ITV, Gillette, Guinness: 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.

GILLETTE ITV

ITV and Gillette challenge viewers to improve their grooming routines

Broadcaster ITV and grooming brand Gillette have teamed up to produce a campaign giving viewers styling tips and encouraging them to adopt a new look.

‘Up Your Game Face’ features a series of three 60-second ads broadcasting from 22 October and starring soap opera stars Ryan and Adam Thomas. The two brothers will be given a restyling by Gillette’s master barber, using three of the brand’s product ranges.

“Gillette has been at the forefront of shaving for over 115 years,” explains Gillette UK senior brand manager, Ciara McEvoy. “So, with many men experimenting with at-home grooming for the first time this year, we wanted to lean on our history and heritage to help men navigate their grooming rituals with comfort and ease.”

ITV’s creative partnerships and content director Claire Heys adds: “It’s great to be working alongside Gillette, and of course ITV favourites the Thomas brothers, for this special partnership. Up Your Face Game is all about offering our viewers creativity and cutting-edge style tips courtesy of Gillette’s
expert team, through a series of three fresh and eye-catching ads.”

Guinness launches an alcohol-free beer

GUINNESS 0.0Irish drinks brand Guinness has announced the launch of Guinness 0.0, an alcohol-free variant of the celebrated beer.

The drink uses exactly the same ingredients of water, barley, hops and yeast before removing the alcohol through a cold filtration method that avoids thermal stress to the beer, protecting its taste and character. In taste tests by an independent panel, they found that Guinness 0.0 ‘exceeded expectations’ with its taste lauded as ‘outstanding’.

“This is an exceptional day for Guinness, as we finally reveal Guinness 0.0,” says Guinness global brand director, Gráinne Wafer. “We know people want to be able to enjoy a Guinness when they choose not to drink alcohol without compromising on taste, and with Guinness 0.0 we believe they will be able to do exactly that.”

Animation brings Children in Need appeal to life

Children in NeedManchester-based animation agency Flow Creative has produced a short film to promote the BBC’s forthcoming Children in Need fundraising event.
The two-minute film will be shown in the run-up to this year’s appeal show, taking place later on next month.

Flow worked with children’s author and illustrator Tom Percival to create the short, storyboarding and visualising his original story, as well as animating his artwork.

“We’re really excited to have Flow on board for this project,” says BBC Creative creative director Tim Jones. “Having worked with them before, their playful animation portfolio felt perfect for the narrative, and we’re all delighted to see how they’ve brought Tom’s illustrative style to life.”

ONS report says one third of UK hospitality firms at serious risk

A report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) claims that more than a third of British hospitality companies are close to going bust as the sector faces renewed pressures with recent social distancing regulations and local lockdowns.

The research found that 17% of food and accommodation businesses reported a “severe” risk of insolvency, while a further 21% said the risk was “moderate” and 29% of manufacturers reported at least a moderate risk of insolvency.

The ONS also reported that the number of adults who travelled to work in the week to 18 October fell by five points to 60%.

READ MORE: Swathe of UK hospitality firms see risk of insolvency: ONS

Thursday, 22 October

Unilever

Unilever sales return to growth as demand rises

Unilever’s underlying sales increased 4.4% in the third quarter, buoyed by homecare sales as demand for cleaning and hygiene brands increased amid the pandemic.

Of that growth, 3.9% came from an increase in volume sales and 0.5% from price. However, turnover was down by 2.4% to €12.9bn amid currency headwinds and Unilever is warning the outlook remains “unpredictable”.

CEO Alan Jope says: “We have delivered a strong performance this quarter. Volume-led growth shows the resilience of our portfolio and our agility in responding to rapidly changing dynamics across consumer segments, geographies and channels.

“The environment we are operating in will remain unpredictable in the near term, so we will continue to maintain the speed and agility of our response. Our focus remains volume-led competitive growth, delivering absolute profit and free cash flow.”

Unilever’s beauty and personal care business grew by 3.8%, boosted by innovations in its Dove business and expansion of Lifebuoy. Homecare was up 6.7%, while food and refreshment grew by 3.7%.

Pernod Ricard calls on brands to stop spread of hate speech online

Pernod Ricard is calling on brands to calculate their ‘hate footprint’ as part of an industry-wide initiative aimed at curbing hate speech online.

The ‘Engage Responsibly’ programme aims to empower consumers to report hate speech, and make it easier to do so. It also asks brands to earn an ‘anti-hate certificate’ by calculating their hate footprint and investing in NGOs that fight or support communities most impacted by hate speech.

It will initially launch in the US on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, before expanding to other social platforms and markets.

“Human social connections are critical to our planet’s sustainability and future. In a world where we must remain physically distant, the need for social proximity has never been greater,” says Pernod Ricard USA CEO Ann Mukherjee.

“Social media was made for this moment. But corners of our social spaces are becoming toxic and unsafe, driven by the few who pollute them with hate. As advertisers, we cannot choose to take advantage of the best aspects of these social spaces while turning a blind eye to the negative, as if it is only the platform’s responsibility – or that of our industry associations – to address a problem that impacts us all.”

Elsewhere, Pernod Ricard reported a decline in organic sales of 6% year on year in its first quarter, as sales in pubs and restaurants and in travel retail remain disrupted. The company does not expect to return to sales growth until the second half of the year.

Waitrose joins the supermarket price war

Waitrose is cutting the price of more than 200 of its best selling own-label products by an average of more than 15%, becoming the latest supermarket to join the price war amid ongoing uncertainty over the pandemic and its impact on the economy and consumers.

Price cuts will apply across items including meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, and cleaning products. Around half the prices reduced will be in its value range ‘Essential Waitrose’, where sales have increased by almost 10% over the past nine months.

To promote the reductions, Waitrose will be running a marketing campaign in its shops and on its website Waitrose.com.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey says: “This year has been incredibly challenging for consumers and we know times are tough for many, so we’re reducing prices to provide our customers with great value on the items they buy most.

“Despite offering lower prices – we’re maintaining the quality, high welfare and ethical sourcing that we’re renowned for, so shoppers can spend less without compromising on what they value.”

Ad regulator proposes crackdown on gambling advertising

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is proposing a crackdown on gambling advertising in the UK that could see a ban on the use of sports personalities and other celebrities.

Under the current rules, an ad is only likely to be banned if it is likely to appeal more to someone aged under-18 than an adult. The new rules would see an ad banned if it appeals to children even if it also appeals to adults.

Football personalities including former England player Michael Owen and former England manager Harry Redknapp have previously appeared in gambling ads. CAP says it expects the new rules would have a significant impact on adverts that use some celebrities, although not those starring a celebrity like Ray Winstone who is not thought to appeal to a younger audience.

The move comes after research from GambleAware found that the content of gambling ads that currently abide by the advertising code can appeal more to those aged under 18 than previously thought. However, CAP has ruled out a complete ban on gambling advertising, saying the available evidence did not justify such a move.

There are also no further plans to limit where gambling ads can appear. Currently, they must not air in any media where more than 25% of the audience is under 18 years old.

Airbnb enlists former Apple designer Jony Ive to help revamp its offering

Airbnb is bringing former Apple designer Jony Ive on board to help the company conceive and design new offerings in the coming years.

Airbnb calls the tie-up with Ive’s design firm LoveFrom a “special collaboration” in correspondence seen by the Financial Times. The work will involve building out the company’s internal design team, as well as helping  to revamp its apps and website and redesign its ratings-based system.

Ive is best known for the two decades he worked at Apple, leading the design team responsible for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and MacBook Air. He left in 2019 to found LoveFrom, which Apple now works with.

READ MORE: Airbnb brings in Jony Ive to oversee redesign (£)

Wednesday, 21 October

P&G

P&G and Reckitt Benckiser sales jump

Procter & Gamble has reported its biggest global sales increase in 15 years as consumers spend more to keep their homes and themselves clean during the Covid-19.

Organic sales jumped 9% year on year for the three months to the end of September, with the biggest sales rise in its fabric and homecare division. In contrast to earlier quarters, organic sales rose at each of P&G’s five main divisions, including grooming where sales were up 6%.

P&G finance chief Jon Moeller says: “Large portions of peoples’ budgets are not being spent on travel, leisure and hospitality, which leaves them more money in the budget.”

Reckitt Benckiser is also enjoying its sharpest quarterly sales growth on record, driven by its hygiene unit.

RB’s CEO Laxman Narasimhan says he thinks renewed interest in hygiene will outlast the pandemic: “Consumers are adopting better hygiene practices,” he said in a call with journalists. Reckitt saw booming demand for its cleaning products and Durex condoms.

READ MORE: P&G lifts forecast as cleaning boom continues (£)

UK consumers look to advertisers to lift festive spirits

UK consumers are looking to advertisers to provide festive cheer this Christmas, according to research by video advertising companies Unruly and Tremor Video.

The study, carried out this month, looked at British consumers’ attitudes, emotions and buying behaviours ahead of Christmas.

Almost half of those surveyed want this year’s Christmas ads to make them feel happy (47%) and warm (44%), while almost a third (31%) wanted to feel nostalgic. A quarter said they wanted to feel inspired and 17% wanted to be amused.

Only 15% of the 833 UK consumers surveyed wanted this year’s ads to make them feel informed, in stark contrast to when Unruly ran a similar study at the start of the pandemic in April, when the figure was 42%. Only a third thought this year’s festive ads should reference Covid-19.

Unruly’s global vice-president of insights, Rebecca Waring, says: “Our study shows that most UK consumers don’t want to be reminded of the grim realities of this Covid-ravaged year and are looking for this year’s crop of festive ads to bring them a bit of Christmas cheer. Advertisers need to bring back some festive joy and put the happy into Happy Christmas.”

Unruly’s group managing director, international, adds: “Online shopping and TV consumption are on the rise this Christmas, and as these channels are increasingly embraced due to continued stay-at-home restrictions, advertisers should seize this opportunity to deliver highly-targeted, personalised ads across all screens, particularly CTV and mobile.”

Netflix subscriber growth stalls as lockdown eases

Netflix did not meet its own estimates for subscriber growth as lockdowns ease and competition rises.

Netflix brought in 2.2 million more paying subscribers in the three months to September, fewer than its forecast of 2.5 million and Wall Street’s estimate of 3.4 million.

Netflix reported a blockbuster quarter at the start of lockdown, adding 15.8 million subscribers from January through March but warned investors that a sudden surge in new sign-ups would fade in the latter half of the year as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

Netflix acknowledged that competition was increasing with the launch of Disney+ in particular.

“Competition for consumers’ time and engagement remains vibrant,” Netflix said in a letter to shareholders.

READ MORE: Netflix’s crown slips as growth falls short (£)

Royal Mail launches collect service

Royal Mail will start collecting parcels and mail from people’s homes as it tries to grab a bigger share of the parcel market.

The company is trying to capitalise on a rise in online shopping, which has been accelerated by Covid-19. Royal Mail describes this as “one of the biggest changes to the daily delivery since the launch of the post box in 1852”.

Its ‘Parcel Collect’ service, which has been trialled in parts of the west of England, will be available every day except Sunday. It will cost an additional 72p parcel, on top of normal postage costs. Pre-paid return packages can be collected for 60p per item.

The firm is under pressure to find new revenue streams after seeing the number of letters it delivers halve over the past 16 years due to the popularity of email.

During that time its parcel deliveries have increased greatly, and it now hopes to tap into the booming returns market, as online shoppers seek to change items bought online.

READ MORE: Postal workers to collect from the doorstep as Royal Mail shakes up service

ITV2 and NHS Blood and Transplant relaunch The Blood Squad

ITV2 and NHS Blood and Transplant are joining forces to encourage young blood donors.

A series of ads featuring ITV2 stars Joel Dommett, Emily Atack, Maya Jama and Lady Leshurr will debut across ITV2 and social media this week.

In its second year The Blood Squad, produced by ITV Creative, urges viewers to ‘Save Lives, grab a biscuit’, in a nod to the complimentary snacks donors are provided with.

While the Blood Squad is encouraging everyone to register to give blood, specific appeals are being made for black donors and donors who have recovered from Covid-19. Currently just 1.5% of donors are black but there is increasing demand for blood types common in black people.

ITV’s director of social purpose, Clare Phillips, says: “ITV has the ability to shape culture for good. We’ve demonstrated that the network can get more people opening up about mental health with our Britain Get Talking campaign and the ITV2 Blood Squad campaign is another great example of how TV can change behaviour and make a real impact.

“We are hoping that this Black History Month, ITV2 can help make history by getting more black donors signed up to donate blood and also help in the national response to treat those suffering with Covid 19.”

As a result of last year’s campaign on ITV2, 50,000 people (many of them 16- to 34-year-old) have registered as blood donors.

Tuesday, 20 October 

asda

Asda rolls out ‘green’ price promise

Asda is launching a price strategy aimed at encouraging consumers to buy products without packaging as it prepares to open its first sustainability trial store.

The ‘Greener at Asda Price’ promise will ensure that loose and unwrapped fruit and vegetables will not cost more than their wrapped equivalents at any of it stores.

The supermarket is also opening a new sustainability trial store in Leeds. It will feature 15 large refill stations where shoppers can fill up their own containers with a range of more than 30 household products, including Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips teabags and Quaker Oats, The Guardian reports.

The store will sell flowers and plants unwrapped or with paper wrapping, as well as 53 fresh produce lines sold loose and unwrapped. Through this combination of initiatives, Asda estimates it could save 1 million pieces of plastic every year.

Shoppers will also be able to recycle items such as biscuit packets and toothpaste tubes, which are often difficult to recycle via standard facilities. Furthermore, in the ‘community zone’ there will be a three-month trial of a Salvation Army ‘drop and shop’ outlet where customers can donate unwanted products.

The success of the trial store, which had been set to open in May, will be monitored in real-time from Asda’s head office, with customer feedback being used to determine how the model is rolled out to other stores.

“Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, reuse and recycle,” says Asda’s chief executive, Roger Burnley.

“We have always known that we couldn’t go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with more than 20 of our partners and suppliers who have answered the call to test innovative sustainable solutions with us.”

READ MORE: Asda launches ‘greener price’ promise and sustainability store

O2 and Mastercard reaffirm their commitment to sports sponsorship

O2 has extended its sponsorship of England Rugby in a five-year deal that will see the partnership reach the 30-year mark.

The telecoms giant will retain its position as principal shirt sponsor for the England senior men’s and England senior women’s teams, pledging to equally fund the men’s and women’s game over the course of the partnership.

The deal provides O2 customers the opportunity to access ‘Priority Tickets’ for all England Rugby games 48 hours before general release. They will all be offered exclusive player meet and greets, a 20% matchday discount on England Rugby kit at the Twickenham Stadium store and the chance to go on summer tour with the team.

O2 Inside Line will continue as the exclusive England Rugby behind the scenes content series running across live streams, video and podcasts, this time with an equal commitment to the women’s and men’s teams. The brand is also teaming up with the RFU to support the country’s grassroots clubs and plans to make Twickenham more connected using 5G.

“There has never been a more important time to get behind rugby, a sport we love and have invested in for over 25 years,” says O2 CMO, Nina Bibby.

“We are proud to support the RFU through our extended partnership, which we believe is the longest shirt sponsorship in the history of UK sport. Our new agreement brings investment parity from O2 to England Men and England Women. The future for English rugby is bright, and together we want to make sure that rugby emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever before.”

Elsewhere, Mastercard is renewing its partnership with the UEFA Champions League for the 2021-2024 cycle, a relationship that began in 1994. The agreement includes sponsorship rights for the UEFA Super Cup from 2021 to 2023.

“We are very proud to renew our long-standing sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League,” says Mastercard Europe president, Mark Barnett. “Key sporting events are a great way for us to directly connect fans across the world to their passion. As we enjoy our 27th year as an official sponsor, we are excited to witness new priceless moments in the UEFA Champions League for years to come.”

LinkedIn rolls out Stories function

LinkedIn is rolling out a new function enabling members and company pages to publish photos and videos up to 20 seconds long using the networking site’s mobile app.

Available for just 24 hours, the Stories posts are designed to offer brands a more “casual and immediate way” to engage and share daily news, insight and highlights. Members and brands will be able to include text and customised work stickers in their posts.

LinkedIn says the new tool is a response to the increasingly visual and mobile-first social media landscape, as well as the popularity of video – the fastest growing type of content on the platform.

In keeping with the content appearing via Instagram Stories or on TikTok, LinkedIn is advising brands not to take “a slick or over-produced” approach to the posts.

“At a time when many of us are physically distanced from one another, it’s more important than ever for brands to stay connected to their audiences,” says head of marketing solutions UK, Ireland and Israel, Tom Pepper.

“LinkedIn Stories offers an authentic and visual way for them to do so – and has already proven popular with members and brands alike in the countries that already have access, including the US, India and Brazil.”

Fox’s kicks off premium brand relaunch

Biscuit brand Fox’s is rolling out a brand relaunch across its premium portfolio to attract customers in the run-up to Christmas.

The new Fox’s Fabulous identity, the company’s first major packaging refresh since 2014, will appear on its Cookies, Viennese, Chocolatey and seasonal biscuit collections. The business describes the relaunch as a “major strategic move” to reinforce its image as a “trusted, high quality, premium” brand and bring a more consistent look to its ranges.

Central to the redesign is an evolved master brand logo highlighting Fox’s 167-year history, which features more prominently on pack. The Fox’s Cookies range will be sold in a new portrait packaging format to greater protect the cookies, while the Viennese portfolio of Dipped Fingers and Buttery Swirls will feature a ‘new melt in the mouth recipe’ messaging prominently on pack.

In addition, Fox’s is rolling out a multi-million pound TV advertising campaign featuring the Fox’s Fabulous Chocolatey portfolio to bring the redesign to life. The ‘How Fabulous How Fox’s’ 30-second TV advert will run until December, with the aim of reaching 42 million UK adults across all channels.

Marketing director Muriel Breugelmans says that while Fox’s has 97% brand awareness and 83% of consumers describe it as the most indulgent brand in the category, there was an opportunity to “improve the consistency” of the branding across the ranges.

“With this new look and feel we’ve really tried to capture a sense of luxury and indulgence, which reflects the premium nature of our Fox’s Fabulous range and will stand out on shelf,” Breugelmans adds. “Our own research shows a likely increase in purchase intent of 9%, which is incredibly exciting and a great message for our retailer partners.”

Barclays gifts ad space to charities as part of £100m Covid-19 response

Barclays Barclays is gifting ad space on the London Underground to Age UK, Family Action, Macmillan and Refuge in a bid to raise awareness of their vital work.

The bank has teamed up with creative agency M&C Saatchi on the four-week takeover of Westminster tube station, which will see ads supporting the four charities displayed in ticket halls and corridors until 16 November. The ad space, which had originally been bought for a different campaign, will be used to drive donations and raise awareness of the charities.

The key visual – a charity volunteer shown with a CGI cape made from objects that they work with – is designed to represent the heroic effort of charity workers and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to support those worst-affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

The campaign will see more charities receive gifted media from Barclays on a national scale, across press and outdoor channels. The charities have also been supported by donations from the bank’s £100m Covid-19 community aid package, which since April has supported more than 100 charities working to help vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic.

Monday, 19 October 

KitKat

KitKat plays with famous slogan to celebrate 85th anniversary

Chocolate snack KitKat is returning to its famous ‘Have a break, have a KitKat’ campaign as part of its 85th birthday celebrations.

Agency Wunderman Thompson is overseeing the global campaign, which will include a social media ‘#ABreakForHaveABreak’ competition giving people the chance to come up with soundalike lines.

Jeremy Bullmore, who joined J. Walter Thompson London in 1954 as a trainee copywriter, three years before the KitKat line was coined in 1957, will help the brand pick the best temporary soundalike slogan, with a luxury hotel stay for two presented to the winner.

River Island teams up with mental health charity Mind

High street retailer River Island has launched a ‘Comfort Layer’ campaign, aimed at raising funds and awareness for the mental health charity Mind.

As part of the campaign, River Island is donating £2 directly to Mind for every adult coat it sells. In the two weeks since the launch date, the retailer has raised more than £68,000 for the charity, which provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems.

As well as raising funds, the campaign also hopes to help destigmatise mental health by creating welcoming forums for personal stories to be shared, dispelling stigmas and revealing the individual beneath everyone’s Comfort Layer. The campaign has a strong story-telling element, exploring the link between fashion and feelings.

Two short films telling real-life stories have been accompanied by open conversations on River Island’s social channels, including an Instagram Live discussion with six mental health influencers.

“At River Island we believe that before you can feel great on the outside, you need to address the inside,” says the retailer’s CEO Will Kernan. “Mental health is something we take seriously and so we are delighted to be supporting Mind for the second time this year with our outerwear campaign, Comfort Layer.”

NatWest and ITV competition to reward small businesses

NatWest and ITV have together launched a competition, with three of the UK’s brightest small businesses in line to win their own TV advert worth £150,000, produced by the Pablo advertising agency with guaranteed, tailored airtime on ITV and through NatWest’s owned channels.

The campaign began this past weekend, with the first in the series of four adverts featuring Cornwall-based Buttermilk, which specialises in confectionary, with an inclusive and sustainable purpose.

“Small business owners around the UK have been through an unbelievably difficult year, and have fought hard to continue supporting their customers through the challenges that the pandemic has brought all of us, so we want to give three extraordinary businesses the opportunity to share their message and build their brand through a professionally filmed and produced ad, as well as tailored airtime,” says NatWest Group CMO Margaret Jobling.

Channel 4, Nationwide, Co-op and Network Rail highlight staff abuse

A ‘#TogetherAgainstHate’ campaign has been launched, with broadcaster Channel 4, the Nationwide Building Society, retailer the Co-op and Network Rail joining together to highlight the growing problem of customer-facing staff experiencing abuse from the public in their daily working lives.

Staff working in the UK face more than 400 abuse incidents every day, with 43% of shop workers saying that they have been threatened with physical violence and one in five mentioning the use of a knife. Meanwhile, 70% of frontline rail staff have experienced workplace violence in the last year.

Channel 4 and Nationwide Building Society have joined forces with Co-op and Network Rail to highlight the abuse and violence carried out against customer-facing staff in the UK in a primetime Channel 4 ad-break takeover.

The #TogetherAgainstHate campaign features recordings and CCTV footage of both verbal and physical abuse experienced by each companies’ employees and delivers the message that violence and threatening behaviour is never acceptable.

“Partnering with the #TogetherAgainstHate campaign is an opportunity for Channel 4 to do what we do best – using the power of TV to encourage debate and inspire positive societal change,” says the broadcaster’s sales director Matt Salmon.

“Customer-facing staff up and down the country are vital in helping us all, day-in, day-out and abuse of any kind should never be tolerated.”

Green & Black launches ‘Wildly. Deliciously. Organic.’ campaign

Green&BlackChocolate brand Green & Black’s is highlighting its organic credentials with its ‘Wildly. Deliciously. Organic.’ campaign that will be presented via outdoor, social and digital work.

In the first campaign from VCCP since winning the account, the work draws attention to Green & Black’s organic ingredients coming together: Madagascan vanilla, whole almonds organically grown and sustainably-sourced cacao.

VCCP worked with artist Quentin Jones and photographer Nadège Mériau to give the work an editorial finish.

“We are very excited to launch our new campaign for Green & Black’s, taking us back to our founding principles,” says Green & Black’s marketing activation director David Clements.

“This is flavour like never captured before. Everything is as visceral as we can show it with vivid colours, dramatic shadows and textures we can almost taste.”

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