Business in the Community and McLaren’s Formula One team.
Weed adds: “I have worked with WPP for many years, leading brand-led businesses around the world. I look forward to contributing to WPP’s future, leveraging my understanding of building brands in a rapidly changing world – from digital and data to content creation and sustainability.”
Sugar tax a ‘success’ as manufacturers cut sugar content
A report into the impact of the sugar tax has found “great” progress in reducing the sugar content of soft drinks.
The report by Public Health England and seen by The Times found a 29% fall in sugar content on drinks covered by the levy. That compares to a just 3% fall in the sugar content of other food and drink categories not covered by the tax.
Only breakfast cereals and yoghurt are on track to meet the government’s voluntary “challenge” to cut sugar in products such as biscuits, cakes and puddings by 20% over five year.
However, PHE’s CEO Duncan Selbie, says while the food and drink industry might not hit its voluntary targets, progress is being made. “We are seeing some encouraging progress from the food industry,” he adds.
Kristof Fahy takes on CMO role at Moonpig
Kristof Fahy is joining Moonpig as CMO on the back of a successful period for the cards, flowers and gifting retailer following a doubling of its growth rate over the past 12 months.
Fahy joins Moonpig from Checkatrade.com where he was interim CMO. He has previously held top marketing positions at brands including Hostelworld, Ladbrokes/Coral, Telegraph Media Group and William Hill.
“Moonpig is a truly iconic British brand and I look forward to building on its unique proposition and proven market success in order to drive the business through its next stage of ambitious growth,” says Fahy.
Fahy’s appointment follows a number of high-profile changes in the Moonpig leadership team as it looks to drive growth. Nickyl Raithatha was promoted from managing director to CEO earlier this year, while former WHSmith CEO Kate Swann joined as chairman.
Raithatha adds: “Kristof brings over 25 years of experience creating and implementing successful commercial, digital, marketing and brand strategies and he will be a huge asset for our new leadership team. He is also a great cultural fit for the brand and I am very much looking forward to working with him.”
Caffè Nero launches biggest ever ad campaign to support shift to premium
Caffè Nero is launching its biggest ever ad campaign to promote its new food menu, which it is calling its “biggest food transformation” since it was founded in 1997.
The ‘Nero Deli’ offers fresh and healthy options made using Italian-sourced ingredients, as well as a new range of cakes and desserts. The aim is to position Caffè Nero as a more premium offering to help it stand out in the crowded high street coffee chain market.
The campaign, created by agency Isobel, launches on Monday (23 September) and will showcase its new range across outdoor, print, digital, social and direct mail.
Marcus Denison-Smith, marketing director at Caffè Nero, says: “The transformation of our food offer has been a year in the making, and it’s been fantastic to see our customers reaction to the range in store. So now it’s time to tell those who have yet to discover the Caffè Nero difference, with this highly impactful campaign which might disrupt what people expect in a coffee shop offer.”
Gousto and Wagamama team up to let customers cook restaurant dishes at home
Gousto has inked a six-month deal with Wagamama to offer customers the chance to cook dishes from the restaurant chain at home.
The recipes available include Wagamama’s chilli chicken ramen, pork tonkatsu with sticky rice and teriyaki chicken donburi bowl. Gousto will deliver the precise ingredients needed to recreate the dishes, along with instructions on how to make them.
To promote the tie-up, both brands will be running content on social media, while Gousto brand ambassadors including ‘The Body Coach’ Joe Wicks and ‘Mother Pukka’ Anna Whitehouse will produce influencer contet.
Anna Greene, Gousto’s brand director says: “The Gousto x wagamama partnership offers something really special for our customers – helping them to learn new cuisines and create freshly prepared wagamama dishes at home, without the wastage that would typically come when buying all the ingredients separately”.
Helen Hyland, brand manager at wagamama adds; “Partnering with Gousto makes perfect sense, enabling our most popular dishes to be cooked at home with the usual fresh ingredients we use across our restaurants. We know that some people can find wagamama’s menu intimidating with unfamiliar ingredients and words, so we wanted to break down that barrier and prove that our food is simple and delicious.”
Thursday, 19 September
Instagram tightens rules on diet and surgery offers
Instagram is imposing tighter restrictions for some posts related to diet products and cosmetic surgery.
Under the new rules, posts promoting certain weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures that encourage people to buy or include a price will be hidden from users under the age of 18.
Meanwhile, any posts making “miraculous” claims about a product or procedure that is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code will be removed from Instagram.
Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, says: “This policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.
“We’ve sought guidance from external experts, including Dr Ysabel Gerrard in the UK, to make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community.”
TfL bans short-term let ads
Transport for London (TfL) has banned ads promoting short-term lettings from its network following criticism from campaigners.
Ads by Hostmaker, for example, were slammed for encouraging landlords to get rid of long-term tenants in favour of short-term lettings to increase profits.
TfL’s updated guidelines now read: “Advertising on the TfL network must not, expressly or by implication, promote the use of residential properties in London for short-term ‘holiday lettings’ in a way that contravenes planning laws (i.e. granting “short-term lettings” for more than 90 days a year without planning permission).”
Going forward, ads could be banned if they refer to ‘unlimited holiday lettings’ or they suggest landlords could make more money from non-standard lettings.
London Mayor Sadiq Kahn says he is doing “everything in my power” to improve the affordability of housing in London.
And while he suggests short-term lettings can “help people earn a little extra money” and provide more options for visitors, he insists property owners “must stick to the rules” and companies should not “encourage hosts to break the rules”.
A spokesperson from Hostmaker tells City AM: “We adhere to the regulations around short-term lets and we welcome tenants to stay in our fully furnished and managed homes all year round.”
Booking.com still misleading customers, investigation finds
Booking.com is continuing to mislead customers about the availability and popularity of rooms on its site, despite a crack down by regulators.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave booking sites until September to review and amend their practices after they were found to offer misleading discount claims and use tactics like pressure-selling and hidden charges.
But an investigation by Which? finds Booking.com is still flouting these rules, and giving false accounts of the popularity of rooms.
The consumer watchdog carried out spot checks on six leading hotel booking sites, which were ordered to make changes earlier this year. It says five out of 10 “only one room left on our site” claims on Booking.com failed to give an accurate account of availability.
A spokesperson for Booking.com told the BBC: “We have worked hard to implement the commitments agreed with the CMA and maintain continuing collaboration and dialogue to inform ongoing enhancement of the consumer experience.”
Burger King ditches kids’ plastic toys amid pressure to reduce waste
Burger King is axing the free plastic toy it gives away with children’s meals as it joins the fight against plastic waste.
The fast-food chain is also encouraging customers to return old toys, which it will melt down and turn into other items.
The move comes after two children petitioned Burger King and its rival McDonald’s to stop giving away promotional toys in kids’ meals. The petition has received more than half a million signatories.
McDonald’s has not removed the plastic toy it gives away with Happy Meals, but has said it will give customers the option to choose fruit instead.
Credit card use overtakes cash for the first time
Consumers spent more money with UK retailers on credit cards than cash for the first time in 2018.
Notes and coins are now the third most popular way to pay, with debit cards coming out top, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Cash now accounts for just over £1 in every £5 spent in UK shops, accounting for £78bn of retail sales. Credit and charge cards, meanwhile, accounted for £82bn, the first time this payment method has outstripped cash in the 20 years BRC has been running the survey.
Debit cards are still by far and away the most popular method, accounting for £216bn of spending.
The BRC has warned the shift could result in retailers having to charge higher prices as the move away from cash will result in rising costs to process card payments.
Wednesday, 18 September
Starbucks rolls out coffee delivery service across UK cities
Starbucks is expanding its coffee delivery service, Starbucks Delivers, to 11 locations across the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham.
Manchester and Glasgow will be the first two cities to welcome the new delivery service, with the remaining nine locations to follow suit in the coming months.
Starbucks Delivers is run in partnership with Uber Eats and was trialled in select London-based stores earlier this year.
The pilot was designed to gather insights and feedback from customers via the Uber Eats platform, which helped refine and improve the customer experience by understanding the growing on-demand economy.
Through the delivery scheme, Starbucks is leveraging one of the nation’s largest delivery apps in order to reach customers beyond those who already frequent Starbucks.
Alex Rayner, general manager at Starbucks UK, says: “At Starbucks, we are committed to offering an unmatched customer experience. Part of this is finding new and easy ways to bring the Starbucks Experience to those who are unable to visit us in-store.”
“We want to meet customers where they are, and through our partnership with Uber Eats, we have made a significant investment in technology and product innovation which means that connecting with Starbucks is just a click away,” he adds.
Customers will be able to access Starbucks Delivers through the Uber Eats app or website.
Foster’s ad escapes ban under new gender stereotyping rules
A Foster’s ad has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) under its new gender stereotyping rules.
The radio advert aired in June and followed the conversation between an Australian man, who is asking the advice of Foster’s brand ambassadors Dan and Brad after his girlfriend asks to move in with him. Brand and Dan suggest he should “buy some time” by telling the girlfriend that his pad “isn’t fit for a princess and needs some renovations” before suggesting he wear a tool belt everywhere but never finish the job.
Three listeners challenged whether the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by implying that men wanted to avoid commitment while women were desperate to settle down.
However, the ASA says: “We acknowledged that the idea that men sought to avoid commitment while women were keen to settle down was a well-established gender stereotype. However, we considered that the caller’s own presentation of the situation was fairly neutral, and that given the girlfriend in the scenario was suggesting moving in together after a four-year relationship, the ad did not imply she was notably keen to settle down.”
The ASA also believes the voices in the ad would be familiar because the campaign has been running on and off since 2010. Therefore it concluded the ad did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm.
Channel 4 and Sky sign advertising deal
Channel 4 has inked a multiyear deal to use Sky’s advertising technology, Adsmart, in a move that suggests competition from streaming services is only set to grow.
The Adsmart technology allows brands to show different adverts to households watching the same programme, with the ads based on several factors such as location, demographic and lifestyle. Sky offers advertisers 900 attributes to choose from.
According to The Telegraph, the deal incorporates the entire Channel 4 schedule, as well as BT Sport and UKTV channels such as Dave.
Sky UK chief executive Stephen van Rooyen says: “We’ve long thought that collaboration benefits both consumers and the industry – today’s news does exactly that. We look forward to working even more closely with Channel 4 and, we hope, other British broadcasters to bring more innovation and content to consumers over the coming years.”
Of Britain’s three television advertising sales houses, only ITV is not using Adsmart because the broadcaster is developing its own system for targeting viewers..
Three targets gamers with Activision partnership
Three is partnering with Activision to showcase how its 5G broadband can deliver the video game publisher’s latest instalment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
As part of the partnership, gamers using Three’s 5G home broadband will get plug-and-play access to online gaming. This means Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta codes have been released to Three customers via its Wuntu rewards app.
Shadi Halliwell, chief marketing officer at Three, says: “Ultra-fast speeds are a priority for seamless streaming of entertainment especially gaming. Three is delivering a 5G experience that can’t be beaten which makes us the natural choice for one of the world’s leading games’ publishers.
“Customers also don’t want restrictions around how they consume entertainment and with 5G it’s important everyone can explore all its exciting possibilities without worrying about incurring hidden data costs.”
She says the main intention of the partnership is to ensure gamers can play the world’s most popular game without boundaries.
This partnership cements Three’s continued expansion of its 5G home broadband service and showcases its commitment to enhance the gaming and home entertainment experience for customers.
Pentland Brands introduces CMO role to drive international growth
Pentland Brands is introducing a group CMO role in a bid to drive the international growth of its sports, outdoor and active brands, which include Lacoste and Speedo.
The new CMO will be responsible for strategy, product and marketing across the brand portfolio.
Chief executive officer, Andy Long, will continue to lead the executive team with Chirag Patel taking on deputy chief executive officer responsibilities, alongside his current role as chief operating officer, which includes overseeing the Pentland Brands business across the Americas.
Additionally, Richard Newcombe, currently president of the footwear division, has been appointed EMEA. He is focused on continuing to lead the footwear division in addition to increasing brand presence and sales across priority EMEA markets.
“Following our business transformation and our recent brand acquisitions, the exec team roles will focus on delivering international growth, with the CMO role making sure that our brands continue to evolve and respond to the fast-changing needs of our retailers and consumers,” Long says.
“Chirag and Richard’s additional responsibilities are an acknowledgement of the significant impact they have had, and the pivotal role they play, in leading our organisation.”
Tuesday, 17 September
H&M shifts strategy to start selling external brands
H&M is to experiment with selling external brands and products in a bid to attract new shoppers, following in the footsteps of its newer sister brands &OtherStories and Arket.
The retailer confirmed the news after a job ad was spotted on H&M’s website by the Swedish online news site breakit.se. The advert stated that the purpose of H&M bringing in external brands was to “complement” its offer and “add excitement and energy”. The job spec said the company sees this as a great opportunity for growth and to find new customers, adding that it hoped to test and scale the concept.
The 72-year old brand has seen profits drop over the past three years as sales have slowed at its stores. Earlier yesterday the retailer reported net sales increased by 12% during the third quarter, equivalent to 8% in local currencies, and claimed the company was on the “right track with its transformation work to meet the customers’ ever-increasing expectations”.
P&G invests $200,000 in women’s football
Proctor & Gamble (P&G) deodorant brand Secret is investing $200,000 (£160,684) into US women’s football by purchasing 9,000 tickets to nine National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) games this season.
P&G plans to fill 1,000 seats at one home game for each of the nine teams, offering the tickets to local partners, women’s organisations, youth sports teams and not-for-profit organisations in a bid to grow local support for the women’s game.
There will also be game day giveaways, including Secret deodorants, T-shirts and towels gifted to the 1,000 fans invited to attend each game.
The FMCG giant says its aim is to help boost attendance at games and grow a passionate network of women’s football fans, which will lead to an increase in NWSL ticket sales.
“We have been vocal in our support of women in sports and dedicated to helping them to receive equal visibility,” says Sara Saunders, associate brand director of Secret. “Our goal with this effort is to celebrate the excellence of this league and continue to ensure that female athletes have a platform to play and get the attention they deserve.”
WeWork postpones IPO as investors question its business model
Flexible office space provider WeWork has postponed its IPO, the same week it was due to start marketing to investors, after facing concerns over its corporate governance standards and the sustainability of its business model.
The IPO, which had been thought to take place this month, is now likely to be delayed until at least October, according to reports.
In a statement the company said: “The We Company is looking forward to our upcoming IPO, which we expect to be completed by the end of the year. We want to thank all of our employees, members and partners for their ongoing commitment.”
Reuters reported last week that We Company, the parent company of WeWork, could potentially seek a valuation of between $10bn ($8bn) and $12bn (£9.6bn), down substantially on the $47bn (£37.8bn) amount suggested in January.
Last year WeWork, which is now in more than 500 locations across 29 countries, made a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) loss, despite revenue nearly doubling.
Twitter under fire over ‘scam’ ads
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has slammed Twitter for allowing her face to be used to promote slimming pills on the social media platform.
Allsopp pointed to promoted tweets from an organisation called GonaGram, which shared a fake news story claiming the presenter had been sacked by Channel 4. When readers then clicked on the link it led them to a weight-loss promotion.
The Sun newspaper has also contacted Twitter about the use of its logo without permission after another fake article suggested the presenter had been sacked by Channel 4 for failing to reveal her links to a weight loss firm.
Allsopp told the BBC that after reporting the scam ads to Twitter, the social media platform ruled the GonaGram account was not in violation of its impersonation policy. In a tweet Allsopp responded by alleging that Twitter was being motivated by money, asking: “Does money speak so loudly that you’re deafened to any other voices?”
Earlier this year Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis filed a lawsuit against Facebook after his name and image were falsely used to promote investment schemes. Lewis subsequently dropped the lawsuit after Facebook agreed to invest £3m into tackling online scams.
Samuel L. Jackson stars in dementia awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s Research UK
Alzheimer’s Research UK has teamed up with Samuel L. Jackson for the latest iteration of its award-winning #ShareTheOrange campaign.
The film sees the Hollywood actor debunk the misconception that dementia is an inevitability of old age. Instead it shows the condition is caused by physical diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, as an orange is used to symbolise the weight of matter lost in the brain as the condition develops.
This is the third instalment of the #ShareTheOrange campaign after Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston supported the 2018 campaign and Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston appeared in the campaign’s debut in 2016. All three films have been produced by film studio Aardman.
The latest film, which incorporates CGI animation, will run across social media platforms until the end of September. Jackson chose to appear in the film due to his personal experience with Alzheimer’s, having had six relatives diagnosed with the disease.
He calls on the public to share the film in order to “change the conversation” and help Alzheimer’s Research UK make the necessary research breakthroughs that could slow or stop the disease.
In addition, the charity has agreed a bespoke partnership with Channel 4 for a series of #ShareTheOrange adverts fronted by Countdown presenter and Alzheimer’s Research UK ambassador, Rachel Riley.
Airing over three weeks, the adverts see the campaign’s orange appear on the sets of some of the broadcaster’s most popular shows including Countdown, Sunday Brunch and Hollyoaks.
“We needed to make a statement with this campaign – dementia as an issue deserves nothing less,” says Tim Parry, director of communications and brand at Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“Dementia is both the most feared condition in the UK and the one people believe is our biggest medical challenge. But it’s also one that is misunderstood and considered inevitable. First and foremost, our campaign aims to challenge this perception.”
Monday 16 September
Aldi outlines £1bn expansion plan
Aldi is planning an expansion plan which will see it invest £1bn to open over 400 new stores across the UK in the next two years.
The discount supermarket has set a target of 1,200 stores by the end of 2025 – it currently has just over 840 stores, which means opening a new store every week for next two years on average. This includes an increased focus on London where it wants to more than double stores.
Giles Hurley, chief executive, says: “While our expansion will continue to reach every part of the UK, we’re increasing our focus on London where our market share is just 3.4% compared to 8.1% nationally. London shoppers regularly tell us they would switch to Aldi if there was one nearby, so there is clearly a significant growth opportunity for us in the capital.”
The announcement comes as the store’s operating profits fell by 26% last year. For the year to December 31 2018 Aldi UK and Ireland made an operating profit of £197.9m, down from £265.9m in 2017. However, sales increased 11% to £11.33bn.
BBC says TV is entering ‘second wave of disruption’
TV is entering a “second wave of disruption”, according to the BBC as it looks to compete with Apple’s new streaming service.
Addressing an audience at the upcoming Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge on Thursday, the BBC director-general, Tony Hall, will say: “Our industry is about to enter a second wave of disruption. The first was about the rise of Netflix, Amazon and Spotify: market shapers that fundamentally changed audience behaviour, often at the cost of huge losses or massive cross-subsidy.
“The second wave will see a range of new entrants entering an already crowded market. We saw it last week as Apple announced its new subscription service. Disney, Hulu and others are to follow. This is, of course, great for audiences. Possibly.”
Apple unveiled Apple TV Plus last week which will see it provide a streaming service to rival Netflix with original TV shows and films.
Hall will add: “The established streamers will need to fight harder to offer the value they currently give today.”
He will also argues that purpose is becoming even more vital in the face of a more competitive environment. “Purpose and values matter today more than ever, as people pick and choose services for ethical reasons as much as economic ones. Secondly, no one offers the range of content, in so many genres, on so many platforms, as the BBC.
“We’re not Netflix, we’re not Spotify. We’re not Apple News. We’re so much more than all of them put together.”
Restaurants face tough year with rise in insolvency
The number of restaurants collapsing into insolvency has risen by 25% in the last year amid tough competition on the UK high street.
Roughly 1,410 restaurants became insolvent in the year to the end of June, up by a fifth on the previous 12 months, according to figures by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.
But while troubled big-name chains such as Jamie’s Italian and burger chain Byron have garnered the most attention thousands of smaller businesses are also struggling, according to the report.
Peter Kubik, partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: “Good restaurants and bad have all struggled from over-capacity, weak consumer spending and surging costs.”
He adds: “Having a loyal following is great but if that loyal following stops going out then you have a problem.”
UHY Hacker Young says the rapid growth of the causal-dining sector since the 2008 financial crisis had resulted in an oversaturated mid-market, this plus rising costs, and a slowdown in consumer spending compounded by Brexit, shows no signs of changing soon.
Thomas Cook buys time for rescue deal
Thomas Cook has secured an extra week to finalise its £1.1bn rescue deal. The troubled holiday company had originally set a meeting with bondholders for Wednesday to agree terms but has now successfully pushed this back.
The deal needs the backing of three quarters of bondholders to succeed with Thomas Cook hoping a delay will give it more time to negotiate.
Thomas Cook’s struggles have been well documented. In May, the firm reported a £1.5bn loss for the first half of the year. It has also issued three profit warnings over the past year and is struggling to reduce its debts.
However, last month the holiday firm said it had agreed a deal for a takeover approach for its tour business from its largest shareholder Fosun.
It has blamed a series of problems for its profit warnings, including political unrest in holiday destinations such as Turkey, last summer’s prolonged heatwave and Brexit. But it is also facing difficult industry dynamics including competition from online travel agents and low-cost airlines.
UK faces slowest growth since recession
The UK is facing its slowest growth since the recession, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The group predicts spending is due to decline 1.5% this year, fuelled by Brexit uncertainty and the US/China trade war.
The length of the downturn is already thought to exceed the slump after the 2008 financial crisis, when business investment fell by a greater degree but only for two years. The BCC warns relentless Brexit uncertainty is preventing firms from investing and diverting resources into no-deal planning.
The BCC, whose members employ about one-in-five British workers, cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 1.2% from its June forecast of 1.3% and lowered the figure for 2020 to 0.8% from 1.0%.