Oatly, Arsenal, Christmas ads: 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.

Oatly oat milk

Oatly loses trademark battle against UK oat milk brand

Oatly has lost its legal battle against PureOaty in the UK, after a judge ruled there was no evidence of trademark infringement.

The Swedish oat milk brand claimed PureOaty’s brand name and packaging were similar to Oatly’s and would confuse consumers. It also accused the owner of PureOaty – Cambridgeshire-based Glebe Farm Foods – of “passing off” the product as Oatly.

A court has dismissed these claims, though, describing the visual similarities as “very modest”. The judge also pointed out there was no evidence of confusion among consumers.

Philip Rayner, Glebe Farm’s owner and managing director, says: “It is enormously gratifying that the judge has ruled in our favour, and to see that smaller independent companies can fight back and win. We can now forge ahead with PureOaty and our oat milk enterprise.”

Glebe Farm, which rebranded the product as PureOaty in 2020, had net assets of less than £5m for the year to March 2020. Oatly, which listed on the New York stock exchange with a market capitalisation of $10bn, had been looking to stop sales of PureOaty plus damages and costs.

Oatly says it accepts the court’s decision and won’t be appealing.

READ MORE: Oatly loses UK trademark dispute against family farm

Young people urged to get double jabbed with ‘Don’t Miss Out’ ad

Under-30s are being urged to get both doses of the Covid jab or risk missing out on fun in an ad campaign launched by the government today.

The ‘Don’t Miss Out’ and ‘Get Your Shot’ campaign will run across social channels and radio to help boost vaccine take-up among young adults.

It is part of a wider drive being supported by clubs and DJs to get more people aged 18 to 29 to get vaccinated.

The nightlife industry, including doctor and DJ Bodalia and clubs such as Ministry of Sound and Heaven, will be sharing vaccine messaging online and at their venues. This is because from September people will be required to have two doses of a Covid vaccine in order to enter nightclubs and other large-scale events.

Currently, 67% of people aged 18 to 29 have had their first jab but the new campaign is designed to encourage young adults to get both doses soon.

To help facilitate this, the government will be opening up more ‘grab a jab’ pop-up vaccine sites across the country, including one at Heaven this Sunday (8 August).

Lohan Presencer, executive chairman of Ministry of Sound says: “It’s incredible to welcome people back on to our dance floor after so long. We’ll provide the music and the good times, people just need to get both their vaccines so we can all keep dancing together safely.”

Arsenal launches rewards scheme to get people back to the stadium

Arsenal is looking to step up fan engagement with the launch of a loyalty scheme, as it tries to entice members back to Emirates Stadium.

Through My Arsenal Rewards, paying members can earn points for attending matches, purchasing tickets and shopping at Arsenal Direct, official club stores and partners, which can be redeemed for rewards, prizes and experiences.

If season ticket holders are unable to attend the match, they will still accrue points if they sell their seat via the club’s official exchange and transfer channels.

As well as a rewards card, the My Arsenal Rewards membership card will act as an electronic matchday ticket and a payment card powered by Barclays for UK-based adult members. This can be used for all online and offline transactions, as well as anywhere that accepts Visa.

The club has signed up brands including Adidas, Cadbury and Socios to provide additional rewards, as well as other high street names, including Boots, Sainsbury’s, Halfords and Go Ape.

Peter Silverstone, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer, says: “We’re proud to be blazing a trail by taking fan engagement to a new level with the launch of My Arsenal Rewards. This is a first of its kind programme which offers our members meaningful rewards and money-can’t-buy experiences for their engagement and interaction with the club they love.”

Retail recovery stutters as footfall plateaus

shoppingImprovement in UK footfall has stalled, with little change recorded for the past three months following the initial boost seen when restrictions began to ease.

Total UK footfall decreased by 28% in July compared to the same month two years ago, according to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor. Total footfall is down 0.4% percentage points on June.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 38.4%, the biggest drop for July, while high street retail fell by 34.6% compared to 2019 and footfall in retail parks dropped by 15% over the same period. However, compared to last month, retail parks saw the biggest decline, down 6.9 percentage points. This compares to a 1.2 percentage point drop in high street footfall and a 2.6 percentage point drop in shopping centres.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of British Retail Consortium, says: “The turbulent weather, with initial heatwaves giving over to torrential rain, appears to have dampened the mood for shopping in July, with a particularly pronounced fall in footfall at retail parks.

“However, the last week of July offered a glimmer of hope for retailers as the easing of restrictions lead to the best weekly performance of 2021. Retailers hope this trend will continue as the rise of vaccinations and falling coronavirus case numbers boosts consumer confidence.”

Consumers want to see Christmas cheer return to ads this year

Consumers are ready for the return of festive cheer in advertising this Christmas, after a relatively subdued offering in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

More than a third (36%) of people want to see a festive tone in ads this year, followed by a quarter of people (24%) who would like ads to be upbeat or optimistic. A fifth (21%) want ads to be funny, while 17% want Christmas ads in 2021 to be nostalgic. Just 5% of people feel they should be focused on Covid, according to the study by the IPA and carried out by Opinium.

After missing out last year, 52% of UK adults plan make the most of it this year, with 51% hoping to eat out, go shopping and visit attractions this Christmas, rising to 72% among 18- to 24-year-olds. Just under half (45%) of UK adults also plan to see more of friends and family than they normally would.

Meanwhile, the study also shows online grocery delivery services are likely to be more popular among men (26%) than women (15%), with Londoners (35%) and those aged 18 to 34 (39%) most likely to use this kind of service.

Thursday, 5 August

sports direct

Mike Ashley confirms decision to step down as Frasers Group CEO

Mike Ashley has confirmed he will step down as CEO of the Frasers Group, handing the reins to current head of elevation Michael Murray on 1 May 2022. Should Murray assume the CEO role, Ashley intends to remain on the company’s board as an executive director.

The Frasers Group, which spans several retail brands including House of Fraser, Sports Direct, Evans Cycles and Flannels, credits its elevation strategy for “transforming the business”, calling out the £10m revamp of the Sports Direct Oxford Street store as an example of positive consumer feedback.

However, this morning the company also announced group revenue fell 8.4% to £3.6bn in the year to 25 April 2021. Hit by Covid-enforced store closures, the organisation’s UK sports retail revenue decreased by 10.7% to £2bn, which was offset by growth online and pent-up demand following the reopening of stores.

Revenue driven by the group’s premium lifestyle brands increased by 1.9% to £735.6m, powered by the growth of online and new store openings. Beyond the UK the business continued to suffer from Covid-19 lockdowns, with European retail revenue down 11.8% to £615.2m and rest of the world revenue falling 12.3% to £152.7m.

The group generated a pre-tax profit of £8.5m, down from a profit of £143.5m during the previous 12-month period.

Despite being hit by Covid restrictions, the company says it is continuing to invest in its “physical and digital elevation strategy”, while its omnichannel offering is “growing in strength”. The Frasers Group claims its UK stores have reopened “above expectations” and ecommerce is “significantly” outperforming the period pre-Covid.

Over the past year the group increased its investments in fashion label Hugo Boss, in which it now holds a 16.4% stake, and Mulberry, holding a 36.8% stake in the British luxury brand, as well as acquiring the DW Sports and Fitness business for £37m.

On the Flannels premium lifestyle brand in particular, the Frasers Group says the brand is going from “strength to strength” and it expects to reach £2bn in gross turnover by the end of the 2026 financial year, with a sales split of 60% from physical stores and 40% from online channels.

The company believes its ‘Elevation No Limits strategy’ is working and it will continue to invest across its retail portfolio and in improving its digital capability, including on its platforms and through hiring digital talent.

TV and streaming consumption surges in 2020 as SVoD viewership doubles

Covid-19 restrictions brought about a surge in TV and streaming consumption, rising by 47 minutes to 5 hours 40 minutes per person per day in 2020, according to the latest Ofcom statistics.

The Media Nations Report found viewership of subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video almost doubled in 2020, to an estimated 1 hour 5 minutes per person per day.

SVoD services were used by 60% of all UK households in the third quarter of 2020, up from 49% a year earlier, while more than 50% of UK households were subscribed to Netflix in 2020. Ofcom identifies the Covid-19 lockdown, coinciding with the launch of Disney+ in March 2020, as providing an additional boost to SVoD services.

YouTube remained the most popular user-generated online video service, with people spending an estimated 41 minutes per day viewing YouTube videos in 2020. This preference for YouTube appears to be growing, with the total number of videos viewed on the platform by UK adults up 22% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to 2020.

Ofcom says UK consumers have “diversified their viewing” with new types of services such as TikTok, which reached 31% of UK adult internet users as of March 2021.

The statistics suggest TV ad revenue will rebound in 2021, although Ofcom recognises TV broadcasters are having to adapt to stay competitive. The organisation confirms that commercial TV revenues contracted during the pandemic, declining 6.4% to £10.2bn in 2020, although the continued growth of online video has somewhat offset these losses.

Ofcom highlights the fact commercial TV broadcasters have invested in new technologies and initiatives to drive advertising growth from their broadcaster video-on-demand (BVoD) services and make better use of data, including via improved cross-media measurement, programmatic ad tech and addressable advertising.

Uber targets Covid bounce back as revenue more than doubles

Uber EatsUber revenues surged by 105% to $3.93bn (£2.82bn) in the second quarter, more than double levels seen the same time last year as the ride hailing giant looks to bounce back from the pandemic.

The mobility side of the business notched up revenue of $1.62bn (£1.16bn) in the second quarter to 30 June, up 106% year on year. On the delivery side, propelled by higher volumes and basket sizes revenue reached $1.96bn (£1.4bn), up 122% compared to the same period in 2020. Uber says despite the easing of restrictions globally, the delivery business continues to demonstrate “strong consumer metrics”.

Revenue growth on both the mobility and delivery side combined to result in Uber’s best quarterly report since the onset of Covid.

The company provided 1.51 billion rides during the quarter, with monthly active users growing 84% year on year to 101 million. This figure was, however, approximately 10% down on the same period in 2019 pre-pandemic.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says Uber has spent the second quarter “investing in drivers”, as the company looks to incentivise people to join the platform. Only last week the brand announced it would offer drivers free language courses through the Uber app via a partnership with Rosetta Stone.

The company also splashed out in February on acquiring alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1bn (£790m).

Uber is now confident it will reach profitability, as measured via EBITDA, by the fourth quarter of 2021. This a big shift for the business, which made a loss $509m (£366m) during the second quarter.

However, Khosrowshahi says Uber is investing in its recovery by investing in drivers, a strategy that has seen the brand increase its monthly active drivers and couriers in the US alone by 420,000 from February to July.

“Our platform is getting stronger each quarter, with consumers who engage with both mobility and delivery now generating nearly half of our total company gross bookings,” he adds.

READ MORE: Uber more than doubles revenues to nearly $4bn after a dismal pandemic year

TikTok trials Snapchat-style disappearing Stories feature

TikTokTikTok is trialling a new vanishing clips feature that allows users to see content posted by accounts they follow for 24 hours before it is deleted, in a similar style to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. It is understood the TikTok Stories feature has been rolled out to a select number of users to trial.

The news comes a day after WhatsApp announced the rollout of View Once. Under this new feature, once a recipient opens an image or video for the first time it is deleted from their phone. The image or video will be marked with a new ‘one-time’ icon and the content will appear in the conversation as ‘opened’.

The Facebook-owned messaging service says it is introducing the View Once feature to give users greater “control over their privacy”, arguing that not every image or video needs to have a permanent digital record in the camera roll.

The interest in disappearing media displayed by TikTok and WhatsApp comes the same week as Twitter officially retired its Fleets feature, which allowed users to post photos and videos that disappeared after 24 hours. Despite adding a number of additional features such as GIFs, stickers and coloured text, Fleets did not take off in the way Twitter had hoped during the eight months it was operational.

Announcing the removal of Fleets in July, vice-president of consumer product Ilya Brown admitted updates like Fleets are speculative and they won’t all work: “We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works, and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances.”

READ MORE: TikTok tests Snapchat-like 24-hour feature, say reports

Facebook under fire for banning academics analysing political ads

Facebook has been criticised for disabling the accounts, apps, pages and platform access of New York University’s Ad Observatory Project, a group of academics investigating the transparency of online political ads.

The social media platform says that for months it has attempted to work with the three NYU researchers, who were analysing how political ads use unauthorised means to collect data from Facebook users.

However, the company claims the researchers gathered data via a browser extension programmed to evade Facebook’s detection systems and scrape data such as usernames, ads and links to user profiles, which the platform says is in violation of its terms of use.

“Collecting data via scraping is an industry-wide problem that jeopardises people’s privacy and we’ve been clear about our public position on this as recently as April,” says product management director, Mike Clark.

“The researchers knowingly violated our terms against scraping — which we went to great lengths to explain to them over the past year. Today’s action doesn’t change our commitment to providing more transparency around ads on Facebook, or our ongoing collaborations with academia. We’ll continue to provide ways for responsible researchers to conduct studies that are in the public interest while protecting the security of our platform and the privacy of people who use it.”

In response, one of the banned NYU researchers Laura Edelson tweeted that Facebook is silencing her and her colleagues because their work shines a light on the platform’s problems.

“Facebook should not be able to cynically invoke user privacy to shut down research that puts them in an unflattering light, particularly when the ‘users’ Facebook is talking about are advertisers who have consented to making their ads public,” Edelson added.

Wednesday, 4 August

SportsDirect

Mike Ashley set to hand over control of retail empire

Mike Ashley is reportedly preparing to leave his post as CEO of Frasers Group, owners of Sports Direct, and hand over control to Michael Murray.

Murray is engaged to Ashley’s daughter Anna and currently works as the company’s head of elevation.

The move is expected to be made official tomorrow, when the latest Fraser Group results are due to be announced.

Ashley has been in charge of Sports Direct for nearly 40 years, proving a colourful and controversial figure on the UK retail scene.

His Frasers Group currently also owns a number of other brands, including Game, Jack Wills, Flannels and House of Fraser.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley ‘set to step down’ as chief exec of Frasers Group

EE hosts UK’s first 5G-powered club night

EE 5G Clubbing EventEE is to host the country’s first ever hybrid, 5G-powered club nights later on this month under the EE x Beatport Parallel banner in Liverpool (12 August) and Manchester (19 August).

The Liverpool event will take place at two venues, Liberté Rooftop and Matou Roof Terrace, with a team of DJs able to tag-team across the two clubs, using 5G technology.

The Manchester night will be held at Hatch, featuring 5G EE-powered virtual performances, intermixed live from across the city in a secret location and beamed into the venue in real-time.

Both nights will also give clubbers the option to either enjoy local DJ talent performing in person, or over a 5G EE-powered livestream, and both will be beamed live to outdoor pop-ups in Church Street, Liverpool and Spinningfield Square, Manchester.

“EE x Beatport Parallel will see us put our network to the test – using our real-life 5G network to seamlessly mix live sets together from two different locations, without missing a beat,” says EE marketing and communications director Pete Jeavons.

“The music industry has had such a turbulent 18 months and it has affected cities across the country, so we’re excited to be working with local talent in Manchester and Liverpool to bring back the music, and make some history as the UK’s first hybrid, 5G powered club night.”

Activision Blizzard studio head steps down

Video game brand Activision Blizzard has announced that the president of its Blizzard Entertainment studio, J Allen Brack, is to leave the company in the wake of reports of a toxic working culture and recent staff walkout.

Allegations of discrimination and bullying led to the staff action last week, shortly after a Californian court hearing accused Activision Blizzard of being home to a “frat boy workplace culture”, with female staff both harassed by male colleagues and paid less than them.

Brack is to be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, praised in a company statement for being “deeply committed” to all employees.

The statement then explained the pair would be working to “ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust.”

READ MORE: Blizzard Entertainment president steps down after workplace protests

Weetabix ready for return to school

Weetabix already has its eyes on next month’s busy back-to-school period with a 20-second television slot targeting both schoolkids and parents.

The ‘Any-Which-Way-A-Bix’ ad will run through August and September, showing various serving suggestions, complete with references to lockdown restrictions, including ‘goodbye rule of six a-bix’ and ‘festival moshing a-bix’.

“This latest investment reaffirms our ongoing commitment to driving category sales and brand awareness at what is always a key period for cereals,” says Weetabix head of brand Gareth Turner.

“Landing ahead of the new school year, the campaign will present retailers with a golden opportunity to drive sales of Weetabix Original and other fun recipe ingredients and help the nation’s schoolkids, and their parents, get the healthiest start to the day possible.”

Amazon Prime Air axes jobs amid growing uncertainty

AmazonPrimeDroneOver 100 UK employees at Amazon Prime Air have lost their jobs after the company cut back its plans for drone delivery.

Staff reportedly described the operation, launched amid much fanfare in 2016, as “organised chaos” and claimed that it was “collapsing inwards”.

The redundancies mean that the UK’s entire data analysis team for the division has been scrapped, although some staff have been relocated to other parts of the organisation.

“We recently made organisational changes in our Prime Air business and were able to find positions for affected employees in other areas where we were hiring,” an Amazon spokesperson confirmed.

“Prime Air continues to have employees in the UK and will keep growing its presence in the region.”

READ MORE: Over 100 Amazon Prime Air staff let go as drone deliveries fail to get off the ground

Tuesday, 3 August

Greggs raises profit guidance after first half recovery

Bakery chain Greggs has reported a strong first half recovery following the reopening of non-essential retail in April, with the second quarter of 2021 “exceeding expectations” by delivering like-for-like sales growth compared to the same period in 2019.

Like-for-like sales for the entire first half were nevertheless down by 9.2% on a two-year basis, as shops remained shuttered during the first quarter due to Covid restrictions.

However, with its second quarter boost, total sales for the first six months of the year reached £546 million, driving an underlying pre-tax profit of £55.5m. Greggs says it now expects full year profit to be “slightly” ahead of previous expectations.

The food-to-go retailer had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, recording its first-ever loss as lockdown restrictions kept shops closed and consumers at home. The bakery chain posted a pre-tax loss of £13.7m for 2020 as a whole, significantly down from the £108.3m profit it made in 2019. In the first half alone, Greggs posted a loss of £64.5m.

Yet, the retailer is moving forward with plans to open 100 new shops in 2021, with 48 having already opened.

Greggs has also pointed towards the expansion of its delivery service and its new rewards app as key drivers of its renewed sales growth.

“Greggs once again showed its resilience in a challenging first half, emerging from the lockdown months in a strong position and rebuilding sales as social restrictions were progressively relaxed,” says CEO Roger Whiteside OBE.

“We continue to make good progress with our strategic priorities, growing the shop estate and investing in our digital capabilities to compete in all channels and dayparts of our market. Whilst there continue to be general uncertainties in the market, given our recent performance we now expect full year profit to be slightly ahead of our previous expectation.”

Bolt valuation doubles as it eyes rapid delivery market

Ride-hailing startup Bolt has more than doubled its valuation to over €4bn (£3.4bn), after closing a €600m (£512m) investment round.

According to City AM, the newly acquired funds are to be funnelled into the business’ new 15 minute grocery delivery service, Bolt Market. The service is to be launched in ten European countries in the coming months, including Croatia, Romania, Sweden and Portugal.

The Estonian Uber rival’s last private valuation put it at $2bn, or £1.4bn. On top of taxis and food delivery, Bolt offers car sharing and e-scooter services.

“After seven years of relentless execution, Bolt’s mobility and delivery products offer a better alternative to almost every use case a car serves,” said Bolt CEO Markus Villig.

“I’m thrilled to bring these products to millions of customers around Europe and Africa, taking the emphasis off cars and giving cities back to the people.”

A number of fast-track delivery startups with multimillion-pound backing have established themselves in the UK, with brands such as Getir, Gorillas, Dija, Weezy and Zapp already vying for dominance.

The IGD currently values UK ‘quick commerce’ at £1.4bn and predicts the market will more than double in size to £3.3bn.

READ MORE: Bolt doubles valuation to €4bn as investors pour into on-demand grocery push

Virgin Media’s Van Doorn joins Global as CMO

Radio and outdoor advertising giant Global has hired Virgin Media’s Cilesta Van Doorn as its new chief marketing officer.

She joins Global in October, replacing Adam Johnson as he steps down to relocate to Australia. She will head up a team of 80, covering brand and commercial marketing, enterprise, customer support, events and communications, and joins the board of the business.

Van Doorn’s move comes following the merger of Virgin Media with O2, a deal which also saw O2 CMO Nina Bibby exit the business upon completion.

Van Doorn has been Virgin Media’s executive director of brand and marketing since 2018, leading a team of 70. Her most recent work for the brand includes its ‘Faster Brings Us Closer’ campaign.

Prior to Virgin, Van Doorn spent 12 years at Netherlands-based telecommunications business Tele2, latterly as managing director of marketing, brand & communications.

“It’s not often that an opportunity comes by that makes your heart skip a beat, and it became clear that Global has everything I could ever wish for, and more,” Van Doorn says.

“I have loved working for Virgin Media and will miss my team dearly, but I feel incredibly grateful to be joining such a special company. I’m at my best being part of truly dynamic, innovative and transformational companies, and you can’t fail to be impressed by Global’s performance as a media and entertainment company over the years.”

Sky reveals winners of £2m sustainable advertising fund

Five brands have been named winners of the ‘Sky Zero Footprint Fund’, a £2m pot put together to accelerate sustainable business initiatives which inspire behavioural change.

The winners include period care start up Here We Flo, food sharing app Olio, renewable energy supplier Ovo Energy, ethical investment company Path Financial, and sustainable baby care company Pura.

The brands were judged on their creativity, possible impact, and sustainable credibility by judges including Sir John Hegarty, Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay, Ad Association CEO Stephen Woodford, AdGreen founder Jo Coombes, and Media Trust CEO Su-Mei Thompson.

Each of the winning businesses has been awarded £250,000 in media value. They now move into ad production ahead of a final stage of judging in October, which will see the most compelling creative secure an additional £750,000.

The five campaigns will be unveiled as part of an advertising celebration of sustainability across Sky Media’s channels in the run up to the COP26 Climate Change conference in November, of which Sky is a principle and media partner.

“Business has a key role to play on the journey to a zero-carbon future and at Sky we’re using our platform to support those who are working hard to drive positive change,” says Sky’s group chief marketing, corporate affairs and people officer, Debbie Klein.

“The Sky Zero Footprint Fund entries showed how many inspiring brands are committed to making a difference. Each of the winning campaigns will captivate audiences whilst delivering a critical message: the world cannot wait.”

Meat alternative brand This launches first OOH campaign

Following a year of rapid sales growth and an £11m funding round, plant-based meat brand This has launched its first major outdoor advertising campaign.

While social continues to be a “vital” channel for the brand, This is now hoping to target a mainstream audience with a campaign consisting of 1,000 ads across London tubes, rail networks and buses.

Live this week, the campaign will be supported with targeted ads on social media which will continue across the UK for the rest of the year.

“We’ve been pioneering plant-based foods that look and taste just like real meat for 18 months, and we’re delighted to see our products plastered all over London,” says co-founder Andy Shovel. “It’s a nice change from Viagra and hair loss adverts too.”

After launching less than 18 months ago, This is now stocked in all four of the UK’s major supermarkets and in over 300 restaurants throughout the country, including Prezzo, BarBurrito, and Honest Burger.

The brand claims to have recorded exponential sales growth of 520% between April this year and last.

Monday, 2 August

Amazon fined $886m for data law breach

Amazon has been fined $886.6m (£636m) by Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD), which claims the ecommerce giant’s data processing did not comply with European Union laws.

The commission issued the fine to Amazon on 16 July, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. In a statement, Amazon says it believes the CNPD’s decision to be “without merit” and the company plans to defend itself “vigorously in this matter”.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) framework demands companies gain user consent before using personal data, or risk massive fines.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June, Amazon could be fined more than $425m (£306m) for violating GDPR rules.

Technology companies have seen increased scrutiny from regulators as concerns on privacy and misinformation rise. Complaints have also risen from some businesses on technology giants abusing their market power.

READ MORE: Amazon hit with $886m fine for alleged data law breach

Zoom to pay $86m to settle class-action lawsuit

Video conferencing brand Zoom has stated it will pay $86m (£61m) to settle a class-action privacy lawsuit in the US.

The lawsuit accuses Zoom of invading the privacy of millions of users by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. It also says Zoom misstated that it offers end-to-end encryption and has failed to prevent hackers from “zoombombing” sessions.

Zoom has denied any wrongdoings, but agrees about the need to bolster its security practices.

The preliminary settlement is still subject to approval by a US district judge. A provision in the settlement also states the company must provide staff with specialised training in data handling and privacy.

A Zoom spokesperson says: “The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us. We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront.”

The lawsuit was filed by Zoom Meetings paid subscribers in March 2020 and is one of several legal complaints against the video conferencing company.

READ MORE: Zoom settles US class action privacy lawsuit for $86m

Patagonia rallies creative volunteers for environmental action

PatagoniaPatagonia is calling for the creative and digital communities to offer their skills to hard-hit environmental non-profits to tackle the climate crisis.

Professional recruitment for creatives is “out of reach for non-profits” says Patagonia, a situation which has been exacerbated by the reduction in donations over the pandemic.

To bring together volunteers, the clothing brand launched its digital platform Patagonia Action Works in 2018, to connect 1,000 grassroots environmental groups in the UK and globally.

Skilled volunteering opportunities can range from one hour of lunch break consultancy to a major collaboration, in fields such as translations, graphic design, web development, audience research, copywriting and social media.

So far, the platform has matched more than 2,600 volunteers with environmental non-profits yielding 55,000 hours of time worked.

In the UK alone, volunteers have given over 1,000 hours of their time to help environmental NGOs such as Protect Our Winters, London Waterkeeper, Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots, Power for People and The Irish Wildlife Trust.

Volunteering has saved UK groups nearly £185,000 in consultancy fees.

Patagonia EMEA environmental action and initiatives director Beth Thoren says: “The past 16 months have been extremely challenging for everyone, in a multitude of ways. Environmental NGOs are struggling with reduced funding, whilst seeing the planet shift further and faster into crisis.

“We know that skilled volunteering is of huge value to environmental organisations and it is also extremely enriching to individuals looking for meaningful work, or a step up towards a career in the NGO sector. If you have digital, creative or social media skills, I urge you to visit Patagonia Action Works and find out how to get involved.”

Hyundai drives sustainability message through BBC Future Planet

Hyundai will be the exclusive sponsor of climate change publication BBC Future Planet, in a bid to reach a wider audience.

BBC Future Planet is the first major online publication with a sole focus on climate change. By sponsoring, the carmaker is aiming to reach global audiences looking to create a more sustainable world.

As part of the sponsorship the commercial content studio of BBC Global News, BBC StoryWorks, has created a documentary-style film highlighting Hyundai’s partnership with the ocean conservation organisation, Healthy Seas. This partnership is aimed at combating ocean pollution, nurturing sustainable marine ecosystems and supporting a circular economy.

The film shows a story of how an abandoned fish farm on the coast of Greek island Ithaca was developed to become the solution to Hyundai’s sustainable car interiors.

Production for the film was conducted sustainably, by driving electrified vehicles from London to Greece instead of flying, the crew choosing to eat vegan meals and using solar power to charge equipment.

The film also explores the devastating effect of a storm on the fish farm, which in its wake left the sea littered with industrial waste, ropes, pipes and fishing nets.

BBC Global News executive vice-president of international ad sales, Sean O’Hara says: “Sustainable brands looking to communicate their green practices have long been commercial partners of BBC Global News due to our relevant and engaging content, our global and affluent audience, and our own commitment to being carbon neutral.”

Hyundai Motor Europe president and CEO Michael Cole adds: “Beyond providing zero-emission mobility solutions on land, we also care about protecting fragile ecosystems at sea. That is why we partnered with Healthy Seas throughout this project. With the BBC we were able to win an important partner to tell our story. Together, we have successfully overcome the tremendous logistical challenges to make this vision become a reality.”

Ladbrokes drums up anticipation for football kick-off

Ladbrokes is launching its latest campaign in preparation for the new football season, building on its ‘Drummers’ campaign from the Euro 2020 tournament.

The latest campaign, runnign across TV, outdoor and digital, is split into two parts to reflect the build-up of anticipation as the week progresses. The ad shows drummers slowly raising their drumsticks, anticipating the sound of commentary, building the tension and excitement for the weekend kick off.

The second phase of the campaign will show the drummers crashing sticks into their drum kits to showcase their passion and support for their clubs.

The campaign will show one set of fans this month, before being refreshed with a new cast in October to show more clubs and fans.

On its advertising strategy, Ladbrokes will push a nationwide digital outdoor campaign throughout the season, which will deliver contextual localised messaging and tap into the big football topics of the week.

On the opening match of the season, Ladbrokes will target fans of all 92 league clubs in England with specific messages welcoming them back for the new season through a combination of OOH and digital advertising.

The ad was shot by Rogue Films, with work done by agency Neverland and media campaign planning from the7Stars.

Ladbrokes head of brand marketing Stewart Townsend says: “Our latest campaign brilliantly captures the excitement of football and helps to establish Ladbrokes as an entertainment brand. The drummers are back and we are using them to express the tension and anticipation that fans feel in the days and hours leading up to a weekend kick off.”

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