Pets at Home unites its brands under one roof
Pets at Home has relaunched its brand identity with a new creative platform which looks to unite all the different elements of the business.
Under the new identity, its veterinary business, formerly known as Vets4Pets, will become Vets for Pets, while its grooming service will be known as Pets Grooming. The idea being to bring all of its services under the Pets umbrella.
The platform, ‘We’re All for Pets’, showcases insights gathered from a recently commissioned report into the realities of pet ownership and how owners will do anything and everything for them.
The retailer is also launching an integrated campaign across cinema, TV, press, radio, social, digital and OOH. The ad will show a series of pet owners going to increasing lengths to showcase their devotion to their pet soundtracked to Meat Loaf’s ‘I Will Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’.
Kathryn Imrie, chief consumer officer at Pets at Home, says: “Our purpose as a business is to make the world better for pets and the people who love them, and our new brand expression helps us to demonstrate the breadth of services we offer to do just this.
“Our launch campaign is based on real insight and celebrates all of the amazing things we do for our beloved companions, and we’re extremely excited to see it come to life.”
Twitter removes blue tick after lengthy delay
Twitter has removed its blue verification tick from hundreds of thousands of accounts on an explosive day for Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
The social media company has long-planned to remove its coveted blue tick – which was introduced in 2009 after a professional baseball player sued Twitter after being impersonated by fake accounts – in a move to encourage users to sign up to Twitter Blue which verifies your account for $84 (£67) a year.
It means well-known figures, such as Beyoncé, Harry Styles and even The Pope, are no longer verified and opens them up to being impersonated by others.
Outspoken critics of the plan Stephen King, LeBron James and William Shatner still have their verification ticks after Musk revealed he was personally paying for Twitter Blue on their behalf and against their wishes.
Brands saw the dangers of this last year when regular users paid to impersonate them including one account which saw Nintendo mascot Mario making a rude gesture and another claiming to be US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co who pronounced that “insulin is free now” which caused the company’s stock to drop significantly.
This problem is meant to be solved by a gold tick for brands and organisations to prove they are who they say they are.
Pret A Manger expands into Indian market
UK sandwich shop Pret A Manger is set to open its first store in India.
The shop’s frontage and interior will be a recreation of its UK shops but it intends to adapt its food “to local preferences and habits” according to Pret’s chief executive Pano Christou. It will be opened in Mumbai’s financial district on Friday.
Pret A Manger, which opened its first shop in London in 1984, has 400 outlets around the world, across nine markets including the UK, the USA, Asia and the Middle East.
The move is perhaps not too surprising when you consider that Pret announced it was partnering with Indian multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries last year, which is owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
It continues a trend of Western companies investing in the country after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was on hand to open the company’s first retail store in Mumbai – it was followed later in the week by a second store which opened in Delhi.
More job losses announced at Meta and BuzzFeed
Meta plans to axe more than 600 jobs in the UK, primarily in London, as the company’s wave of redundancies continues apace.
The company announced in an internal memo on Wednesday at least 687 jobs would be lost with nearly 5,000 at risk of redundancy, the Financial Times reports. Meta will also close its Instagram hub in the capital which opened last year and saw Instagram head Adam Mosseri move to London to get it off the ground.
It had seemed that the UK had avoided the worst of the 20,000 job losses expected across the company in 2023 after it emerged relatively unscathed in the first round of cuts last month.
BuzzFeed has also revealed it will be making job cuts as the digital media platform said it was closing its Pulitzer Prize-winning news desk and cutting its workforce by 15%. The site was once seen as a pioneer in online media for its viral quizzes but has struggled in recent years and was listed on the stock exchange in 2001 for much less than hoped.
“Our industry is hurting and ready to be reborn,” chief executive Jonah Peretti said in a memo to staff. “We are taking great pains today and will begin to fight our way to a bright future.”
VW strengthens its lead in YouGov’s auto rankings
Volkswagen has topped YouGov’s 2023 UK automotive rankings.
The German car manufacturer came out on top in 2022 too but has strengthened its position at the top increasing its BrandIndex score from 21.7 to 22.2.
Ford and Mercedes-Benz come second and third, respectively, followed by Audi and Toyota ensuring there was a distinctly German flavour to the top five.
Kia sees the most improved score with an increase of 1.4 followed by Hyundai who climbed by 1.1 points.
The automotive rankings highlight the best-performing organisations in the automotive sector according to their BrandIndex score, which measures overall brand health. Brands were ranked between January 1 2022 and December 31 2022.
Thursday, 21 April
BrewDog checks small print for return of gold can promotion
BrewDog has brought back its infamous gold can competition, which led to complaints last year when ‘solid’ gold cans turned out to be gold-plated.
Buyers who find a lucky gold can hidden in BrewDog multipacks will win £5,000 and a ‘gold-plated’ memento. The brand insists it has “checked the small print” for the second iteration of the campaign after founder and CEO James Watt had to pay £500,000 to resolve complaints about the last competition.
The promotion applies to beer bought both online and in-store, with online buyers additionally receiving a ‘gold pint’ scratch card that doubles the chance of winning a gold can.
“Given that our previous gold can competitions were such plain sailing, it was the logical next step to do it all over again. That, and the fact that we had too many of these cans taking up space in the office,” says Watt.
“This time around, though, I’m keen to avoid forking out another half a million quid, so I’ll say it loud for the people at the back: these cans are gold-plated, not solid gold. I hope that’s crystal clear. Disclaimer: there are no crystals available in these cans either.”
Co-op launches Members Prices
Co-op has announced a £240m investment as it follows the retailer trend of offering deep discounts to loyalty scheme members.
The brand has more than 2,400 food stores, as well as 800 funeral homes, and boasts 4.5 million members, who currently earn a refund of 2p per pound spent, paid into a ‘digital wallet’ account. The group hopes to recruit a further 1 million members over the next five years, the period over which the £240m will be spent.
CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq first revealed this target and its “ambitious plans” to put membership at the “heart” of the business at the beginning of April.
Co-op calculates the new, lower prices that will be offered to members will help a typical customer save up to £300 per year. Promotions will include a ‘freezer filler’ deal and discounts on pizzas and ready meals.
“Our members lie at the heart of our Co-op, they trade more frequently across our business areas, they create additional value, which is returned back into communities and they have a say in how our Co-op operates,” says Co-op chief membership and customer officer Kenyatte Nelson.
“For us to champion a better way of doing business, we are aiming to grow our membership base by 1 million over the next five years and will accompany this ambition with a compelling member-benefits programme, which will span our entire Co-op.”
Member investment will initially be targeted within its food business and support its ‘pure convenience’ strategy.
“Currently around 16 million shoppers visit our stores each week or trade online with us. Our ambition is that many will convert to being Co-op members, when they see the clear value this can bring to both themselves and their wider communities,” he adds.
Co-op is among a host of retailers following the trend, started by Tesco, to limit access to the vast majority of its price promotions to those shoppers who have joined its loyalty scheme.
Earlier this month Sainsbury’s introduced Nectar Prices, taking on rival Tesco’s similar proposition, Clubcard Prices.
Elon Musk threatens to sue Microsoft over Twitter data
Twitter owner Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft over its alleged unauthorised use of Twitter data, following news that Microsoft would no longer support Twitter on its ad plantform, reports the BBC.
“They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time,” said Musk in a tweet, responding to Microsoft’s plans to remove Twitter from its corporate advertising platform. Musk provided no evidence for his claim.
Microsoft’s move to cease support for Twitter would mean that ad buyers could no longer access their Twitter accounts through Microsoft’s social management tools.
Investor group calls on Nestlé to focus on healthier products
Investor group ShareAction has called on Nestlé to cut the proportion of unhealthy foods among its brands. The call, on the eve of Nestlé’s AGM in Switzerland today, follows reports from the company on the proportion of its sales that consisted of foods high in salt, sugar or fat.
Nestlé revealed last month that nearly 40% of its sales fell into the HFSS category. The announcement came after earlier pressure from ShareAction to address the issue, as it sought to make Nestlé address its impact on population health.
ShareAction represents a group of 26 investors who are responsible for more than $3trn (£2.41trn) of assets.
“Nestlé has said it wants to sell more healthier food, but it hasn’t given assurance that it will also address its less healthy food sales, which is essential to turn the tide against the harmful effects of diet related ill health,” says ShareAction deputy CEO Simon Rawson.
“Nestlé has an opportunity to stay ahead of food-related regulation and evolving stakeholder expectations. Recent research published by the World Obesity Federation showed that more than half of the world’s population will be living with overweight or obesity by 2035 unless serious and immediate action is taken. Nestlé, as the world’s largest food and drink manufacturer, could do so much more to support population health.”
Nestlé has been criticised for last month’s launch of KitKat Cereal, a breakfast product with high sugar levels.
Marmite ad shows in utero testing
Evidence from 4D ultrasound scans showing that babies respond to different flavours while in the womb has inevitably led to the question of whether they like Marmite.
The latest ad for the brand, from Adam&eveDDB, features tongue-in-cheek documentary style footage of parents as they seek to discover if their child will be a lover or hater of the yeast extract spread.
“We’re obsessed with understanding the reasons why people love or hate our famous spread. While this study could reveal whether you’re born a lover or a hater, other studies support that taste buds change with age. So, while you might be born a hater, there’s still hope you could become a lover,” says Marmite marketing manager Shannon Lennon-Smith.
The TV ad will premiere tonight on ITV2, during Bob’s Burgers. It will be supported by OOH, press and social that encourages prospective parents to sign up for a scan at Ultrasound clinic Window to the Womb.
Wednesday, 19 April
Netflix marketing spend remains consistent as company adds 1.75m subscribers in Q1
Netflix added 1.75m streaming subscribers in the first three months of 2023, a year on from when the company posted a loss of 200,000 subscribers in the same period. Netflix now has 232.5m global paid subscribers.
Sharing its Q1 results, Netflix reported a profit of $1.31bn (£1.1bn), slightly over the $1.3bn (£1bn) analysts expected. Meanwhile, the company posted revenue of $8.16bn (£6.5bn).
“We are growing and we are profitable,” said Netflix’s co-chief executive Ted Sarandos in the company’s earnings call. “We have a clear path to accelerate growth in both revenue and profit, and we’re executing it.”
Netflix is pleased with the progress it’s making with its ad-supported subscription, which it launched in the US in November last year. “While it’s still very early days, we continue to be pleased with our progress across all key dimensions: member experience, value to advertisers and incremental contribution to our business,” the company said.
Netflix’s marketing spend for 2023’s first quarter is consistent with what it spent in the same period in 2022. In the three months to 31 March 2023, the company spent $555.36m (£445.7m) on marketing compared with $555.97m (£446m) in 2022.
Just Eat increases its full year guidance despite orders dropping by 14%
Just Eat Takeaway has increased its full year EDITDA guidance to €275m (£242m) from a previous figure of €225m (£198m), despite posting a drop in orders in the three months to 31 March 2023.
Orders fell 14% to 228 million in this period. However, the gross transaction value, representing the size of Just Eat orders, declined at a lesser 8% to €6.6bn (£5.8bn).
“Just Eat Takeaway.com continues to recover from last year’s deceleration, with the Northern Europe and the UK and Ireland segments leading the trend,” said Jitse Groen, CEO at Just Eat.
While the gross transaction value drop is “significant”, Groen emphasised “the comparison is with the quarter with the second highest GTV of the pandemic.”
“Our efforts to improve profitability are running ahead of plan, allowing us to upgrade the 2023 Adjusted EBITDA target to approximately €275 million. We now also expect to turn free cash flow positive by mid-2024,” he added.
‘High risk’ BetVictor ad banned by ASA
An ad for betting company BetVictor has been banned by the Advertising Standards Association (ASA), after it was considered to be “high risk” for its use of footballers who appeal to under-18s.
ASA guidelines stipulate that gambling marketing cannot feature figures who are likely to appeal to those under 18.
The paid-for BetVictor Facebook ad, published in January 2023, featured FC Barcelona footballers Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Above an image of the pair, BetVictor asked: “Who is the most underrated player at the club you support?”
BV Gaming – trading as BetVictor – argued it had procedures in place to ensure its advertising doesn’t breach the codes, and said that despite FC Barcelona being a top-flight team, Alba and Busquets did not fall into the “high risk” category as they aren’t as well known as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
BetVictor said that while it understood the ASA considered its post to be an ad because of its paid-for nature, it was a post designed to engage people in a conversation. The company also said its data from Facebook showed that 100% of the post’s viewers were aged over 25.
However, the ASA refuted this, saying the footballers were ‘star’ players given their prominence at FC Barcelona. Additionally, the ASA said that if the ad had been published to those “robustly age-verified” as over 18 through marketing lists, under-18s would be excluded. However, Facebook does not have these controls.
Superdrug to expand retail footprint with 25 new stores
Health and beauty retailer Superdrug is investing in 25 new brick-and-mortar stores in 2023 to expand its retail footprint, in a move that will help the brand create a “seamless” customer experience while creating more than 570 jobs and “providing vital support” for the High Street.
The investment in physical retail is part of the company’s strategy to deliver its omnichannel ambitions, driven by its recent strong performance.
Superdrug will open three “best-in-class” stores in Dublin Dundrum, Manchester Trafford Centre and London Brent Cross soon, with more stores planned throughout the year. The company says its “bigger and better” stores will focus on enhancing physical shopping experiences and will offer customers an extensive range of affordable treatments.
Superdrug is also planning to refit 70 stores this year to modernise its retail estate.
“Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, and constantly evolving customer expectations. An investment of this scale demonstrates our resilience in the face of continuing social and economic challenges, but also our confidence and commitment to our customers and communities,” says Peter Macnab, CEO at Superdrug.
UK inflation remains above 10%
The cost of living crisis is not yet abating, with rising bread, cereal and chocolate prices driving the inflation rate to remain above 10%, at 10.1% in the year to March. The figure was 10.4% in February.
Despite inflation being expected to fall below 10%, food prices instead rose at their fastest rate in 45 years, meaning a higher inflation rate was maintained.
However, Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics, which provides the figures, said despite food prices falling globally, it hasn’t led to price cuts.
Speaking with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Fitzner said: “There’s been some strong upward movement in food prices and you would expect to see that reflected in supermarkets but we’re not there yet.”
In response to the figures, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said they, “reaffirm exactly why we must continue with our efforts to drive down inflation so we can ease pressure on families and businesses.”
Tuesday, 18 April
Sega acquires Angry Birds maker for £625m
Japanese video game giant Sega Sammy Holdings has agreed to buy Finland-based Rovio Entertainment, the maker of Angry Birds, for €706m (£625m).
Through the acquisition Sega says it hopes to “strengthen its position” in the mobile gaming and global gaming markets.
The company behind characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, plans to make use of Rovio’s live-operated mobile game development capabilities and expertise in mobile game operation, to “accelerate the development” of mobile compatible versions of its existing games. By doing do it believes it will drive global expansion of its portfolio.
Rovio’s games have been downloaded more than 5 billion times, it claims.
Haruki Satomi, president and group CEO of Sega, says: “Among the rapidly growing global gaming market, the mobile gaming market has especially high potential, and it has been Sega’s long-term goal to accelerate its expansion in this field.”
He says he values the expertise of Rovio’s “many skilled employees” who “support the company’s industry-leading mobile game development and operating capabilities”.
Alexandre Pelletier-Normand, CEO of Rovio adds that Red from Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog are “two globally recognised and iconic characters” made by two “remarkably complementary” companies.
Spotify appoints UK head of marketing
Spotify has promoted Leroy Harris to lead marketing in the UK and Ireland.
As head of marketing for the region, Harris has been tasked with taking marketing to “another level”.
He has been with the company for three and a half years, joining as artist marketing lead in 2019. In that time he has been responsible for launching album campaigns for artists including Dua Lipa and Sam Smith, as well as leading on projects such as Spotify’s Carnival Sounds hub and the Rap UK Day 1 Club fan experience.
Prior to joining the music streaming platform, Harris was global head of culture marketing at Asos. He also spent nearly seven years at Red Bull, working his way up from regional marketing manager to head of culture marketing.
Tom Connaughton, managing director of Spotify in the UK and Ireland, says the business has “benefitted hugely from [Harris’s] energy and creativity” since he joined the company.
Apple opens first store in India
Apple has opened its first store in India, as it looks to expand its reach in what is the world’s second largest smartphone market.
The tech giant’s CEO, Tim Cook, opened the store in India’s financial capital Mumbai today, with a second store due to open in Delhi on Thursday.
Currently more than 95% of smartphones used in India are run on Google’s Android platform, according to the BBC, with the price of the iPhone prohibitive for many in the market.
However, while the move may not drive sales immediately it has been described by experts as an important branding strategy.
“When you launch an Apple store you’re basically giving a premium experience to your premium consumers. It might not pull up sales but it definitely pulls more people into the Apple ecosystem,” technology analyst Navkendar Singh told the BBC.
ITVX hits 1 billion streams in four months
ITVX has surpassed the 1 billion streams mark, just four months after rebranding from ITV Hub.
To put that into context, in 2022 ITV took nearly seven months to reach the same landmark under its previous guise.
Love Island has been the most watched programme on ITVX based on streams, while Unforgotten is the most watched drama.
ITV says top performing shows including The Twelve, Without Sin and A Spy Among Friends have been its top performing premieres, helping it to attract “harder to reach audiences”. Plus, 80% of people who have watched ITV premieres such as Litvinenko have gone on to watch other content on the platform.
It comes after Marketing Week revealed last week ITVX has overtaken Disney+ and All 4 to become the UK’s fourth most considered streaming service, according to data from YouGov’s BrandIndex.
Asda launches self-driving grocery delivery trial
Asda has launched a 12-month autonomous grocery home delivery trial in London, which it claims is the largest of its kind.
Working with startup Wayve, the supermarket will deliver shopping to customers using self-driving vehicles, with 72,000 households in the trial catchment area.
The Wayve self-driving cars will join Asda’s existing online delivery operation at its Park Royal store in West London.
During the trial an Asda employee and supervising Wayve driver will be in the vehicle for deliveries. On arrival the member of staff from Asda will load and unload the groceries at the customer’s door.
Customers will be randomly selected to receive their order as part of the trial.
Simon Gregg, senior vice-president of ecommerce at Asda, says: “We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery, not only at our Park Royal store but throughout our nationwide operation.
“Through our partnership with Wayve, we are trialling this technology to understand how it can assist our busy store operations, while also adding a unique, reliable and efficient option for Asda customers to have a whole range of products delivered to their doors.”
Monday, 17 April
Dr Martens issues third profit warning in five months
Dr Martens has issued its third profit warning since November, as it struggles with higher than expected costs at an LA distribution centre.
The company says it has taken action to remedy operational issues at the location and that shipments have now returned to normal levels, but the actions taken had cost more than expected. Due to these costs, as well as softer than expected wholesale revenues, the brand expects core profit for the year ending March to be around £245m, down from its earlier forecast of £250m to 260m.
“We continue to adopt a custodian mindset, taking decisions in the best long-term interests of all our stakeholders, and I believe firmly in the DOCS strategy, the continued strength of the Dr Martens brand and the medium- to long-term growth potential of the business,” says CEO Kenny Wilson.
Dr Martens made its initial public offering in 2021. Since then, its share price has fallen by almost two-thirds.
In separate news, the company’s chief financial officer Jon Mortimore is set to retire from the company after seven years in the role. Mortimore said he will stay in his role until a replacement is found, in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Aldi, Lidl and Asda cut milk prices
Aldi, Lidl and Asda have joined rival supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s in cutting the price of milk.
The supermarkets have all cut the price of a pint of milk by at least 5p to 90p. The price of milk in March 2020 was around 43p, according to ONS data.
The five supermarkets that have cut prices say it will not affect how much they pay farmers.
Asda says it has taken “swift action to reduce the price of milk as commodity prices have eased”.
The UK’s biggest dairy producer Arla says it expects the price of milk to fall by around 5.3p per litre this month.
“While some prices for dairy categories are seeing early signs of levelling out, the severity of the ongoing cost of living crisis and volatile economic environment is continuing to negatively impact consumer demand for both conventional and organic milk,” says farmer and Arla board member Arthur Fearnell.
Last week during its annual results, Tesco CEO Ken Murphy said he expected price rises on food to continue in the first half of this year, but predicted they would then moderate.
Later this week, the ONS is due to report official figures for inflation in March. Many have forecast this will be the first time the figure will be in single digits since last summer.
Confidence in future rebounds among chief financial officers
Chief financial officers (CFOs) at the UK’s biggest companies are feeling decidedly more confident about their business’s future than they were three months ago.
A net balance of around one quarter of the CFOs surveyed by Deloitte felt more positive about the financial prospects of their business than they did three months ago. The last time the survey was carried out, 17% felt more pessimistic.
This swing towards optimism is the biggest recorded in the survey since the rollout of the vaccine during the Covid pandemic.
Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart attributes this increased confidence to a range of factors including the perception inflation has peaked, falling energy prices and a relatively calmer political environment versus last year.
Despite the uptick in confidence, the survey suggests CFOs are still adopting defensive strategies. The top three corporate priorities for finance leaders in the next three months remain increasing cash flow, reducing costs and reducing leverage.
The CFOs surveyed by Deloitte come from large firms in the UK. Stewart notes the feelings of optimism may not be unanimous, particularly in smaller businesses.
“In many ways it mirrors what we are seeing at household level. The difference between the haves and the have nots is widening,” he says.
Cutting emissions will raise flight prices says UK aviation group
Pursuing more sustainable air travel will cost more, pushing up flight prices and will “inevitably reduce passenger demand” in the coming decades, forecasts a UK aviation group.
The Sustainable Aviation group, which has members including British Airways and EasyJet, says in a report published today (17 April) strategies to reduce carbon emissions including cleaner and more expensive fuels, and carbon emissions trading schemes will drive up costs.
Industry executives have modelled a ticket price increase of between 10% and 20% to fund higher costs, reports the Financial Times.
The UK aviation industry has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Aviation group forecasts there will be 250 million more passenger journeys per year by this point, but that some will be put off by higher costs.
The group’s chair and Heathrow Airport senior executive Matt Gorman says there will be a “green premium” associated with flying in the future.
Tesco celebrates Eid in Ramadan campaign
Tesco is launching a campaign in the run-up to Eid, the celebration which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The campaign focuses on a family preparing for Eid and to celebrate the event with loved ones and food. The supermarket created the campaign with BBH and EssenceMediaCom. It also worked with strategic equity, diversity & inclusion consultancy The Unmistakables as well as the race and ethnicity network at Tesco to ensure the representation of British Muslims celebrating Eid was authentic.
The “Alia’s ‘worth the wait’ Samosas” creative follows mum Alia who keeps her son occupied by challenging him to spot the new moon while he waits to eat the samosas she has made.
The creative is part of Tesco’s ongoing ‘Food Love Stories’ platform and builds on its 2022 ‘Together this Ramadan’ campaign. It is launching in the second half of Ramadan, as Muslims prepare for Eid. The campaign is running on channels including TV, video-on-demand, social and out-of-home.
Tesco is also examining when and how its media strategy for the campaign reaches a Muslim audience. For example, during the day assets will be focused on family coming together, while food-centred assets will largely run during the night, in order to be respectful to those who are fasting.
The supermarket tested the ad using System1’s effectiveness rating and claims it received 5.9 stars among the Muslim audience, the highest possible score.