Pernod Ricard, Asda, NHS: 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.

asdaAsda unveils first customer loyalty scheme in value push

After trialling the system with 2,000 of its own staff, supermarket Asda has launched its first customer loyalty rewards scheme in a push to provide the “best possible value”.

According to The Grocer, customers will be able to earn rewards when buying ‘star’ products, including Asda’s core own-label lines and brands such as Pampers and Cadbury. They can also complete missions to earn additional rewards, such as buying five fruit or vegetables or spending £15 on pet products.

Rewards are collected in a ‘cash pot’ in the ‘Asda Rewards’ smartphone app and can be redeemed by converting the pot into vouchers for money off their next shop.

At present, the app can be used in 16 pilot stores across West Yorkshire and the West Midlands. As the trial continues, Asda hopes to use customers’ data to add personalised rewards.

Asda customer proposition & planning VP Matt McLellan said: “We know our customers want the best possible value when shopping with us, especially as household budgets become stretched.

“Our Asda Rewards trial rewards our loyal customers with pounds not points for buying the products they love.”

READ MORE: Asda launches first customer loyalty rewards scheme

Pernod Ricard to accelerate digital transformation after sales growth

Despite the still “subdued” travel retail market, drinks giant Pernod Ricard has reported global sales growth of 22% over the first quarter of its 2022 financial year, totalling €2.7bn.

The business has therefore promised to accelerate its digital transformation and reinvest in order to seize growth opportunities.

Sales in Europe alone were also up by 22%, reaching €645m (£544m). The UK saw “good” growth, the company claimed, driven in the main by whisky brand Jameson, vodka brand Absolut and rum brand Havana Club.

Jameson and Absolut are categorised by Pernod Ricard as “strategic international brands”, alongside Martell’s cognac, and whisky brands Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal. This category grew by 24%. However, the business’ wine category was hit by a 7% drop in sales (versus a 9% increase in the first quarter of 2021), due in particular to New Zealand supply constraints.

“We have had a very dynamic start to the year, as expected, with strong demand in most markets,” says chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard.

“We expect good sales growth to continue through FY22, albeit moderating vs. Q1. We will continue to implement our strategy, notably accelerating our digital transformation and reinvesting to seize present and future growth opportunities.”

Pernod Ricard is the world’s second biggest producer of wines and spirits, with consolidated sales amounting to €8.8bn over its last financial year.

NHS adjusts tone in new annual recruitment campaign

After the success of last year’s ‘We are the NHS’ campaign, the UK’s national health service has returned with a new campaign aimed at recruiting the next generation of healthcare professionals.

‘Live 1000 Lives’ adopts a notable shift in tone from last year, moving on from building national pride to reflecting on what individuals personally get out of a career in the NHS. Created by MullenLowe Group UK, the heroic, crisis-fighting imagery has been replaced by a more appealing view of working for the service.

The campaign will run across TV, video on demand (VOD), radio, social, digital display, online video and CRM. Media planning and buying is being handled by OmniGov, while Mediahub UK handles media partnerships and MullenLowe Profero sorts CRM.

Last year’s We Are the NHS campaign drove the service’s highest ever year-on-year uplift for nursing applications at 35%.

Retail sales slump as consumer confidence takes a knock

The latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures have revealed a 0.0% year-on-year sales growth in September for retailers, as internet sales show their fourth consecutive month of decline.

Internet sales were down -2.9% over the month, as businesses struggle to maintain the level of sales seen at the height of the pandemic last year. However, they still remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

When looking at just non-food stores, sales did grow 1.3%. Large retailers across all categories (excluding fuel) also saw some growth, up 2%.

The sales slump will be a cause for concern for retailers as they begin to prepare for the “all-important” Christmas period, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC)’s CEO, Helen Dickinson.

“Fuel shortages, wet weather, and low consumer confidence all contributed to lower consumer demand this month, with household goods, furniture and books all hit particularly hard,” she says.

Indeed, the latest Consumer Confidence Barometer from GfK has today revealed a four-point reduction in its confidence index score over October, dropping to -17. Consumers are feeling increasingly less confident about their personal finances and the future of the economy, so intentions to make big-ticket purchases also took a knock.

Meanwhile, labour shortages and higher costs are putting pressure on prices, with three in five retailers warning of higher prices before Christmas, according to the BRC.

Dickinson warns it is “vital” that retail sales bounce back during the festive season for the sake of the UK’s economic recovery, calling on the UK government to find a solution to the factors preventing growth.

“Labour shortages across the supply chains, on farms, factories, warehouses and lorry drivers, all threaten to derail this recovery and it is vital that Government finds a long term solution to this problem,” she says.

EE launches UK’s first phone safety programme for pre-teens

With research revealing the extent of concern parents and guardians feel about giving a child their own mobile phone, network operator EE has put together an online programme to provide young people with the tools and confidence to use phone technology safely.

The hour-long course is designed for young people aged between 10 and 13, and on completing it participants will be awarded an ‘EE PhoneSmart Licence’. The programme is free and available to everyone, regardless of the mobile network they are on.

Created in collaboration with experts from Internet Matters and in consultation with various other children’s charities, the course is split into four modules: online hate, digital wellbeing, staying safe online, and digital and media literacy.

The Licence was created after research from Ofcom revealed 49% of eight to 11-year-olds now own their own smartphone. That number rises to 91% among 12 to 15-year-olds, with 81% having had at least one potentially harmful experience online in the past year.

To mark the launch, EE has unveiled a short film featuring musician Clement Marfo, highlighting the breadth of opportunity a phone provides, but also the dangers children may be exposed to.

“The build up to getting your first phone is both exciting and daunting for children and their parents. The EE PhoneSmart Licence was created to help navigate this milestone, equipping young people with an understanding of phone safety,” says brand and demand generation communications director, Kelly Engstrom.

“Our mission as the UK’s leading network is to connect for good, and by educating the next generation on how to avoid dangers and get the best from their first phone, we can play our part in keeping children safe online. We believe that every child should be safe online which is why we’ve made the course free and available to everyone, regardless of what network they’re on.”

Thursday, 21 October

Burger King urges messy style with first clothing range

Burger King has launched its first range of branded apparel. The Fall Collection is a limited edition, one-size fits all range of shirts created by designer Katie Eary and specialist digital printer Clothsurgeon.

The shirts are described as designed for dining in style, with a camouflage print helped to disguise any spillages from burgers.

Developed by BBH, the shirts are inspired by a selection of Burger King ingredients: they feature tomatoes, Bullseye BBQ sauce, cheese, crispy onions and bacon, according to the brand. The ingredients are listed on the shirt’s labels.

Burger King is making 100 shirts available to customers, who can enter a competition to win one by buying a burger from the new Gourmet Kings Range via the brand’s app. TV and OOH ads will highlight the competition.

“After months in the making, we are so excited to reveal our passion project to the world and celebrate the new Gourmet Kings Range,” says Burger King brand and communications director Soco Nunez. “We want our fans to enjoy the premium ingredients of The Argentinian and The Steakhouse burgers without worrying about spillages and urge them to get gloriously messy.”

Deliveroo says partnerships driving growth

DeliverooThe trend for takeaway food deliveries is still growing despite the reopening of restaurants, according to third quarter trading figures from Deliveroo.

The brand saw year-on-year transaction values increase by 58% in the third quarter to £1,594m, compared to £1,035m in the same period in 2020. Order numbers were up by 64%, though there was a slight reduction in order value.

Deliveroo says it has gained strong traction with its Deliveroo Plus offer created with Amazon Prime, with membership doubling since its launch in mid-September.

“We have continued to make good progress executing against our strategy, resulting in strong performance in Q3,” says Deliveroo founder and CEO Will Shu. “This quarter we have partnered with Amazon to offer their Prime customers in the UK and Ireland access to our Deliveroo Plus subscription programme. We have also successfully launched a new rapid grocery service, Deliveroo Hop, in partnership with Morrisons.

“While we are mindful of current and potential macroeconomic disruptions and uncertainties, we expect further strong performance in the remainder of the year and are increasing our full year GTV [gross transaction value] growth guidance.”

The company’s previous GTV guidance of 50-60% has been increased to 60-70%.

Tesla sees record growth after soaring EV sales

TeslaElectric car (EV) brand Tesla has recorded its biggest-ever quarterly earnings figures after record sales of its products, reports The Guardian.

Tesla made $1.62bn in the third quarter of the year, beating its previous record of $1.4bn in the previous three month period. Profits were nearly five time higher than Tesla made in the same quarter of 2019.

The brand delivered 241,300 cars to customers in the third quarter, despite supply chain issues that have hit the entire automotive sector. Average sales prices are decreasing as Tesla sells more of its smaller, less-expensive models.

“A variety of challenges, including semiconductor shortages, congestion at ports and rolling blackouts, have been impacting our ability to keep factories running at full speed,” said the company in a statement.

Tesla recently announced that it will move its headquarters from California to Texas.

READ MORE: Tesla reports record quarterly earnings despite global supply chain meltdown

EasyJet opens first passenger lounge

Budget airline EasyJet has opened its first airport lounge, at London Gatwick’s North Terminal, reports The Independent.

The lounge, called The Gateway, which opened today (21 October) can be booked from £18.50 per hour by anybody travelling via the airport. One, two and three-hour packages are available to allow travellers to work or relax in the lounge. The space offers hot and cold food and drink, sofas, tables, wifi and a family area. The airline says the lounge will offer destination-inspired dishes that are changed every three months alongside a signature cocktail list.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to offer travellers more choice and great value, so we’re proud that The Getaway will be able to offer something for everyone whether it’s all the essentials for a workspace, somewhere comfortable to relax before jetting off or to entertain the family,” says EasyJet commercial proposition and innovation director Rachael Smith.

READ MORE: EasyJet unveils first airport lounge at Gatwick

Pinterest brings in new features with upgrade

Pinterest has been upgraded to introduce new features for creators and advertisers on the platform.

The changes, announced at the annual Pinterest Creators Festival yesterday (20 October) include new ‘browse’ and ‘watch’ tabs for users seeking inspiration or ideas. Meanwhile the ‘Takes’ feature allows greater engagement between users, letting people respond to creator ideas with their own ‘idea pin’ using stickers, music tracks and editing capabilities. Responses will link back to the original posts.

Creators will be better-placed to monetise their content with the introduction of Creators Rewards, Pinterest’s first such initiative. Pinterest will also be providing micro-grants to help creators with projects.

Ideas pins will also be more ‘shoppable’ with features such as augmented reality tools that allow users to try on beauty products, and creators can include shopping recommendations in their content.

Meanwhile the platform is launching an original content series developed by more than 100 of its creators from 10 countries. The content will teach skills and prompt viewers to create their own take on ideas presented.

“We have all come to enjoy the benefits of conventional social media in the past decade, but it has also left a lot of us behind feeling drained and exhausted. We’re recognizing our responsibility as the home of inspiration and therefore we’re committed to doing things differently” says Pinterest head of content and creator partnerships Aya Kanai. The launch seeks to mark the next step in creating a different type of network centered around inclusivity, positivity and inspiration.

Wednesday, 20 October

Facebook

Facebook plans to rebrand company name in move similar to Google’s Alphabet

Facebook is planning to change its name as part of a company rebrand, according to reports. The move is likely to position the app alongside its other brands such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus under a new umbrella company.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to share the name change and the company’s ambition to be known for more than social media at the tech giant’s annual Connect conference on 28 October, according to the Verge, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

It follows a similar move made by Google, which rebranded its parent company to Alphabet in 2015 in an effort to separate its internet operations including Android, YouTube and the Google search engine from its research divisions, including X Lab and its health businesses.

At the time, Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson described it as a “huge strategic move” that allows Google’s many sub-brands the freedom of their own organisational cultures.

Facebook’s new name is “a closely guarded secret”, according to the Verge source, and is not even known among its full leadership team. Although it is thought the name could relate to Horizon.

READ MORE: Facebook is planning to rebrand the company with a new name

Shareholders give £7bn Morrisons takeover go-ahead

Morrisons shareholders have approved the £7bn takeover bid by UK private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). The UK’s fourth largest supermarket says 99.2% of shareholders voted in favour of the deal.

With a bid of 287p per Morrisons ordinary share, CD&R beat a rival offer by US investment group Fortress, which put 286p per share on the table. Both were marginally higher than the 285p per share recommended by the Morrisons board in August.

Morrisons rejected an offer from CD&R worth £5.5bn in July, saying it significantly undervalued the business.

READ MORE: Morrisons: Shareholders approve £7bn takeover deal

Alpro ad banned for making ‘misleading’ environmental claims

An ad for Alpro dairy alternatives has been banned for claiming it is ‘good for the planet’ just weeks after the advertising watchdog said it planned to “crack down” on misleading environmental advertising.

The poster, which appeared on buses in October 2020 and highlighted an almond drink, a soy drink and a soy yogurt alternative, included the text ‘Next stop. Your recipe to a healthier planet’, alongside the messages ‘Good for the planet’ and ‘Good for you’.

The complainant argued commercial almond farming causes environmental damage, so challenged whether the claim the product was ‘good for the planet’ could be substantiated.

Alpro contested its claim of being better for the planet related to plant-based products, such as the those shown in the ad, having less impact on the environment than dairy-based alternatives.

It said shifting towards more plant-based diets was widely recognised as a way to lower the carbon footprint of the agri-food sector, adding that plant-based drinks require less water and land and generate lower CO2 emissions than cow’s milk.

It also pointed out that the almonds used in its products were cultivated in a sustainable way which protects biodiversity and pollinating insects. It said the almonds are exclusively from small farms around the Mediterranean and they were mostly watered with rain water.

However the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) disagreed, stating in its ruling there was little context provided, meaning the claim ‘Good for the planet’ could be interpreted in more than one way.

While it agreed that the almonds used by Alpro are not sourced from areas of the world where it could have a negative environmental impact, the ASA says the CAP Code requires environmental claims to be clear and that “unqualified claims could mislead if they omit significant information”.

It has therefore stated the ad cannot be used in its current form.

Period brand wins £1m Sky Zero Footprint prize

Sanitary brand Here We Flo is the £1m grand prix winner of the inaugural Sky Zero Footprint Fund, an initiative launched by the media business to encourage behavioural change.

Here We Flo was founded in 2017 and makes biodegradable pad liners and organic tampons that are all vegan and cruelty-free.

Its ad was selected by a panel of judges, including Sir John Hegarty, Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay and Advertising Association chair Stephen Woodford, who said it won because of its “ability to share their entire brand story in 30 seconds” in a “funny, challenging and memorable way”.

Four other shortlisted brands – Olio, Ovo Energy, Pura and Path Financial – each of which produced an ad, have been awarded £250,000 of media to support their net carbon zero initiatives.

Susan C Allen, cofounder and interim she-EO of Here We Flo, says: “Winning the Sky Zero Footprint Fund prize will bring our mission of making shamelessly natural care for life’s messiest moments to levels it never reached before, completely transforming our business. We’re so proud to finally have a wide-reaching platform to talk about periods and sustainability in ways that have never been done before.”

Here We Flo’s winning ad, as well as the four ads of the runners-up, were produced following best practice advice and recommendations from the Advertising Association’s AdGreen programme. The ads will be unveiled as part of a launch campaign that coincides with the COP26 conference, of which Sky is a partner.

Sky is a supporter of the Advertising Association’s AdGreen initiative, which was launched last year to help eliminate the negative environmental impact of advertising production. It is one of the founding supporters of the industry’s Ad Net Zero initiative, which calls for brands and agencies to commit to reduce CO2 emissions.

Eurostar to trial biometric alternative to passports

Eurostar is to start piloting a touchless and seamless identification system that means passengers won’t have to show their passport and boarding pass at every stage of their journey.

The biometric-based technology will allow passengers to register their face and passport before travel. When they arrive at St Pancras International train station they can then use their face to check in and their passport data will automatically be sent to the UK border force to exit check.

The technology, which has been developed by Entrust working with partner iProov, is designed to reduce long queues at airports and stations while improving security.

“Travel and tourism is working hard to bounce back from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Helena Bononi, vice-president Americas of the World Travel and Tourism Council. “This important initiative enables mobility and increases safety and security, while always putting the passenger at the centre. We’re encouraged by efforts from governments and industry to make this a reality.”

Tuesday, 19 October

tesco

Tesco opens first checkout-free store

Tesco is opening its first checkout-free store later today, enabling customers to shop and pay without scanning a product or using a checkout.

The supermarket’s branch in Holborn, central London, has been converted to the new GetGo format, which allows customers with the Tesco app to select the products they want before walking out. The store uses a combination of cameras and weight sensors to gauge which items customers have picked up, before charging them through the app once they have exited the store.

The system was trialled by Tesco staff in the supermarket based at its Welwyn Garden City headquarters, but this is the first time the tech has been available to the public.

Managing director of Tesco Convenience, Kevin Tindall, describes the new store as offering a “seamless checkout” experience for customers on the go, adding this is a just a one-store trial and the business will see how customers respond.

Tesco is far from the first retailer to go checkout-free. Amazon Fresh has three “just walk out” grocery stores in the capital, while rival Sainsbury’s opened its first checkout-free store in Holborn in 2019. However, five months later the supermarket reinstalled tills after long queues built up at the helpdesk as shoppers attempted to pay for groceries in the traditional way.

Last month Aldi announced it was trialling its first checkout-free store in London, allowing customers to scan a smartphone app to enter the store, pick up their shopping and walk out without the need to pay at a till. Once the visit is over, customers receive an email receipt and are charged automatically using their payment method of choice.

The new Aldi store format is currently being tested by staff, with further trials planned with the public. Speaking at the time, Aldi UK and Ireland CEO Giles Hurley said the business was looking to “redefine what it means to be a discount retailer”, adding that the tech involved in the trial will provide “a wealth of learnings”.

READ MORE: Tesco opens its first checkout-free store

BrewDog cools expectations of imminent stock market float

BrewDog shopBrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt has cooled expectations of a possible stock market float, suggesting any route to IPO could be delayed until 2023.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Watt suggested a possible flotation could happen “sometime in 2022” or possibly 2023, adding that claims made by former staff that the business has a “culture of fear” encouraged the team to push back their decision.

Touching on the claims made in June that the company has a “toxic attitude” and used “lies, hypocrisy and deceit” to generate positive PR, Watt said he should have been “clearer about the high-performance culture”.

While he admitted that the Scottish brewer had failed these former employees, the BrewDog CEO added that regardless of whether the brand agreed with the feedback, it would use the claims as a “catalyst to get better”.

In September the brewer hired former Asda and Pandora boss Allan Leighton as chairman, a move seen as the business readying for a potential IPO. At the time Watt noted the role Leighton would play as a valuable mentor, describing him as “one of the UK’s most respected business leaders”. Reflecting on his appointment, Leighton said he looked forward to his role in ensuring the business has the right governance in place to “capitalise on the opportunities ahead”.

Last week, Watt revealed BrewDog’s bars had lost money every month since March 2020 and the week commencing 4 October was the first time its bars were in growth (up 3%) compared to 2019. However, the average bill is up 78% versus 2019 and food sales now make up 41% of bar revenue, suggesting customers are ordering more food and staying in the bars longer than pre-Covid.

Watt also outlined how over the past 12 months the business had hired more than 600 people. Corporate culture consultancy Wiser is set to publicly report its findings on the BrewDog business at the end of the year, although pay has so far increased by 3%, following previous delays to salary rises.

READ MORE: Maybe 2023: BrewDog momentum for London listing stalls

Supermarket sales slow as twin fuel and energy crises bite

UK grocery sales slowed to -0.7% in the four weeks to 9 October, as UK shoppers began to “rebalance their spending habits” ahead of Christmas and concerns grew over rising energy and fuel costs.

British shoppers spent £11.8bn on groceries, £41m less than the same period last year, according to NielsenIQ data. However, this level is still up 6.6% compared with pre-pandemic shopping in 2019.

Lidl (12.1%) and Aldi (8.9%) continued to grow sales as consumers opted for value over the past 12 weeks, with Tesco (1.9%) and Marks & Spencer (9.4%) the only retailers to gain market share outside the discounters.

Fears over supply chain disruption mean UK consumers are being encouraged to shop earlier for Christmas and not wait for seasonal promotions, with the NielsenIQ data revealing spend on promotional items remains low at 20%, down from 22% during the same period last year.

The data also suggests that consumers are shifting their grocery shopping habits towards an omnichannel experience, with shoppers “moving fluidly” across digital and physical channels. Over the past four weeks visits to stores rose by 5.5%, while online shopping trips were up 5.3%.

More than a quarter of shoppers continue to buy groceries online every four weeks and are shopping online more often, but with smaller basket sizes. Consumers are purchasing more “convenience items” online, with sales of fresh pizza (17%), mineral water (17%), freshly prepared salads (11%) and cakes (10%) all rising within the 12-week period ending 9 October. NielsenIQ says this suggests growing consumer trust in the quality and range of products available online.

NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, believes October will be a tipping point for food retail spend due to cautious consumer sentiment, increased concerns about discretionary spend, ambient food inflation and comparisons being made to spending during the second national lockdown in November 2020.

“This is likely to be reflected in top line growth continuing in the region of -1% to +1%. These trends will also give added momentum to value-based retailing – with shoppers looking to spend less but still get good value for money,” says Watkins.

“As a result, supermarkets may rely less on broad promotions and instead focus on driving loyalty via smart targeting of discounts and personalised price cuts, such as Tesco Clubcard and Nectar prices and if needed, the return of vouchering.”

Premier League clubs move to block Newcastle United sponsorship deals

The Premier League clubs have voted on emergency regulation to prevent Newcastle United’s new Saudi-backed owners from striking sponsorship deals.

The rule change, which will temporarily ban commercial arrangements that involve pre-existing business relationships for all 20 clubs for the next month, has been described by Newcastle as unlawful, the Guardian reports.

The only club reported to have abstained on the vote was Manchester City, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group. The Manchester club has been probed about its own sponsorship arrangements, for example with Abu Dhabi government-owned airline Etihad Airways.

The fear among the other clubs is that Newcastle’s new owners will use their substantial financial clout to gain an unfair advantage and therefore it was seen as necessary to put “pre-emptive measures” in place to prevent this, according to the Guardian.

It is thought some Premier League clubs would like the ban to become permanent and have set up a working group, representing a cross-section of teams, to investigate the impact of any such changes.

READ MORE: Premier League clubs vote to block Newcastle sponsorship deals at emergency meeting

Government launches regulations to ‘weed out greenwashing’

The Treasury will force large businesses to set out their green credentials to potential investors in a bid to “weed out greenwashing”.

Introduced with the Cop26 conference starting in a matter of days, the new sustainability disclosure requirements compel businesses to share their environmental impact, with a view to ensuring investors can make informed decisions. The new legislation comes amid government claims that 70% of the UK public want their money to go towards “making a positive difference to people or planet”.

The new requirements, which will also apply to pension schemes and investment products, are designed to overcome what the Treasury sees as a lack of common definitions for environmental sustainability, which it says is causing investors and consumers to be misled about how green a product really is.

Claiming that the UK is a “world leader in green finance”, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the new roadmap will give British business the opportunity to set global standards for sustainability that will “boost the economy, protect the planet and support our net zero goals”.

“We want sustainability to be a key component of investment decisions and our plans will arm investors with the right information to make more environmentally-led decisions,” he adds.

In addition, the new rules will also require certain firms to publicise their transition plans in the context of the UK’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

However, pressure is on the government to meet its commitment after the Climate Change Committee claimed the UK has been “too slow” to meet its own goals and “every month of inaction” makes it harder for the country to get on track.

BT and Google to offer free mentoring for SMEs

BT and Google have joined forces on a new campaign offering UK small businesses free digital skills mentoring in a bid to drive post-pandemic growth.

The ‘Get mentored, Get growing’ campaign offers free one-to-one mentoring sessions for UK small businesses and charities covering digital marketing, ecommerce and business strategy.

The campaign comes as BT research suggests almost half of all UK small firms (49%) are worried their business won’t survive without external support, while 64% say they’d be more likely to adopt new technologies if the IT and telecoms industry provided training.

As part of the campaign BT and Google are giving SMEs the chance to win a one-to-one mentoring session with wellness brand founder Liz Earle and Caribbean cuisine entrepreneur Levi Roots, where they can learn from their experiences of building and scaling a brand, as well as adapting to a digital-first world.

To qualify to be mentored by Earle and Roots, SMEs must by UK based, have under 50 employees and be available on 15 November, 16 November, 18 November and 19 November. They must want to be mentored on building their brand, building an online community, time management and team collaboration.

“Equipping small businesses with the digital tools needed to grow and succeed, is not only integral to future proofing the UK business landscape but it’s the next step in the UK’s journey to economic recovery,” says Google UK managing director Ronan Harris.

“We’re proud to partner with BT and the participating business leaders on this inspirational programme. We’re committed to making sure shared knowledge and digital skills are as accessible as possible and make a lasting impact for the entrepreneurs of the future.”

Since the launch of the BT Skills for Tomorrow platform in 2019, the telecoms company has delivered free digital skills training to almost 300,000 UK small business owners and their employees, supported by webinars from Google Digital Garage. The search giant has so far exceeded its own target of helping train 100,000 UK SMEs, while in total more than 700,000 business owners have been trained through the Google Digital Garage programme to date.

Monday, 18 October

Brands voice frustration over ‘mismanaged’ Cop26 summit

Brands that have given millions of pounds in sponsorship for the Cop26 climate summit have labelled the upcoming event “mismanaged” as the summit draws near.

According to the Guardian, a letter penned by Sky and co-signed by senior leaders from other brands, have raised concerns on how the event is being held. This follows another co-signed letter in July.

Alongside Sky, other major sponsors of the event include Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE, US tech titan Microsoft, and FTSE companies GSK, NatWest, Reckitt, Sainsbury’s, Ikea, Jaguar Land Rover and Unilever. FMCG giant Unilever has denied signing the letter.

The UK is running the Cop26 summit from the Cabinet Office and is being led by former business secretary Alok Sharma who is president, and government-appointed high-level climate champion businessman Nigel Topping.

Many consider Cop26 to be the final chance to put the world on track to meet climate targets before irreversible effects on the planet take place. It will take place in November and was delayed last year due to the pandemic.

An employee from a Cop26 sponsor says the “the biggest frustration” stems from the lack of transparency on how the event will be run, what the role for backers will be, as big questions have yet to be answered and planning decisions were delayed.

“They had an extra year to prepare for Cop due to Covid, but it doesn’t feel like this time was used to make better progress. Everything feels very last minute,” the source says.

READ MORE: Cop26 corporate sponsors condemn climate summit as ‘mismanaged’

Facebook posts job listings to develop online world

FacebookFacebook is hiring 10,000 people in the European Union to create an online world where people can work, game and communicate using VR headsets.

The ‘Metaverse’ is one of Facebook’s key strategies to evolve the platform into an online world where users can interact more deeply.

The jobs will be created over five years as the project develops and will include “highly specialised” engineers. Facebook highlights investing in EU talent enables to take advantage of a larger consumer market, first-class universities and high-quality talent.

The company has invested $50m (£36.3m) into non-profit groups to aid in building the metaverse responsibly.

Facebook says in a blog post: “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start.”

The social media platform has been engulfed in multiple controversies with the most recent being a whistle-blower, accusing Facebook of placing profits before its user by pushing content it knew was harmful.

READ MORE: Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to work on metaverse

Ebay aims to inspire sustainable practices

Ebay has unveiled a new campaign film that musically portrays small behavioural changes every time a customer buys or sells items on its platform.

The ‘Buy a Thing, Sell a Thing’ campaign is created with agency McCann London and is fronted by a 40-second spot.

It shows a woman walking down a street watching someone throw an old TV in the bin while posting an action figure in a letterbox while a song play in the background sings the title of the campaign: “When you a buy thing, sell a thing, never ever throw a thing! When you buy a thing, sell a thing, go on do the better thing!”

The film progresses to show how people can upload pictures and sell items of all sorts. The action figure resurfaces in the hands of a small girl who is happy.

The online buying and selling platform says the campaign taps into a need from people to live more sustainably and how millions of users on eBay are already doing so by selling their old items instead of throwing them away.

Ebay UK CMO Eve Williams says: “Ebay was founded on the principle that people are inherently good. And over 25 years later we can see how this continues to make people feel, as they pass on a much-loved treasure, or re-kindle joy in the eyes of someone else. We value how we’re helping our diverse community of buyers and sellers to make more sustainable choices. eBay can truly be everyone’s everything.”

Lifebuoy pushes multichannel campaign to re-educate children on handwashing

Lifebuoy is collaborating with Sesame Street to launch digital games and e-books to encourage improved hygienic behaviour in children to prevent more lost in-person learning time.

The Unilever-owned brand is working with Sesame Workshop the non-profit organisation that creates the famed children’s TV show, to launch series of digital games and e-book to improve hygiene behaviours.

Interactive games featuring Sesame Workshop Muppets Elmo, Raya, Cookie Monster, and Grover will encourage children to practice handwashing in their daily lives. This partnership marks Lifebuoy’s first digital behaviour change program.

The eBook is titled ‘H is for Handwashing Alphabet Book’ and has been created by Lifebuoy so that parents can continue this lesson at home. It switches the letter H from standing for horse or hippo to handwashing.

Lifebuoy says it is “harnessing” its behavioural change expertise to minimise education time lost through poor hand hygiene. Globally schoolchildren lost around 1.8 trillion hours of in-person learning due to the pandemic.

The Global Hygiene Council states that 42% of children are not always washing their hands properly with soap in school.

“For more than 50 years, Sesame Workshop has been promoting children’s development, using media to make healthy habits like handwashing fun and engaging,” says Danny Labin, vice president of international social impact at Sesame Workshop.

“We’re excited to launch new resources with Lifebuoy that will continue to make healthy habits easy to practice, creating a healthier future for children around the world.”

The Royal Institute of Blind People targets legacy donors

The Royal Institute of Blind People is highlighting how legacy donors can make a difference to those with sight loss, in a bid to gain donors from wills.

The ‘Build Skills for Life’ campaign features a direct response TV ad that shows James who was born with a genetic condition called Congenital Nystagmus, which causes continuous eye movement and renders sight limited.

James’s mother narrates how he has transformed in confidence and ability thanks to the RNIB’s support. She emphasises the support the charity has given James, and the need for the RNIB to help people like James build skills to create their best possible future.

Success for the campaign lies in driving consideration, awareness, and engagement. The campaign is created with creative agency GOOD, and will be supported by social adverts, press and magazine adverts, inserts and door drops.

RNIB head of legacy giving Lorna McPherson-Reed says: “This is RNIB’s first legacy TV advert which we hope will become an established route to new supporters. It is predicted that by 2050, the number of people with sight loss will double to 4 million.

“In contrast, the number of legacy gifts RNIB has been receiving has fallen over the past 10 years, so there is an urgent need to inspire more people who share the charity’s vision to include a gift in their Will to RNIB.

“This will ensure that RNIB can achieve its long-term goals as well as funding the practical and emotional support services that are available to everyone affected by sight loss”.

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