Tesco, Victoria’s Secret, Ryanair: 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.


Tesco to cut ties with brands using ‘excessive’ plastic

Tesco says it will ban brands that use excessive plastic packaging as part of the second phase of its ‘Remove, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ plan.

The supermarket will remove 4,000 tones of hard-to-recycle materials from its own products by the end of the year and is keen for the brands it lists to do the same. It therefore says it reserves the right not to sell products if they use an “excessive or inappropriate” amount of plastic packaging.

“From next year, we will assess packaging as part of our ranging decisions, and if it’s excessive or inappropriate, we reserve the right not to list it,” says Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.

READ MORE: Tesco to ban brands that use excessive plastic packaging

Victoria’s Secret preps marketing overhaul

Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands is considering a complete overhaul of marketing as it looks to drive “meaningful change” after same-store sales fell again last quarter.

The lingerie chain says it is looking at taking a fresh approach across everything from messaging and photography to social media and in-store ads.

Following the resignation of CMO Ed Razek last month, Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas will become more involved in marketing, according to chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer.

“Is there an opportunity to make meaningful change in our marketing message and approach for the fourth quarter? The answer is yes,” Burgdoerfer said on L Brands’ quarterly earnings call following a 6% slump in same-store sales.

“You’ve read that we’ve had changes in senior leadership in marketing, and I expect that there will be meaningful and hopefully thoughtful change in our marketing approach as we move through [autumn] and into 2020.”

Details of the overhauled marketing strategy will be shared at its investor day on 10 September.

READ MORE: Victoria’s Secret considers a change in marketing with everything on the table

Ryanair ranked worst for customer service

ryanairRyanair has been branded “greedy” and “arrogant”, putting it last place in an annual by survey Which? rating the customer service at 100 popular UK brands.

The airline received a customer satisfaction score of just 45%, seeing it come in at the bottom of the pile for the sixth consecutive year.

Scottish Power, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media join Ryanair at the bottom of the table, which is based on the views of 4,000 people who were asked to rate how companies make them feel, how helpful and knowledgeable staff are, and how they handle complaints.

At the other end of the spectrum, First Direct tops the leader board, followed by kitchenware store Lakeland, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Waterstones.

READ MORE: Ryanair rated ‘greedy and arrogant’ by customers

Hasbro buys Peppa Pig owner for $4bn

Toy maker Hasbro has acquired Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One for $4bn (£3.3bn) as it looks to expand in entertainment and “family-orientated storytelling”.

The US toy giant says it wants to use the media company’s “immersive entertainment capabilities” to enhance the appeal of its portfolio of brands to gamers, fans and families.

Hasbro already owns a range of titles including the My Little Pony and Transformers franchises, as well as Monopoly and Play-Doh.

READ MORE: Hasbro to buy Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One for $4bn

Auto Trader unveils car vending machine stunt

Auto Trader has created a fixed-price car vending machine to showcase its “pre-haggled prices” and transparent offering.

Customers can buy a brand-new Renault Zoe from the machine in London’s Spitalfields Market, which allows purchases via a custom-made point-of-sale system and integrated payment and door release mechanic.

The vehicle has a recommended retail price of £22,470, but comes with a price of £16,000 that has already been agreed with the dealer Lookers Motor Group, meaning drivers don’t need to worry about trying to get the best price themselves.

The campaign was created by creative agency Taylor Herring.

Thursday, 22 August

Facebook Calibra

EU plans probe into Facebook cryptocurrency

EU officials are planning an investigation into Facebook’s forthcoming cryptocurrency Libra amid concerns it could monopolise the payments market.

In a document seen by Bloomberg, the European Commission says it is “investigating potential anti-competitive behaviour” around the Libra cryptocurrency, in particular whether it could exclude rivals from the market. EU regulators are said to have sent out questionnaires to groups involved in the project with a view to gathering more information.

Officials are also examining how Libra will be integrated into Facebook-owned messaging services WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Expected to launch in the first six months of next year, Libra will allow users to buy products, pay bills and borrow money. To date the cryptocurrency has been backed by 27 companies and organisations including Uber, Spotify, Mastercard, eBay and Vodafone.

Facebook plans to release a wallet app to buy and sell Libra, called Calibra, which will allow users to make payments across WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The social network giant has stressed that Calibra will be kept separate from Facebook and its data will not be used for advertising purposes.

READ MORE: EU regulators probe Facebook’s Libra coin amid competition fears

Waitrose continues to tackle plastics with ‘Fine to Flush’ wet wipes

Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to achieve the new ‘Fine to Flush’ certification for its own label wet wipes as it continues to roll out plans to cut the amount of plastic in its stores.

The retailer’s fragrance-free and lightly fragranced moist toilet tissue refills are plastic-free. The packs of both products will soon feature the ‘Fine to Flush’ logo, a new standard introduced in January by water industry body Water UK.

It means the products have passed the necessary tests to prove they break down quickly and easily in the sewer system. The certification supports Waitrose’s broader Taking Action on Plastics plan, which sets out how the retailer aims to eliminate unnecessary plastic and packaging.

Waitrose also recently announced it was extending its ‘Unpacked’ test, where it has taken more than 200 products out of their packaging to test if customers might be prepared to shop differently.

The retailer has pledged to introduce elements of the concept into three more shops by the end of the year after seeing a positive response from customers. Waitrose has also said that all of its own-brand packaging will either be widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

“Wet wipes have become increasingly commonplace in UK households so it’s an issue we have to tackle and have been working on with our suppliers for some time,” says Tor Harris, head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners.

“We know we still have more work to do, but this is a big step forward and gives us a platform to build on for the rest of our range.”

Bombay Sapphire dials up the creativity with $20m campaign

Gin brand Bombay Sapphire has gone live with a $20m (£16.5m) global campaign positioned as a “call to arms for creative self-expression”.

Directed by creative collective ManvsMachine, the 30-second campaign film features three artists working on their creative process in a maze of mirrors and shifting scenes. As well as running on digital and social, the campaign film will roll-out to cinema and video-on-demand throughout August.

Designed to support Bombay Saphhire’s overarching Stir Creativity platform, the campaign features digital and static out-of-home visuals that play with mirrors and apertures to create depth.

Bombay Sapphire has also commissioned a partnership between Global Street Art (GSA) and streetwear site Hypebeast to produce four murals across London, Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh that will feature the gin bottle at their heart.

In addition, experiential events will take place across 20 locations globally including Paris, Moscow and Berlin. There are also be activities planned for the Frieze Art Fair in London (3-6 October), of which Bombay Sapphire is a global sponsor.

“For the new campaign, we’ve put creativity at its heart by partnering with real-life creators to tell their own stories of creative awakening in a visually striking film,” says Victoria Morris, global vice president of Bombay Sapphire.

“There were no actors involved in its making. From day one, the brand has always done things differently, working with artists, architects and designers.”

South Western Railway unveils first integrated brand campaign

South Western Railway wants to encourage families to take an adventure on the train with its first integrated brand campaign.

Developed by Engine, the campaign is shot in a playful storybook style as it follows one family’s adventure from London to the New Forest to Bournemouth where they pick up new friends along the way, including a sea lion, Queen Elizabeth and a mummy. The campaign is designed to showcase the range of days out that can be had across the 200 destinations on the South Western network.

Going live today, the 40-second TV spot will be supported by out-of-home, paid social, influencer activity and a partnership with Global. The campaign is intended to support investment across the wider network currently being implemented by South Western Railway, including more seats, greater capacity and free WiFi.

“South Western Railway is excited to be launching our first ever brand campaign,” explains Paul Bright, head of sales and marketing at South Western Railway.

“The campaign showcases some of the great experiences that are available on the South Western Railway network and reminds us that the very best experience is a great day out with the family.”

Brands get behind drive to help people living with dementia

A host of brands including Britvic, Diageo and Mars are working with the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) on a new resource to help people living with dementia.

The likes of Hovis, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Lego, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Vauxhall are all allowing their archive advertising to be reproduced for Ad-Memoire, a digital reminiscence and activity resource aimed at older people’s care organisations.

Available on Apple and Android devices, Ad-Memoire features 1950s and 1960s TV commercials and print ads from the HAT archives. The idea is to engage care home residents, carers and family members in conversations about memories inspired by the content.

The app is broken down into three sections – Ads of the Month, Brand Bingo and Themed Activity Reels.

The Ads of the Month section features vintage TV commercials accompanied by on-screen conversation prompts. These reels are supported by hardcopy resources in the form of advertising and brand history quizzes and activities.

The Brand Bingo game features reels of 1950s and 1960s advertising images instead of numbers, while the Themed Activity Reels section shows themed selections of vintage TV commercials, with activity and conversation suggestions devised by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA).

Research suggests that participating in meaningful social activities enhances brain health, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and even lowers the risk of dementia, explains NAPA director Jennifer Dudley.

She adds: “Ad-Memoire is a programme of monthly themed advertising reels from the past aimed at people receiving care to enjoy reminiscence, discussion and extension activities. It is a privilege to have been able to add conversation topics and suggestions for extending the topics, which will undoubtedly add additional fun and engagement to activity sessions.”

Wednesday, 21 August


Facebook introduces tool to let users stop businesses sharing data

Facebook has introduced a tool that lets users stop apps and businesses sharing their data with the social network in its latest move to improve privacy.

The ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ feature allows users to see which apps and businesses are sending collected data to Facebook, allowing the user to disconnect this information from their account using a new ‘clear history’ button.

Facebook says ‘clear history’ is meant to mimic the act of a user clearing their browser cache, which removes the cookies used to track people across the web.

The Off-Facebook Activity setting will let consumers see exactly what data various apps or sites share. Facebook will still collect the data but it will be anonymised .

The tool, which can be found in the ‘Your Facebook Information’ section of Facebook’s settings, is being released today in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain, with Facebook promising a global roll-out over the coming months.

READ MORE: Facebook to stop stalking you off-site – but only if asked

Lidl’s market share hits a record high

Lidl’s market share has reached a record high as its sales growth beat the big four supermarkets.

The latest grocery market share figures, published by Kantar, show year-on-year supermarket sales were flat during the 12 weeks to 11 August. The four biggest supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – all saw a dip in sales that cut their market share during the period.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, says: “The memory of last year still looms large for retailers and this summer’s comparatively poor weather, combined with low levels of like-for-like price rises, have made growth hard to find for retailers.”

Lidl’s sales increased by 7.7% to give it a record market share of 5.9% over the past 12 weeks. Meanwhile, sales at Aldi increased by 6.2%, supported by sales of bakery products, up 11%, and biscuits, up 13%.

McKevitt says: “Lidl’s raft of new store openings has helped it attract 489,000 additional shoppers this period. Its campaign to encourage people to do their main weekly shop at Lidl is making an impact and the average basket spend is now nearly £19, 3% higher than last year, though still significantly lower than the £22.65 average spend at the big four. While best known for its own-label products, branded lines at Lidl grew by 19% this period and now account for 13% of the discounter’s sales with a strong presence for alcohol, toiletries, household products and soft drinks.”

Morrisons recorded the biggest fall in sales, down 2.7%, followed by Tesco, down 1.6% and Asda, down 1.5%.

Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, accounted for 15.4% of supermarket sales this period and showed a smaller dip of 0.6%, driven by higher levels of promotion which helped boost sales of branded goods.

McKevitt adds: “It wasn’t all bad news for Asda and Tesco this period. Asda’s online growth of 11% was notably strong while Tesco continues to find success with its cheapest own-label lines. In fact, total sales of Tesco’s value tier were £29 million higher than this time last year.”

Asos asks suppliers for 3% discount

Asos has asked its suppliers for a 3% discount on the clothes and accessories it buys from them, as it looks to cut costs after recent profit warnings.

The online retailer has written to its suppliers to ask them to accept 3% less on the price of their clothes and accessories from 1 September.

In the letter, which was first reported by trade magazine Drapers, Asos said it needed a discount to account for “significant investments over the last few years” which it argued “lay the foundations for future growth”.

It also said: “We have set our sights on becoming one of the few companies with truly global scale in the market and we are confident that we will achieve this.

“Our future growth aspirations not only benefit us but also benefit you, our valued partner. We hope you will understand this necessary change and on behalf of Asos we would like to thank you for your continued support.”

Asos’s share price collapsed last month after its second profit downgrade in seven months. The retailer blamed IT problems at its overseas warehouses.

READ MORE: Asos demands suppliers cut their cloth

Birds Eye aims to get the UK eating more veg in new £6m campaign

Birds Eye is launching a £6m campaign that it hopes will encourage consumers to eat more healthily.

The ‘Eat In Full Colour’ campaign focuses on getting people to eat more frozen vegetables. It features a range of animated vegetables singing about the importance of eating a colourful plate of food.

Steve Challouma, marketing director at Birds Eye, says: “Eat In Full Colour is our biggest frozen vegetable campaign to-date and forms part of our ongoing mission, as the branded leader in frozen vegetables, to not only grow the category, but double the consumption of vegetables in the UK.”

The multi-million pound campaign, created by Grey London, heroes two key products: Birds Eye’s steam-fresh vegetables and garden peas, and will span TV, outdoor and digital.

According to the brand, the current average vegetable consumption in the UK is 1.6 portions per day, well under the recommended five portions.

Challouma adds: “To address this, we’re now looking to continue building the presence of vegetables on TV and across other channels through the increased advertising spend on vegetables with our brand new Eat In Full Colour campaign.”

The campaign is not the first time Birds Eye has used advertising to encourage the nation to eat more vegetables. Earlier this year, the frozen food giant was one of the brands to join forces with ITV to create ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ – a campaign focused on encouraging kids to eat more vegetables.

Toy company Hasbro promises to end plastic packaging

Hasbro, the largest toy maker in the world, has pledged that all its packaging for new products will be mostly plastic-free by the end of 2022.

Hasbro, which makes iconic board games such as Monopoly, is also pledging to stop using plastic bags, elastic bands and wrapping that’s usually found around Monopoly, Scrabble and other board games.

However, its current toys, which include Mr Potato Head, will still be made with plastic. The company said it is testing materials to replace it, but admitted it is finding it challenging to find an alternative that is still safe for kids and keeps toys looking the same.

Hasbro does offer a programme that allows consumers to ship toys such as GI Joes or My Little Pony figurines to be recycled.

READ MORE: Hasbro gives plastic packaging the boot

Tuesday, 20 August

Channel 4 unveils campaign mocking real viewer complaints

Channel 4 is addressing real viewer complaints through a light-hearted campaign that intends to celebrate the diversity of its on-screen stars.

‘Complaints Welcome’ features a host of actors and presenters including Bake Off’s Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith, Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow, The Derry Girls and five-time gold Paralympic medallist Ellie Simmonds.

All of the on-screen talent share criticisms about themselves or the programmes they feature on, based on real complaints viewers have made to Channel 4.

For instance, before kissing his husband, gay Hollyoaks actor Kieron Richardson reads out the complaint: “I’m not homophobic but do we have to have gay kissing at dinner time?”

Grayson Perry appears as his female alter-ego Claire reading out the complaint made against him which suggested: “It wouldn’t be so bad if he tried to make himself look like a normal woman.” And Paralympic swimming superstar Ellie Simmonds reiterates an objection put to Channel 4 about Paralympians: “They’re not real athletes”.

Channel 4’s director of programmes, Ian Katz, says this campaign is “challenging the way our viewers think about the world. When there isn’t someone complaining about one of our shows we should be worried.”

Kia and Sky Media enlist kids to help boost electric car credentials

Kia and Sky Media have teamed up for a new campaign designed to raise awareness of the automotive company’s electric car credentials.

Children have been made the star of the television spot, which sees the youngsters explore the benefits of electric cars in a three-minute film where the ask the questions adults might be hesitant to.

The campaign aims to develop awareness among families and grow engagement.

Jane Fenn, head of brand communications at Kia, says: “Sky Media will be the perfect partner for our brand, being able to amplify our wide range of electric and alternative fuelled models across such a broad scale of media will ensure that our electric credentials are seen by a wide range of consumers that are a sure fit within our target demographic.”

The campaign also includes a branded ‘Sky One Presents’ introduction ahead of spot advertising on the channel. It will be supported by digital display, video on demand and social media.

Twitter introduces six-second video bidding

Twitter will only charge advertisers for video ads once they’ve been viewed by a user for more than six-seconds, as part of a new buying model that will be rolled out globally.

AdAge reports that the new method means advertisers can set a goal of getting viewers to watch their ads for at least six seconds. If a viewer scrolls away from the promoted video before the six seconds is complete, the advertiser doesn’t pay.

The new way of viewing ads costs more but video ads will also need to be at least 50% in view on a user’s phone.

Advertisers can also create six-second ads on Twitter, meaning this is the social media platform’s first ad offering that charges only for completed views.

The six-second rule will apply to videos up to 15-seconds long but if they’re longer than 15-seconds, brands need to rely on a lower viewability standard.

The bid unit is available for promoted video, in-stream video sponsorships, and in-stream video ads.

READ MORE: Twitter’s six-second rule means advertisers can pay for completed ads

Greene King franchise to be sold for £4.6bn

Pub giant and brewer Greene King has been sold to Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing in a multi-billion dollar deal.

Ka-Shing has agreed to buy the Suffolk-based business for £2.7bn, which is the equivalent of £1m for every one of its 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels. But the takeover is worth £4.6bn including the debt that CKA Group, the business vehicle being used for the takeover, will be taking on.

The 91-year-old already owns both Superdrug and Three.

The acquisition marks the second time this year that a British brewer has been bought by an Asian buyer. Earlier this year, Fuller’s was sold to Japanese drinks company Asahi for £250m.

Sales of the company’s flagship beer, Greene King IPA, have continued to grow in China since its president Xi Jinping was snapped drinking a pint of the beer with then prime minister David Cameron during a state visit in 2015, the Guardian reports.

George Magnus, who chairs CKA, says: “CKA’s strategy is to look for businesses with stable and resilient characteristics and strong cash flow generating capabilities.

“The UK pub and brewing sector shares these characteristics and we believe that this sector will continue to be an important part of British culture in the long run.”

However, Nik Antona, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, labelled the sale, “very concerning for our beer scene” and said he hopes Greene King can “continue its operations as normal without any disappointing changes”.

READ MORE: Greene King to be sold to Hong Kong’s richest family for £2.7bn

ITV reveals sponsors of its Rugby World Cup

Land Rover and Confused.com will sponsor ITV’s Rugby World Cup coverage next month.

ITV says the two brands will share equal sponsorship around its broadcast of the tournament in Japan, where the network will provide live coverage of every single match through the six-week event on ITV, ITV4 and ITV Hub.

Anthony Bradbury, marketing director for Jaguar Land Rover UK, says: “Land Rover has strong heritage in supporting rugby and we are proud to be a global partner in 2019.

“Our approach to sponsorship doesn’t just focus on the elite world-stage, but we also place much emphasis on grassroots Rugby; the smaller, local and regional clubs. This will be a major focus of Land Rover’s campaign together with ITV this autumn.”

Kelly Williams, managing director at ITV echoes Bradbury’s comments, suggesting the broadcaster is eager to create an “innovative sponsorship” around the tournament.

Monday, 19 August


Sainsbury’s kicks off search for new CEO

Sainsbury’s has reportedly begun a search for a replacement for CEO Mike Coupe as it looks to put its failed merger with Asda behind it.

A report in The Telegraph claims the wheels have been “set in motion” internally for a succession plan. Internal candidates are thought to include Argos boss John Rogers, retail and operations director Simon Roberts, and Paul Mills-Hicks, the food commercial director.

Coupe took over the CEO role in 2014 following the departure of Justin King. He has already made some big moves, including buying Argos. But his attempts to merge Sainsbury’s with Asda were thwarted by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Sainsbury’s, however, says Coupe has the full support of shareholders and the board, saying any talks are simply part of a “responsible businesses succession plans”.

“Every responsible business has potential succession plans for its CEO. This is nothing new,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson tells Reuters.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s kicks off search for Mike Coupe’s replacement

Broadcasters in talks over showing more ads on TV

Public service broadcasters including Channel 4 and ITV are in talks with the government over showing more ads on mainstream channels as they look to generate more revenue amid growing rivalry from online competitors.

The talks with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are discussing proposals to lift the cap of seven minutes of advertising per hour. Currently Ofcom rules allow public service broadcasters to air an average of seven minutes every hour, rising to eight minutes during prime-time TV. Other commercial channels can broadcast an average of nine minutes.

However, there is a need to balance increased revenue potential with the views of consumers, with opinion surveys showing viewers are already unhappy with the level of advertising on TV.

Both Channel 4 and ITV are looking to turn around ad sales performance as advertisers increasingly spend with Facebook and Google. In its most recent quarter, ITV saw a slide in ad revenue while at Channel 4 it was flat. Analysts estimate TV ad revenues were down 3.3% in the first half of this year to £2.4bn.

READ MORE: Give us a break . . . TV viewers face more ads

Amazon tests ‘top brand’ label for fashion sellers

Amazon is testing a ‘top brand’ label for products from companies including Under Armor, New Balance and Speedo in a move that could improve relations between the online retailer and big-name brands.

The label is basing the designation of the label on brands that are popular with customers, and companies cannot pay for it. Amazon already labels products ‘best sellers’ or ‘Amazon’s choice’, which take into account factors including availability, customer reviews and pricing and which can help to boost sales.

In a blog post, Marketplace Pulse CEO Juozas Kaciukenas said the label could act like verification badges on Instagram and Twitter, helping customers tell the difference between big brands and own-label, as well as helping identify counterfeits.

READ MORE: Amazon tests ‘top brand’ label

Airbnb sees 30% growth as it prepares to go public

Airbnb saw booking value increase by 31% in the first quarter to $9.4bn, a key measure as the company prepares to go public.

According to Reuters, 91 million nights were book on its platform in the quarter, leading to the uptick in booking value (which measures transaction dollars on the platform). Revenue in 2018 was also up 40% year on year, while it has around $3.5bn in cash.

Airbnb is thought to be readying an IPO for the first half of 2020. However, it will need to show a concrete plan for profitability after public listings from companies including Uber and Lyft fared poorly after launch.

READ MORE: Airbnb records 30% growth rate in first-quarter on booking strength: source

Three launches 5G home broadband

Three is launching a 5G home broadband service in parts of London as it looks to tempt customers away from wired broadband.

The mobile operator is promising “fibre-like speeds” without needing a technician to visit. It will cost £35 a month on a one-year contract, with Three sending the equipment for free via next day delivery (or £20) for same day.

Three also plans to launch its 5G mobile service in 25 UK cities by the end of 2019. It doesn’t plan to charge extra, unlike some rivals such as Vodafone.

READ MORE: Three UK rolls out 5G home internet access in London