EA Sports, Co-op, O2: 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.

Diversity in Advertising winner EA Sports launches FIFA campaign

The winner of Channel 4’s 2020 Diversity in Advertising Award will air its new campaign tonight. Games publisher EA Sports was named winner of the competition last year for its authentic portrayal of BAME cultures in advertising.

Together with creative agency adam&eveDDB the games brand won £1m of commercial airtime, which it will be using to launch its FIFA 21 campaign. The ad will feature recently signed brand ambassador Hamza Choudhury, and highlight the lack of British Asian representation in professional football by celebrating grassroots team The Midnight Ramadan League. Research shows that only 0.25% of the UK’s 4,000 professional footballers are British Asians.

The campaign will run across the entire 4Sales portfolio of channels. “Now in its fifth year, our Diversity in Advertising Award continues to highlight the importance of reflecting the cultural diversity of the whole of the UK in TV advertising,” says Channel 4 chief revenue officer Veriça Djurdjevic. “Evidence on screen points to positive progress being made which is really heartening but we’re not there yet and so we look forward to launching EA Sports’ impactful new campaign – sharing an important and authentic story with Channel 4 viewers.”

“Football is the world’s game and has immense power to unite family, friends and fans. At EA Sports we strive to grow the love of football through the stories we tell, so were delighted to work with Hamza to celebrate the Midnight Ramadan League. Hopefully we can inspire future generations to get out on to the pitch and play,” says EA Sports FIFA VP brand David Jackson.

Co-op extends Coronation Street sponsorship

Co-op has renewed its Coronation Street sponsorship deal with ITV, three years after a Co-op store first appeared on the soap opera.

As part of the new three-year deal, the branded store and bags will remain, with the addition of Co-op branded delivery bikes to reflect the retailer’s growth into rapid delivery services. The agreement also includes digital and brand licensing elements, which have seen Coronation Street products sold in stores.

“Co-op’s partnership with ITV’s Coronation Street has really resonated with our customers, bringing together two iconic and northern institutions that are built on community spirit. The relationship has unlocked so many fantastic opportunities, not only for the brand, but also our members, with exclusive product launches and money can’t buy opportunities to engage with the cast,” says Co-op customer and community director Alison Jones.

‘Greenest ever’ ad campaign for O2

O2 has launched what it describes as its ‘greenest ever’ ad campaign, highlighting its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission status by 2025 during Earth Day 2021.

The campaign shows O2’s robot character, Bubl, washing away the C from CO2 to leave the brand’s name, to represent how carbon emissions are being removed from the network.

Pollution-absorbing billboards, 100% renewable DOOH placements and Earth Day partnerships have been included in the campaign. O2 has worked with Spotify on the launch of its Sustainable Sonics proposition, for a sustainable audio campaign. It has also worked with The Times on a series of content around sustainability and the environment.

“From our masts to our offices, our stores to our supply chain, we’re committed to cutting carbon and removing the C from O2 for good – and this campaign is another example of using the power of our brand to inspire greener media and advertising practices. It’s all part of our commitment to go faster to reduce carbon emissions in our network to be net zero by 2025.  Through working with like-minded partners we can reach an even wider audience to help raise awareness of our mission to help encourage others to make greener choices,” says O2 head of corporate responsibility Tracey Herald.

Subway uses plant sounds for grime track first

Restaurant chain Subway has celebrated Earth Day by teaming up with Grime Artist P Money and producer Star to create the world’s first grime track using sounds emitted by plants.

The new track, called Vegang, has launched with an accompanying social campaign. The campaign, from agency Above+Beyond, champions veganism and targets Subway’s Gen Z audience.

Sound emissions from plants were recorded via electrodes, using plants grown for Subway’s plant-based menu. These sounds were employed to create the track, which has launched via TikTok and will be streamed on Spotify from next month.

“As more people champion plant-based lifestyles, we’re excited to be involved in the release of the first ever grime track made from plant sounds,” says Subway marketing director Angie Gosal. “With our ever-expanding vegan range, World Earth Day felt like the perfect opportunity to celebrate Subway now having one of the biggest and tastiest plant-based menus on the high street, to offer you even more choice.”

New UK marketing director for Jäegermeister

Drinks brand Mast-Jäegermeister UK has appointed Christian Stindt as marketing director. Stint joined the brand in 2009 and has worked in a number of regions and positions since, including managing marketing in Spain and Italy.

“The UK is one of the most important markets for Jäegermeister,” says Stindt. “It is a market where trends are born, often influencing the rest of the spirits industry. As the on-trade begins to reopen we are excited to continue to create innovative campaigns such as the #savethenight, our Perfekt Serve programme and the much awaited relaunch of Jäegermeister Cold Brew Coffee.

Mast-Jaegermeister UK managing director Michael Cleary says: “I believe that Christian will bring a new perspective and outlook to our brand strategy here in the UK while at the same time quickly fit in with our UK team.”

Thursday, 22 April

Vans snap up Dollar Shave Club chief marketer

Vans has appointed Kristin Harrer as global CMO to lead the company’s marketing teams and drive the brand’s purpose strategy.

Harrer will report directly to global brand president Doug Palladini. She will be responsible for setting Vans’ vision, strategy and driving global planning, creative development and execution for marketing across retail, brand and digital. Her objective is to drive deep consumer connection, generate brand appeal and demand.

Harrer joins from Unilever-owned grooming brand Dollar Shave Club where she was CMO. Prior to that, she was senior director and head of mobile brand marketing for Samsung Electronics, amassing over 20 years of marketing experience.

Palladini says Harrer is an “outstanding leader” with a “proven track record” at other global brands. She will spearhead the brand’s digital transformation to connect the brand’s global consumer base with “authentic consumer touchpoints”.

Commenting on her appointment, Harrer says the role of the CMO is to “set a north-star vision” for a brand’s future.

“The Vans brand has a deep history of being authentically engrained in local creative communities across the world. The dedication, thoughtfulness and creativity I am seeing from the Vans family worldwide has been truly inspiring and I look forward to helping to harness that energy as we continue to grow the Vans brand globally,” Harrer says.

Huawei wins court battle against Chanel over logo

An EU court has ruled Huawei did not infringe on Chanel’s iconic logo with its trademark, which the fashion house argues is too similar.

The EU General Court in Luxembourg ruled the logos “share some similarities but their visual differences are significant”. It states Chanel’s logo had rounded curves and thicker lines.

Huawei sought to trademark a logo for its computer hardware in 2017.

In 2019, the EU Intellectual Property Office dismissed Chanel’s objection, stating there was no similarity and it was not likely consumers will confuse the two logos.

The tribunal of judges says: “The figurative marks at issue are not similar. The marks must be compared as applied for and registered, without altering their orientation.”

It adds: “In particular, Chanel’s marks have more rounded curves, thicker lines and a horizontal orientation, whereas the orientation of the Huawei mark is vertical. Consequently, the General Court concludes that the marks are different.”

READ MORE: Chanel loses EU court battle over Huawei logo

KP Nuts launches first TV ad in three years

KP Snacks has invested £2.5m to revitalise its core flagship brand KP in a fresh multimedia campaign to appeal to younger consumers.

Created with agency St Luke’s, the ‘K-Pow!’ campaign includes two 30-second ads showing animated characters in everyday settings where KP Nuts can stimulate as an exciting snack to “provide the taste upgrade they desperately need”.

The ads will run on TV and video-on-demand across ITV, Channel 4 and Sky channels. They will be supported by a mix of OOH and DOOH executions and social media. The campaign will run until December.

KP Snacks marketing controller Ilan Arkin says: “Taste is king when it comes to snacking, so our challenge was to bring taste to the forefront and convince more consumers to eat more nuts on more occasions. We needed to set KP apart as the ultimate snacking choice throughout the day by driving greater awareness of our bold flavour range.”

WFA bestows former boss with honorary title

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has named David Wheldon as president emeritus for his services to the organisation, making him the third person to be bestowed with the honorary title.

Wheldon presided over the WFA between 2015 and 2019 and is considered to have made a transformational impact on the 68-year-old organisation.

During his tenure, there was a significant increase in corporate membership, which now includes 130 global brands and 55 national associations in 60 countries.

He also drove the organisation’s visibility by leading the WFA to call on advertisers to hold platforms accountable for their role as ultimate funders of the online ecosystem.

Wheldon led shake-ups of industry practices and launched the WFA’s flagship initiative the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

Other former president emeriti include former Mars executive, Malcolm Earnshaw CBE, who presided over the organisation between 1994 and 1998 and former Procter & Gamble executive, Hans Merkle between 1998 and 2000.

WFA CEO Stephan Loerke says: “The way in which David most marked WFA was in his conviction and courage to stand up for what is right. His legacy at WFA will be that it always remains an organisation that stands for better marketing, built on the critical values of honesty, integrity and putting people first.”

Commenting on his honorary title, Wheldon says: “This is a very special honour from such a wonderful organisation. I have always felt a valued member of a fantastic team on a winning mission. I’m delighted to still be on the team and watch the WFA go from strength to strength.”

Spotify unveils summer campaign

Spotify is launching an integrated marketing campaign that will focus on cultural and social connections listeners create through audio on the Spotify platform.

The campaign will be showcased in the UK and Ireland and is part of Spotify’s main brand positioning of ‘Listening is Everything,’ which first launched in September 2020.

Creative assets for the campaign are inspired by playlists listeners have been streaming in the run-up to summer. There will be creative taglines such as ‘Fire up the BBQ playlist. Drop Bangers’ and ‘Bring Ibiza to the staycation’. Spotify aims to grab consumers’ attention and provide inspiration for summer activities with the campaign.

It will include nationwide coverage across OOH, display, social and online video.

Spotify UK and Ireland head of consumer marketing, Olga Puzanova, says consumers have been anticipating summer through what they’ve been listening to on Spotify.

“We really wanted to tap into this user behaviour for our summer marketing campaign. Listening is everything – and as we now start to return to the activities we love, Spotify is ready to be the soundtrack to the good times,” adds Puzanova.

Wednesday, 21 April

European Super League

All English clubs exit European Super League as sponsor walks

All six English clubs have quit the European Super League (ESL), just days after the competition was announced, amid fierce condemnation and fan fury.

Chelsea, which saw 1,000 fans protesting outside its stadium ahead of its Premier League clash with Brighton last night, was the first club to pull out as news broke. According to Sky Sports, it feared any negative reaction to the creation of the ESL would overshadow the “good work the club does in the community”.

In a statement, Chelsea added: “Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, our supporters or the wider football community.”

The other team to cut ties with the ESL early last night was Manchester City, which confirmed it had “formally enacted the procedures” to withdraw from ESL.

At the same time as Chelsea and Manchester City were withdrawing their support for the league, Liverpool’s official global wristwatch and timing partner, Tribus, announced that as a family of lifelong fans based in the city the brand could not support the ESL.

Tribus added: “Our values are at the forefront of everything we do therefore we will be withdrawing from this partnership. Football belongs to the fans and unites us all; it was never intended to benefit the few.”

Liverpool, which earlier that day had seen club captain Jordan Henderson release a statement saying the squad had adopted a “collective position” to oppose the ESL, pulled out by 11pm. The club acknowledged receiving “representations from various key stakeholders” internally and externally in opposition to the creation of the new league. This morning Liverpool owner John W Henry issued a personal video apology to the fans, players and manager Jürgen Klopp.

The statement from Arsenal was far more contrite. The club said it had no intention to cause “such distress” but had not wanted to be left behind when the invitation to join the ESL emerged. Arsenal’s board said it wanted to restore faith in the project, adding: “As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”

At the same time Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy announced his club’s departure from the ESL, saying that the board regretted the “anxiety and upset” caused by the proposal. The rationale for joining was, according to Levy, to participate in the development of a possible new structure that sought to “better ensure financial fair play”.

Manchester United announced it had left the ESL by saying it had “listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders”, although the club added that it remained committed to devising “sustainable solutions” to secure the future of the game.

Reports are that fellow founding members AC Milan and Inter Milan are also considering exiting the ESL, which would leave just Juventus and Spanish trio Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Barcelona.

Despite being left with potentially only four members, the ESL is standing firm. In a statement the league said that despite the departure of the English clubs, which it claimed were forced to take such decisions “due to the pressure on them”, the ESL will take the appropriate steps to “reshape the project”.

Released on Sunday, the original plan was that 12 clubs, six from England (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham), three from Spain (Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid) and three from Italy (Juventus, Inter and AC Milan) would break away to form the ESL.

The idea floated was to have 20 participating clubs, including 15 founding teams and a qualifying mechanism for a further five clubs to join based on their “achievements” in the previous season. Crucially, the 15 founding teams would not be able to be relegated.

READ MORE: European Super League collapsing as all six English clubs withdraw

Netflix subscriber growth falters after Covid boom

NetflixNetflix has experienced a slowdown in subscriber growth during the first three months of 2021, after a record 2020 fuelled by Covid-19 induced global lockdowns.

Approximately 3.98 million people signed up for the streaming service between January and March, missing the estimated target of 6 million. The expectation now is to add 1 million new customers during the second quarter, short of the 5 million previously forecast.

The company blamed pandemic-related production delays for hitting the release of new shows, although it anticipates a strong second half with the return of new seasons of some of its biggest hits and an “exciting film line-up”.

Netflix also noted uncertainty in the short term surrounding Covid-19, although it described the shift towards streaming replacing linear TV globally as a “clear trend in entertainment”.

Last year the streaming service added 15.8 million new subscribers, including 9.3 million new customers in Asia alone – an increase of 65% on 2019.

The competition is, however, hotting up from rivals like Disney+, which surpassed the 100 million subscriber mark in just a year and a half. Netflix, by comparison, has 207.6 million paid subscribers.

Reflecting on the competition during an investor call, Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Wilmot Reed Hastings described the past 10 years of the service as a pattern of “growing smooth as silk and then just a little wobbly right now”.

He added: “And of course, we’re wondering, ‘Well, wait a second, are we sure it’s not competition?’ Because obviously, there’s a lot of new competition. And we really looked through all the data, looking at different regions where new competitors are launched, are not launched.

“And we just can’t see any difference in our relative growth in those regions, which is what gives us confidence that it’s intensely competitive, but it always has been.”

Hastings concluded that given Netflix has been competing with Amazon Prime for 13 years and Hulu for 14 years, as well as linear TV globally, there is “no real change” in the environment as it has always been highly competitive. No mention was made of Disney+.

READ MORE: Netflix: Shares plunge as subscribers switch off

Amazon branches out into hair salons

Amazon is set to open its first hair salon, described by the ecommerce giant as a “unique venue” intended to bring together the best in haircare, styling and technology.

Set over two floors and more than 1,500sq ft in London’s Spitalfields, the Amazon Salon will trial the latest tech, from augmented reality hair consultations to point-and-learn technology. Customers will be able to experiment with virtual hair colours using AR, will have access to entertainment on Fire tablets at each styling station and will be able to capture their new look in a dedicated “creative area”.

The salon will also test new point-and-learn technology, whereby customers can simply point at the product they are interested in on a display shelf and the relevant information, including brand videos and educational content, will appear on a display screen. To order the products, customers can scan the relevant QR code on the shelf to visit the product detail page on Amazon.co.uk and purchase, with delivery direct to their home.

The salon is being pitched as an “experiential venue” to showcase new products and tech, with no current plans to open any other Amazon Salon locations.

“We have designed this salon for customers to come and experience some of the best technology, hair care products and stylists in the industry,” says Amazon UK country manager, John Boumphrey. “We want this unique venue to bring us one step closer to customers and it will be a place where we can collaborate with the industry and test new technologies.”

The Amazon Salon will initially be open to Amazon employees only, before it starts taking bookings from the general public in the coming weeks.

Apple rolls out paid podcasts as it ramps up payment offering

Apple podcast Apple has unveiled a premium podcast subscription service, pitched as a “powerful new platform” enabling creators to monetise their content.

Starting in May, listeners in more than 170 countries and regions will be able to sign up for premium subscriptions that feature ad-free listening, access to additional content and early or exclusive access to new series.

The pricing for each subscription will be set by the creator and then billed monthly or annually. Through the Family Sharing functionality, up to six family members can share a subscription.

It will cost creators £17.99 a year to enrol in the Apple Podcasters Programme, which includes the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions. Apple already offers more than 2 million free podcasts.

The company is also ramping up its focus on payments with the launch next month in the US of Apple Card Family, which allows two people to co-own an Apple Card and share credit, building a credit history together. Parents can also share the Apple credit card with children over 13, with access to parental controls.

Designed for iPhone and built into the Apple Wallet app, the Apple Card has no credit card number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card. The company claims the Apple Card is “more secure” than any other physical credit card.

“We designed Apple Card Family because we saw an opportunity to reinvent how spouses, partners and the people you trust most share credit cards and build credit together,” says vice-president of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey.

“There’s been a lack of transparency and consumer understanding in the way credit scores are calculated when there are two users of the same credit card, since the primary account holder receives the benefit of building a strong credit history while the other does not. Apple Card Family lets people build their credit history together equally.”

Digital spend grows 5% fuelled by video and social

The UK digital ad market grew 5% in 2020 to reach £16.5bn, fuelled in large part by growing spend on video and social media.

This growth was propelled forward by a strong second half to the year, after spend fell in the first six months of 2020, according to IAB UK’s Digital Adspend report, carried out with PwC. During the first quarter of 2020 investment in digital ads grew by 10%, before dropping sharply by 20% during the second quarter. Spending then bounced back by 10% in the third quarter, growing by 18% in the fourth quarter.

The first year the Digital Adspend report has included digital audio and podcasting data, the research finds the digital audio market grew by 17% year on year to £103.7m, including podcast spend which rocketed by 43%.

The report also reveals that display is the fastest-growing digital ad format – up 11% in 2020 – fuelled by video and social spend, which both increased by 19%. Spend on search rose by 7% year on year to account for 51% of all digital ad spend, coinciding with the explosion of the ecommerce market. Spend on smartphone ads grew by a further 10%.

“It’s brilliant news that the digital ad market has rallied and is back in growth – buoyed by spending in areas such as video and social – but it’s important to recognise that this growth won’t be felt by all areas of the digital ad industry and that recovery is still underway,” says IAB UK CEO, Jon Mew.

“Today’s results are very encouraging and show that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Tuesday, 20 April

Facebook to launch Clubhouse rival

Facebook is set to launch a series of audio features, including Live Audio Rooms, its answer to Clubhouse.

It will start trialling Live Audio Rooms in Groups, and hopes to make it available to everyone by the summer, when it also plans to launch it on Messenger.

In addition to creators and communities, Facebook will allow celebrities to host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans, such as American football quarterback Russell Wilson, Grammy-nominated electronic music artist Tokimonsta and Olympic medallist and entrepreneur Nastia Liukin.

To monetise the feature, fans will be able to support creators through Stars, or donate to causes they care about. Facebook also plans to offer a subscription service soon after launch, and the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase.

In addition to Live Audio Rooms, Facebook is launching a host of other audio features across its platforms, including an audio creation tool called Soundbites and the ability to listen to podcasts within the Facebook app.

“Audio seamlessly fits within our busy lives, allows us to be inspired by new ideas, and talk with other like-minded people without pressure,” says Fidji Simo, head of Facebook App.

“At Facebook, we’ve seen the continuing rise of audio on our platforms, from audio calls to audio messages on WhatsApp and Messenger. We’re working to make audio messages easier to record, and more fun – including the ability for people to send familiar sound clips to their friends that range from sound effects like crickets chirping to quotes from popular songs. But we know there are more social experiences to create to help people say what they want to say, discover new voices they haven’t heard before, or exchange ideas at the speed of sound.”

Amstel partners with Nadal to promote ‘moderation’

Amstel has signed up tennis star Rafael Nadal to promote its premium Amstel Ultra and alcohol free Amstel 0.0 ranges as it looks to expand into new markets globally.

The three-year deal is Nadal’s first partnership with a beer brand and he will be used to promote the importance of moderation and responsible consumption in global marketing activity.

The Heineken-owned brand says it wants to help consumers “find a beer that fits their balanced lifestyles” and believes the sportsman is the perfect way to do this.

The move also fits into Heineken’s wider Brewing a Better World initiative through which it wants to communicate its zero alcohol offer.

Malgorzata Lubelska, senior director global international brands at Heineken, says: “Rafael is known not only for his incredible achievements on the tennis court, but also for living an active and well-balanced lifestyle. This makes him the perfect partner for our growing range of Amstel lifestyle products…

“We will continue to develop the Amstel Ultra brand, as this category continues to grow, helping to reinforce the important message of moderation and responsible consumption through choice.”

GARM to track brand safety performance across digital platforms

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) has launched its first report analysing the brand safety performance of digital platforms and setting a benchmark for progress.

The initial document includes self-reported data from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snap, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Streaming platform Twitch, which joined GARM in March, will be included in the next report later this year.

Of the 3.3 billion pieces of content removed across the platforms over the report’s nine-month period, over 80% were either spam, adult and explicit content, or hate speech. According to GARM, progress has already been made by YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in tackling the problem.

ISBA director general Phil Smith says the trade body is “delighted” by the publication of the report.

He adds: “Its common framework will allow advertisers to better assess the progress made by platforms in ensuring they provide safe environments for users and for advertisers. ISBA is proud to be an active member of GARM’s Steering Group, as we strive to create a trusted and accountable advertising environment.”

GARM is a cross-industry initiative founded and led by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

Homeworkers did nearly twice as much overtime

Remote workingPeople working from home during the pandemic did around six hours of unpaid overtime each week on average, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, nearly double the amount of unpaid overtime done by those who never worked from home.

In 2020, people working from home did an average of 32.3 hours per week compared to the 27.7 hours done by people working away from home, the ONS finds in its latest analysis of Britain’s home working situation.

Employees working from home also took fewer sick days in 2020, the equivalent to two days per worker compared to 4.3 for people who never worked from home.

In more positive news, the ONS says while there had been a “wage penalty” on people working from home prior to the pandemic, who were paid 6.8% less on average than those who never worked from home, this gap has been decreasing as home working becomes more widely accepted.

READ MORE: Homeworkers did nearly twice as much unpaid overtime as those who never worked from home, says ONS

Delivery drone trials given green light by UK regulator

Delivery drones have been given the go-ahead for UK trials by aviation regulator, which if successful could open up a host of opportunities for brands.

Drones are currently banned from flying beyond their pilot’s line of sight, but the Civil Aviation Authority has authorised drone company Sees.ai to begin operating regular flights to test the safety of such flights. It means the pilot flying the drone could be hundreds of miles away from the aircraft.

The trial will take place across three sites in the UK – well away from the public and other aircraft – and if successful could open up the technology to the wider industry.

READ MORE: UK regulator gives green light to delivery drone trials

Monday, 19 April

Zoopla’s ‘Backtracking’ ad features revamped branding

The latest Zoopla campaign, centred around a 60-second ad, highlights the online property brand’s recently launched My Home functionality, designed to help consumers through the whole house-buying process.

Created by Lucky Generals, the integrated campaign will feature across television, OOH, video-on-demand and other channels and will be the first to include Zoopla’s refreshed branding and logo, introduced last week.

The ad, called ‘Backtracking’, focuses on My Home, powered by Zoopla’s data to offer tools, insight and market knowledge for those both looking to sell and buy property.

The film features people telling the camera how much they love their current homes, only to quickly backtrack when they realise how much money they could get for them.

“We’re now much more than a portal where you come to buy or rent a home, we’re an ecosystem of complementary products and services that power the housing market for home-movers and agents alike,” explains Zoopla CMO Gary Bramall.

“My Home is the perfect example of this, giving people the tools they need to sell their home. We bring head and heart together on the journey to own and sell a home which is why we wanted to put My Home at the centre of this new campaign.

Leon bought by Asda-owning billionaire brothers

Fast food chain Leon has been bought by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the brothers who own the supermarket brand Asda.

Leon, which was founded in 2004 and has more than 70 restaurants across the UK and Europe, was purchased in a deal reportedly worth £100m by the brothers’ EG Group, which has committed to keeping on the chain’s management team and staff.

It also plans to open a further 20 Leon outlets annually from next year.

The group currently operates more than 700 food outlets in the UK and Ireland, including KFC, Starbucks and Greggs service station drive-throughs.

The Issa brothers describe Leon as a “fantastic brand we have long admired”.

READ MORE: Leon: Billionaire Issa brothers buy fast food chain

Walkers starts a crisp sandwich debate

British snack brand Walkers’ ‘#crispIN or #crispOUT’ campaign challenges consumers to voice their opinions on their lunchtime sandwich habits and, in particular, their views on the crisp sandwich.

Created by VCCP, the campaign kicks off with a 40-second film showing different reactions to the idea of the snack sandwich, covering everything from pride, excitement and delight to confusion and disgust.

A husband having lunch out at a restaurant refuses to bow to pressure from his wife when he brazenly puts crisps in his sandwich, while a businesswoman looks rather sheepish during a meeting when Walkers crisps come tumbling out of her working lunch.

To tie-in with the campaign, Walkers has introduced a new flavour, Flamin’ Hot. And, running until 25 May, a collaboration with Subway will give customers the option of adding Walkers ready salted crisps as a topping on any of their subs, wraps or salads.

“Having conducted the biggest research into crisp sandwiches, this campaign has been inspired by our consumers and their habitual behaviours,” says Walkers senior marketing director Fernando Kahane.

“Tapping into the lunchtime sandwich market, we wanted to finally join in with the quirky, and sometimes controversial, national debate around the crisp sandwich.”

Hotter Shoes celebrates women’s ‘third act’

Hotter ShoesFootwear brand Hotter Shoes has launched a campaign targeted at women in their 40s and 50s, entering “the third act of their lives”.

Far from being a time when women think of winding down, recent research has shown that, for many, mid-life is for finding new paths and re-energising. Barclays, for example, recently reported a 67% rise in women 50 and over opening business bank accounts.

A majority of women of the same age demographic feel overlooked and misrepresented by brands, with 69% believing the fashion industry ignores them, while 82% say that clothes crated for their age range are too old fashioned.

The ‘Hello Comfort, Hello You’ campaign, created by Pablo, follows last year’s ‘Her Her’, which boasted an ROI of 5.72, centres around two hero films, ‘Quitting’ and ‘Dull Steve’. The brand shows women in their 50s refusing to compromise, whether that’s on careers or relationships.

Olympic chief to visit Japan amid growing Covid concerns

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is due to visit Japan next month and is expected to approve of the country’s safety measures ahead of the Games’ scheduled July start.

With Japan struggling to cope with a surge in Covid cases and growing pressure from both within the country and overseas to cancel the games for a second time, Bach will attend a torch relay ceremony and meet with prime minister Yoshihide Suga.

Meanwhile, following talks with Joe Biden, Suga reportedly rang Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to request extra vaccine doses for the country, with shipments expected to increase from next month.

READ MORE: Tokyo 2021: Olympic chief to visit Japan to approve safety amid Covid cases surge

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