Adidas, Tesco, Facebook: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Adidas footballAdidas loses three-stripe trademark battle

Adidas has lost its battle to trademark its three-stripe design after the general court of the EU ruled it was not “distinctive” enough.

The court stated that the German sportswear giant did not “prove that that mark has acquired, throughout the territory of the EU, distinctive character following the use which had been made of it”.

Despite the fact the logo was first registered by Adidas founder Adi Dassler in 1949, the EU general court ruled that the three stripes are not sufficient to identify the products as originating from the brand.

Adidas was granted a trademark on “three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width, applied on the product in any direction” on clothing, hats and shoes in 2014. However, Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe applied to the EU intellectual property office for the trademark to be annulled two years later.

In a statement, Adidas says it is “disappointed” with the ruling and still has the option to appeal to the European court of justice. The sportswear company adds that this ruling does not impact the “broad scope of protection” that Adidas has over its “well-known three-stripe mark” across various forms in Europe.

READ MORE: Adidas loses three-stripe trademark battle in European court

Tesco eyes standalone convenience format for Finest brand


Tesco is mulling the rollout of standalone convenience stores for its Finest own-brand.

Chief executive Dave Lewis suggested that the supermarket could make the move to capture the upmarket grocery shopper: “Tesco Finest as a brand is one of the largest food brands in the country. We have a very high percentage of more upmarket customers.

“The opportunity to curate that range and bring new things in a more convenient outlet is something that we have tested, is something we’re interested in.”

This challenge to the upmarket grocery sector comes just nine months after Tesco launched its standalone discount chain Jack’s. Tesco has not said it will expand the chain, which currently has nine stores thought to have sold £24m worth of products.

The suggestion of Tesco opening a Finest chain caused shares in Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Ocado to fall by 3.5% and 4%, respectively. The partners announced in February they were setting up a joint venture whereby Ocado would deliver M&S groceries from September 2020 onwards, following the retailer’s £750m acquisition of a 50% share in Ocado’s retail business.

READ MORE: Tesco mulls high-end ‘Finest’ convenience stores

US government calls on Facebook to ‘pause’ Libra cryptocurrency project

Facebook Calibra

Facebook has been urged by US lawmakers to delay the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency over fears regarding the social media giant’s “troubled past”.

Democratic congresswoman and chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, says the company should wait until the US Congress has examined the project.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a crypto-currency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” she states.

Facebook reacted by saying it looks forward to “responding to policymakers’ questions as this process moves forward”.

Set to launch next year, the Libra cryptocurrency will allow users to make payments through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and via a standalone app. The Libra network will be accessed through Calibra, a newly formed Facebook financial services subsidiary, which will act as a digital wallet for the blockchain-powered cryptocurrency.

Once the rollout of Libra is complete Facebook plans to launch additional services that would allow people and businesses to pay bills with the push of a button or buy a cup of coffee “with the scan of a code”.

READ MORE: Facebook urged to pause Libra crypto-currency project

Purplebricks sponsors Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics

Online estate agent Purplebricks has announced a new sponsorship of Team GB to the end of 2020, which includes next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The brand will be designated the Official Estate Agent of Team GB and is planning to show its support for the nation’s athletes through a series of campaigns and initiatives under the banner of #TeamPB.

This will include turning its usual ‘Sold’ boards into special gold versions featuring the Team GB logo.

Purplebricks says the activation reflects its own ‘gold’ status from review site Feefo, which last month awarded the brand its ‘Gold Trusted Service’ award for having held a customer rating of more than 4.5 out of 5 during the previous 12 months.

Vic Darvey, Purplebricks’ CEO, says: “This sponsorship was a natural next step for our business as, like Team GB, our ‘Team PB’ has the ambition and drive to win. We have hard working, experienced estate agents across the country – and we intend to use that local reach to move every community behind our athletes over the next year.”

Tim Ellerton, commercial director for the British Olympic Association, says that Purplebricks’ visibility across UK streets will give Team GB “a great presence” in the build up to the Olympic Games, adding that the brand’s “innovation and customer focus” makes it a perfect partner.

Next acquires Fabled beauty brand for £8m

Next has acquired Marie Claire Beauty Limited from delivery company Ocado in a deal thought to be worth £8m.

The high street retailer reportedly paid a “small upfront fee” to acquire the Fabled by Marie Claire brand, which spans the website and Fabled By Marie Claire premium beauty store in central London. It will then pay at least £3m as part of an earnout agreement, giving Ocado a cut of sales until 2024.

Next has partnered with Fabled for the past eight months, selling more than 100 premium beauty brands via its website under the Fabled by Marie Claire branding.

Speaking to Sky News, Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner, says the decision to sell Marie Claire Beauty was the result of a “centre of gravity shift” following the announcement in February of its £750m joint venture agreement with Marks & Spencer.

“In the light of our strategic evolution, and given the success of the collaboration between Next and Fabled, we decided that it would be in the best interests of all parties to now pass the baton so that Next can take Fabled forward,” says Steiner.

Next chief executive, Lord Simon Wolfson, states that Fabled’s experience and expertise offers the Next Group an opportunity “to develop an [extensive] premium beauty business supported by our online and retail platform.”

Launched in August 2016, Fabled pitched itself as a content-led premium beauty retailer offering over 250 brands. Justine Southall, managing director of Marie Claire, says the Next deal offered Fabled the chance to extend its brand further.

“Next is a hugely impressive business and premium beauty complements their own offer and builds on the success they have had in developing the fashion brands through their label business,” she added.

READ MORE: Next buys Ocado beauty business in £8m deal

Wednesday, 19 June

Direct Line to sponsor Channel 4’s Film on 4

Channel 4 has signed a 12-month partnership deal with Direct Line to be the new sponsor of its network film package, Film on 4

As part of the deal the insurance company will exclusively sponsor all films on Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Film4 before 9pm, meaning the partnership will cover more than 2,000 movies.

The company has produced 15-, 10- and five-second indents, created alongside Saatchi & Saatchi, that feature Direct Line call centre staff dealing with a series of extreme insurance claims inspired by the damage caused in blockbuster films. They will play out during the ad break closest to when the scene airs.

Kerry Chilvers, brand director at Direct Line Group, says: “We’re always looking for innovative ways to reach new audiences and showcase just how good we are at fixing customer problems.

“TV has been hugely successful for us in driving both awareness and consideration, and with this partnership with Channel 4 we’re looking to take things up another gear. By actively engaging viewers to decode the film references, we hope that the campaign will compel the audience to find out how Direct Line can solve their insurance problems too.”

Ads by William Hill and Unilever banned by the ASA for targeting children

Two outdoor posters advertising Ben & Jerry’s ice cream have been banned after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found they targeted children because they were displayed within 100 metres of two different schools – one primary and one secondary.

The Children’s Food Campaign – an organisation protecting children from junk food marketing.- challenged whether the ads promoting a product that was high in fat, salt or sugar (an HFSS product ad) were directed at children through the selection of media or context in which they appeared and therefore goes against the CAP Code.

The code requires that no medium should be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of its audience is under the age of 16.

The ASA determined that the proximity of the posters to the schools was likely to mean that the ads’ audience was significantly skewed towards under-16s.

Unilever has been warned not to promote HFSS products close to a school again, despite arguing that Ben & Jerry’s audience was 18- to 35-year-olds and their policy was not to advertise to children.

This wasn’t the only ad to fall under fire by the ASA for a similar reason this week.

A William Hill ad was banned for ‘not being appropriately targeted away from children’.

The ad, which appeared in the Looney Tunes World of Mayhem app in February, offered players the opportunity to earn ‘gems’ to use in the game by viewing ads or performing tasks. The app is designed for users aged older than 7.

Given the use of cartoon characters, cartoonish violence and the relatively simple nature of the game, the ASA considered it was likely to appeal to many under-18s.

The Mail overtakes The Sun to become the most read UK newsbrand

The Mail has overtaken the Sun as the most read UK national newsbrand across print and online, according the latest readership from The Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo).

The Mail saw its total monthly brand reach increase 6% year on year to 31.1 million across the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online. The Sun titles, including its bingo and fantasy football websites, were just behind with a monthly reach of 29.7 million.

Among the so-called qualities, The Guardian was the most read with a monthly brand reach of 24.9 million, ahead of The Telegraph on 22.7 million and The Independent on 19.7 million.

PAMCo replaced the National Readership Survey as the industry standard for print and digital readership of news publishers in the UK last year.

Ryanair introduces boarding pass advertising

Ryanair has launched boarding pass advertising, offering advertisers the chance to tap into the budget airline’s 153 million customers each year by advertising on their boarding passes.

The airline is offering low minimum spend levels and says that considering its unique online self-serve portal, this product allows both large global and small local brands to directly advertise to its customer base.

 “With the majority of guests printing their boarding cards up to 48hours prior to travelling and referencing them on average over 8 times during the course of the journey, this product provides a unique opportunity for advertisers throughout Europe to target specific Ryanair customers,” Ryanair’s Greg O’Gorman says.

Nature Valley serves up in the ‘Court is Yours’ campaign

Nature Valley has launched its latest iteration of ‘The Court is Yours’ campaign which is designed to encourage greater participation and accessibility in grassroots tennis.

Now in its third year, the ambition for 2019 is to bring the benefits of playing tennis to life by making it relevant in people’s every day lives.

As part of the campaign the healthy snack brand will leverage its existing partnership with the LTA by becoming the title sponsor of their ‘Nature Valley Great British Tennis Weekends’, during which people can try tennis for free.

Shot on location at Hambledon Tennis Club , the £1.7m ‘The Court is Yours’ which has gone live just in time for Queen’s Tennis Club Tournament, features two 20-second films along with 10-second versions which celebrate the advantages tennis can bring to your life.

Kat Jones, Marketing Manager at Nature Valley, says: “We want to inspire people around the benefits of tennis. I can sum up The Court is Yours 2019 in just two words; advantage you!” We hope this year’s campaign demonstrates the amazing benefits of tennis. It gets you outdoors, gets you together with friends and family and gets you fit.”

Last year’s ‘The Court is Yours’ campaign delivered a sales increase of 41% year on year as well as the brand’s highest penetration and market share for both the total Nature Valley portfolio and their protein bar.

Tuesday, 18 June

John Lewis Partners

John Lewis launches beauty recycling trial for loyalty members

John Lewis has teamed up with recycling business TerraCycle on a beauty recycling trial for its loyalty programme members. The trial will offer shoppers the chance to recycle empty make-up and skincare beauty products from any brand in exchange for £5 off an in-store beauty purchase.

John Lewis will collect the items for recycling and then pass them on to TerraCycle, which will separate the products into their component parts and then recycle them based on the material they are made from. Plastic, for example, will be repurposed into pellets that can then be used to make new products such as outdoor furniture.

Beauty product packaging is typically difficult to recycle due to the complexity of the material. The trial, which will run for a month, will be offered in the 36 John Lewis stores that offer a full beauty service.

John Lewis senior sustainability manager Martyn White says: “Our customers are becoming more mindful about what they buy and what happens to products once they’ve reached the end of their first life.

“Beauty products are notoriously hard to recycle, which can make it hard for customers to know what to do with them, which often means they end up being thrown in the bin. One of our key aims is to make ‘being sustainable’ as easy as possible for customers, so it doesn’t have to be a difficult choice.”

Coca-Cola to turn Sprite bottles from green to clear in recycling push

Coca-Cola to changing the colour of its Sprite bottles from green to clear to make them easier to recycle as part of a wider push aimed at reducing its plastic footprint.

The change, which will come into effect from September this year in the UK, will also see Sprite bottles increase the amount of recycled plastic they contain to 50% next year. Coca-Cola has promised to use at least 50% recycled PET in all its plastic bottles across 20 brands by early 2020.

Meanwhile, bottles of its Glaceau brand of bottled water will be made from 100% recycled plastic by the end of the year. Glaceau is the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in Great Britain, with the changes removing 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation.

Together, the initiatives will ensure 23,000 tonnes of new plastic is no longer used by Coca-Cola from 2020. However, Coca-Cola says it also need help from government and is supported planned reforms to the recycling system in Great Britain, as well as calling for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain, says: “Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy, as it reduces the amount of virgin material used in our packs. None of this is easy and I am proud of the teams’ work to ensure we are on track to move to at least 50% recycled PET plastic on all of our bottles in 2020.”

Sport England turns attention to mothers in next phase of ‘This Girl Can’ campaign

Sport England is aiming to encourage more mums to exercise in the latest phase of its hugely successful ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.

The focus comes after new research found that six in 10 (61%) of mums feel guilty taking time to exercise rather than spend time with their families. When asked to name their top priority outside work, 56% said spending time with family, 53% housework and 28% cooking, with exercise coming near the bottom of the list, cited by less than one in five (17%).

Mums do want to be more active, however, with 77% wanting to do more exercise but lack of time and cost of keeping fit seen as barriers. The research also found that mums can play a key role in encouraging children to develop a healthier attitude to physical activity.

Sport England wanted to address these issues, and so has created a campaign that offers tips, advice and home workout ideas. It will run on social media, alongside a partnership with Les Mills to offer a free 21-day trial of a home workout trial. There will also be a new TV ad, as well as outdoor and radio activity.

Lisa O’Keefe, insight director at Sport England, comments: “Our insights show that children with active parents – particularly mothers – are more likely to be active themselves. And children who have positive. All of us have a role to play in making mums feel okay about prioritising getting active as they would other things in their lives.”

Sport England aims to get half a million more people into sport and physical activity across England by 2020, with at least half of these being women. The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign has inspired 3.9 million women and girls to participate in sport and physical activity.

Mastercard to let transgender customers use their chosen name on cards

Mastercard is working with banks to allow transgender customers to use their chosen names on credit and debit cards as it looks to ease a “major pain point” for the transgender and non-binary community.

The ‘True Name’ card will see Mastercard create a product that will allow for true names to appear on cards without the requirement of a legal name change. It will also introduce a private process for applying for the cards that it promises will be free of personal questions.

The move comes after research showed that nearly a third (32%) of individuals with IDs that feature a name or gender that does not match their presentation reported a negative experience such as being harassed, denied access to services and/or being attacked. Yet Mastercard’s network does not require merchants to validate a cardholder’s name, nor does the name aid a transaction’s security.

“We are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, which means if we see a need or if this community is not being served in the most inclusive way, we want to be a force for change to help address and alleviate unnecessary pain points,” says Randall Tucker, Mastercard’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “This translates not only for our Mastercard employee community but for our cardholders and the communities in which we operate more broadly. Our vision is that every card should be for everyone.”

Government looks to end ‘loyalty penalty’

The government is aiming to bring to an end the practice of companies overcharging loyal customers under new plans.

The so-called ‘loyalty penalty’ – where existing customer are charged more for services such as insurance premiums or mobile phone contracts – costs consumers £4.1bn a year. But the government now wants to give the competition watchdog the power to fine firms that overcharge or mislead customers.

The plans would also include rules that prevent mobile phone operators charging the same monthly rate once a handset has been paid off.

Prime Minister Theresa May says: “For far too long, many big companies have been getting away with harmful trading practices which lead to poor services and confusion among customers who have parted with their hard-earned cash.

“The system as it stands not only lets consumers down but it also lets down the vast majority of businesses who play by the rules.”

READ MORE: Overcharging loyal customers will be banned under new plans unveiled by the Government 

Monday, 17 June


WPP to sell film studio in streamlining drive

The advertising giant WPP is close to selling its stake in its television and film post-production house, The Farm, as it looks to simplify the agency giant.

American rival post-production house Picture Shop is in talks to buy WPP’s 75% stake in the business, which has worked for broadcasters including Netflix and BBC.

The deal could be sealed this week, although it is unclear whether it will include the 25% owned by The Farm’s founders, Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn.

WPP first acquired the stake over 15 years ago, but it is no longer considered core by its new boss Mark Read, who is looking to streamline the company.

Read took over from founder and CEO Martin Sorrell in April and promised a “radical” evolution of the group. Since then, Read has embarked on a strategy of simplifying the group to focus on traditional communications, an ecommerce business, experience-based marketing and marketing technology.

Sorrell stepped down after 33 years at the company following an internal investigation into accusations of personal misconduct.

£ READ MORE: WPP close to agreeing sale of majority stake in The Farm

Surperdrug sales helped by vegan trend

Vegan beauty products such as charcoal toothpaste have helped Superdrug’s sales, but not enough to stop the chain post a dip in annual profits.

Sales of own brand vegan products were up 25% last year as pre-tax profits slipped from £92.9m to £88.3m.

The company spoke of “challenging times” for the high street despite opening 23 new stores in the 52 weeks to 29 December. Sales from its website have increased by 15%.

Superdrug sells 1,000 vegan beauty and toiletry products through its sales of its vegan own-brand range and its own vegan pop-up shop. The Little Vegan Pop Up opened in March 2018 for three months and sold products across makeup, skincare and men’s grooming categories.

Sales of vegan beauty products in the UK grew 38% in 2018, with research from The Vegan Society finding more than half (56%) of Brits now adopt vegan buying behaviours such as only purchasing vegan products and checking their toiletries are cruelty-free.

£ READ MORE: Superdrug finds beauty in charcoal

Spotify expands targeting to podcast listeners


Spotify is expanding its targeting from music to include podcast listeners as it looks to help marketers hone their advertising.

The tool is available in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia. Plus in “select markets”, Spotify is making this even more focused with advertisers able to target those who listen to specific categories such as comedy, business, and lifestyle and health.

The audio streaming giant already has a number of brands including Samsung on board testing the tool.

The move comes on the heels of a US testing of voice-enabled ads that would allow Spotify Free users to interact with advertisers on mobiles.

Spotify has been building up its podcast library since it began introducing them 2015 but the audio streaming giant is ramping up investment, pledging to increase spending this year in order to tap into the growing market. Earlier this month, it signed a deal with Barack and Michelle Obama to co-produce podcasts exclusively for the platform.

Celebrities celebrate independent book stores in London Underground campaign

Celebrities are urging commuters to think about their purchasing power and buy from independent bookstores in a new London Underground campaign.

The ‘Just a Book’ campaign features 15 actors and musicians including Mama Mia star Dominic Cooper and former model Twiggy. It shows celebrities reading their favourite book across OOH ads and aims to celebrate local bookshops as well as serve as a reminder to consumers that their purchasing choices can help the future of the high street.

Since 1995, the number of independent bookshops across the UK has dropped from 1,900 to 880 in 2018 with more shops closing across a variety of sectors in recent years.

The grassroots group behind the campaign, Just a Card, was founded in 2015 to encourage people to buy from independent artists, designers, independent shops and businesses. The group campaign to raise awareness that all sales be it just a card, just a book or just a gift can make the difference between vibrant high streets or boarded up shops.

Sarah Hamilton, founder of Just A Card, says: “Everyone loves independents and wants to support them, but often we don’t appreciate how vital each and every purchase is. Just a card, just a book, just a gift… they all add up and are critical to small business success.

“We’re challenging shoppers to think about where they spend their money, and show how much they value the independent shops that make our High Streets so special.”

Just a Card teamed up with small business loan platform Funding Circle to produce the campaign.

Marie Claire UK appoints top Unilever marketer to purpose and sustainability role

Marie Claire UK is introducing a purpose and sustainability role as it looks to “scale” its environmental efforts and “create even more meaningful partnerships”.

The women’s magazine has appointed Sara Vaughan as its chief purpose and sustainability adviser to help develop the brand’s ‘Start Somewhere’ campaign.

The annual campaign aims to give readers ideas and inspiration that encourages them to reduce their environmental footprint. Founded in 2017, the campaign includes dedicated special issues as well as regular content across the brand’s digital and social platforms.

Marie Claire UK editor-in-chief Trish Halpin says: “Now, more than ever, women want to make conscious, mindful choices about the way they live and how they shop, and Marie Claire is committed to showing them the way.

“With Sara’s knowledge, connections and expertise we are now in a position to really scale this campaign and create even more meaningful partnerships.”

Vaughan left her role as vice-president of sustainable business and global communications at Unilever in 2016.  She adds: “Marie Claire  have long been trailblazers in this space – a true purpose-led brand for over 30 years.”

Earlier this year, Marie Claire was the first UK brand to be awarded the Ocean Champion badge by the Oceanic Global Foundation for its efforts to bring sustainability to the forefront of the conversation in the fashion and beauty industry.