Lynx, Google, Aviation Gin: 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.


Lynx Africa celebrates 25 years

Lynx is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its best-selling Africa fragrance with a campaign featuring boxer Anthony Joshua, rapper AJ Tracey and YouTube star Calfreezy.

‘Hot Since ‘95’ is a TV advert looking back at the last quarter of a century in the style of a classic teen romance, highlighting memories of raving in bucket hats and playing on old school game consoles.

For the first time, a shortened version of the advert will be available to download via a SnapCode on a limited-edition range of Lynx 25th anniversary products – Lynx Africa Body Spray, Lynx Africa Body Wash and Lynx Africa Anti-Perspirant.

Scanning the code will transport consumers into a Lynx Africa virtual reality, taking them through the last 25 years, starting with a 95’ lens featuring frosted hair tips and ending with a modern lens in 2020.

This will be the first time Lynx has featured augmented reality on their packaging.

Lynx brand manager Jamie Brooks said: “With its legendary status in the UK, Lynx Africa has been one of the nation’s favourite fragrances for over two decades.

“In true Lynx style, our ‘Hot Since ‘95’ campaign showcases how Lynx Africa has been part of British culture for two-and-a-half decades with our largest Lynx campaign for years.”

Google expands verification policy

All Google advertisers will have to provide details that confirm their identity and country of origin, as he tech giant looks to protect itself and its users against misleading or false online ads.

The move is an update of a 2018 policy based on political advertising and comes at a time when various online platforms have been criticised for carrying fraudulent information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertisers will complete a verification program before buying ads on the Google network, submitting personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which the operate.

The policy is scheduled to begin over the coming months, initially in the US before being introduced globally.

Given the detailed nature of the process, it is expected to take “a few years” to complete.

In a statement, Google said that the move will “help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves”.

Aviation American Gin supports the Drinks Trust

Aviation Gin

Canadian actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation American Gin is to donate 30% of proceeds from online sales in the UK to the Drinks Trust.

The trust, is one of the largest community organisations for the drinks industry, currently raising funds to provide wellbeing and financial support for industry workers during lockdown.

The gin will be distributed in the UK through Proof Drinks and the Whisky Exchange.

“The UK is not only home to the world’s most discerning gin drinkers, but also the ‘gintenders’ themselves,” said Reynolds.

“In an effort to support the bartenders we know and love, we will be donating a tip for every bottle purchased online to support the invaluable work The Drinks Trust continues to do.”

Drinks Trust CEO Ross Carter added: “We are receiving unprecedented demand for our services at this time.

“The financial concerns caused by loss of work can seriously impact an individual’s mental health and we’re working with experts in both HR and wellbeing to help give actionable advice to all members of the on trade.

“We’re grateful to Aviation Gin for its support during this tough period for our industry.”

Ipsos research shows change in viewing habits under lockdown

With television viewing up 24% as the coronavirus forces more of us to stay at home indoors, an Ipsos study has been keeping tracks of viewing habits.

‘Lockdown TV’, commissioned by Thinkbox from Ipsos MORI, is based on video diaries kept by 12 households across the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, comedy and light entertainment are both proving hugely popular, with Saturday night peak TV shows like Britain’s Got Talent enjoying an increase in audience figures, with shared family viewing up by 37%.

There is also more compromise viewing, as families jointly choose TV to suit everyone rather than meeting their individual viewing needs, including films.

And it seems that cooking shows are filling the huge gaps left by the lack of live sport.

News coverage has also seen a significant increase in viewers, up by 124% in the first three weeks of the lockdown.

Thinkbox research and planning director Matt Hill said: “The effects of social distancing are profound.

“Our media habits are dramatically changing as a result of the new situations we find ourselves in and it is vital we understand what those changes mean for the TV and advertising industries.

“The huge breadth of broadcaster content – live and on demand – is coming to the fore, with people exploring all corners of the TV universe to keep them and their families entertained.”

Frontline Heroes celebrated by Manchester United


Premier League club Manchester United has announced a ‘Frontline Heroes’ campaign to celebrate the club’s fans across the world who are working to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

And the club has called on supporters to identify and nominate their heroes via the official website.

“We want to hear about the Manchester United fans working in the NHS or their local health service; the care workers looking after the elderly; the key workers providing essential services to communities; and the volunteers supporting charities or helping vulnerable neighbours,” read a club statement.

Nominations can be made here.

Thursday, 23 April

Ryanair boss hits out at social distance flying

Ryanair will not start flying again if forced to leave the middle seat empty for social distancing.

The budget airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has hit out at “idiotic” suggestions that airlines could reduce capacity of flights in order to fly alongside social distancing

O’Leary argues the idea would not fit with Ryanair’s operating model and that he had already told the Irish government that if it imposes the restriction, then “either the government pays for the middle seat or we won’t fly”.

The carrier’s business model relies on flying as frequently as possible, with an extremely high “load factor”, the aviation industry term for how full planes are.

He says: “We can’t make money on 66% load factors. Even if you do that, the middle seat doesn’t deliver any social distancing, so it’s kind of an idiotic idea that doesn’t achieve anything anyway.”

In contrast EasyJet has said that social distanced flights could be possible in the short term.

READ MORE: Ryanair will not return to flying if middle seats must be empty, says chief

Zoom promises updates as it faces security backlash

Zoom is promising to release an improved version after it faces backlash over security.

The video conferencing app rose to popularity after social distancing measures took place but it has been criticised for failing to protect data and stop “Zoombombing” – where people enter meetings uninvited, often hurling abuse.

Zoom has also been criticised for a range of privacy issues, including sending user data to Facebook, wrongly claiming the app had end-to-end encryption, and allowing meeting hosts to track attendees.

Zoom’s chief executive Eric Yuan says: “We will earn our customers’ trust and deliver them happiness with our unwavering focus on providing the most secure platform.”

Earlier this month Zoom said it would pause the development of any new features to concentrate on safety and privacy issues.

Yuan apologised for “falling short” on security issues and promised to address concerns, saying that the use of Zoom had soared in ways he could never have foreseen prior to the coronavirus pandemic as daily user numbers have soared to 200 million from 10 million in less than three months.

READ MORE: ‘Zoombombing’ targeted with new version of app 

Boohoo see sales uplift due to coronavirus

Boohoo is enjoying a sales lift as coronavirus causes consumers to seek comfy joggers and smart tops for Zoom calls.

The online retailer, which also owns brands including PrettyLittleThing and NastyGal, has been boosted by working from home as people seek smart tops for video conferencing as well as comfortable clothes.

Boohoo reported a 54% rise in pre-tax profits to £92.2m for the year to the end of February, on sales up 44% to £1.23bn

Boohoo said it had initially seen a “marked decrease” in sales after the lockdown was announced last month but was seeing an upturn in April.

The company said it remained cautious about its outlook given the uncertainty created by the pandemic – with the possibilities of falling demand and warehouse closures.

READ MORE: Boohoo lockdown sales boom thanks to tops and joggers

Kellogg’s UK pledges to deliver food to frontline staff

Kellogg’s UK is pledging to deliver food to NHS and key workers across the UK.

It’s new campaign, #RaiseYourBowl, is highlighting the cereal giant’s work distributing 500,000 servings of food direct to frontline staff in NHS hospitals and medical facilities. It encourages those key workers to visit where they can then request a donation for their own staff or break rooms.

The social media campaign, created by Publicis, is brought to life by Kellogg’s own employees raising their cereal bowls in thanks to the NHS.

The launch comes after Kellogg’s announced it would also be distributing a minimum of three million servings of food to its charity partners in order to reach food banks, schools and community groups supporting the most vulnerable people.

Kellogg’s vice president and head of UK business, Chris Silcock, says: “At Kellogg’s we want to ensure we are doing what we can to support those who need us at this time. From getting food onto shelves, to supporting local food banks and schools.

Kellogg’s UK’s donation to NHS staff comes in addition to the 3 million servings it has already pledged, bringing total food donations to over 3.5 million servings.

Boots recruits more than 500 drivers

Boots is increasing the number of drivers delivering prescriptions to vulnerable people across the UK – hiring more than 500 new drivers.

The new recruits will join Boots Pharmacy delivery and collection team during coronavirus by delivering essential prescription medicines to those who are self-isolating or cannot get to their pharmacy.

The pharmaceutical giant has also introduced a prescription delivery service in another 40 stores across the UK.

In the past month Boots has delivered an average of 90,000 prescriptions a week, increasing to an estimated 150,000 in the last week.

To support the existing network, the 500 new drivers will be split across 45 key areas.

Wednesday, 22 April


Netflix subscribers soar as lockdown drives streaming

Netflix signed up 15.7 million new subscribers in the first three months of 2020, almost double the number it gained during the same period in 2019.

The US streaming giant recognised that the surge in subscribers is a temporary result of the global lockdowns due to Covid-19 and acknowledged that the value of international subscribers is now less due to many global currencies being depressed. During the first three months of 2020, Netflix spent $503.8m (£408.2m) on marketing, down from $616.6m (£499.5m) during the first quarter of 2019.

It also says some spending on content will be delayed, while title releases will be delayed, typically by three months.

With lockdown set to be at least partially lifted in many countries over the coming months, Netflix says it expects viewing and growth to decline, and predicts it will gain 7.5 million new global paid subscribers during the second quarter of 2020.

Shows like documentary Tiger King, which was watched by 68 million households globally, and dating show Love is Blind, watched by 30 million households, have proved huge hits for the streaming service during the first quarter of the year. However, when it comes to the production of new content, Netflix confirmed that almost all filming has now stopped globally, with the exception of in a few countries such as Korea and Iceland.

Internally the streaming company says “as a precaution” it has temporarily reduced the number of “product innovations” it brings to market and has employed 2,000 new remote working customer service managers to ensure the experience runs smoothly.

READ MORE: Netflix sign-ups jump during coronavirus lockdowns

Snapchat revenue grows 44% amid pandemic as sign-ups surge

SnapchatSnapchat’s revenue rose by 44% year on year to $462.5m (£374.7m) during the first quarter of 2020, as the global coronavirus outbreak sparked increased demand for the social media platform.

Daily active users rose by 20% year on year to 229 million, while the total daily time users spent on Snapchat’s Discover feature increased by 35%. In the last week of March communications between friends on the platform increased by 30% compared to the last week in January, rising to 50% in regions most severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

During the first three months of 2020, more than 60 Snapchat shows reached a monthly audience of at least 10 million viewers and in excess of 20 million users have watched its original show Nikita Unfiltered since its launch in March.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says Snapchat has “never been more important in people’s lives” as a means to staying emotionally connected to friends and family during the global lockdown.

Ad spend on Snapchat grew by 58% in January and February, but that growth rate slowed to 25% in March as the economic environment became challenging for many advertisers. However, Snapchat reports that its direct response advertising has nearly doubled as a share of revenue over the past two years, now representing more than half its total revenue.

READ MORE: Snap’s ad business defied coronavirus fears in Q1 and its stock is popping

Facebook invests $5.7bn in Indian mobile internet company as it eyes WhatsApp Pay roll-out

Facebook has invested $5.7bn (£4.6bn) in Indian mobile internet company Reliance Jio as it eyes the roll-out of its WhatsApp payments service across the country.

The deal, which makes the social media giant the largest minority shareholder in the telecoms unit of Reliance Industries, gives Facebook a significant foothold in India, where in February it was given the green light for a phased roll-out of its WhatsApp Pay service. The WhatsApp messaging app already has 400 million users across India.

Facebook also says it plans to collaborate with Reliance’s JioMart small business ecommerce platform, with a view to enabling users to eventually purchase products via WhatsApp.

Facebook says the investment underscores its “commitment to India” and “excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country”, bringing 388 million people online in less than four years.

The social media giant added that WhatsApp has become “so ingrained in Indian life that it has become a commonly used verb across many Indian languages and dialects”, while Instagram has “grown dramatically in India in recent years”.

READ MORE: Facebook’s $5.7bn bet on India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani

O2 donates £1m to Children in Need and Comic Relief

O2 has donated £1m to The Big Night In Appeal, a joint initiative bringing together BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief for the first time to raise money for local charities, projects and programmes across the UK.

The telecoms company is partnering with the The Big Night In show, which will be broadcast on BBC One tomorrow between 7pm and 10pm. The programme will include an update from O2 on what it has been doing to support the NHS and consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic, using specially filmed videos featuring customers and O2 employees.

The network is offering unlimited voice minutes for consumer pay monthly customers, as well as zero-rating access to NHS websites and an additional 22 sites including Citizens Advice and mental health charity Mind. From Thursday, O2 will also be giving NHS staff a free 10GB bundle of data each month, for three months.

In addition, the mobile network is providing free voice calls and data for 2,000 devices to be used by patients at NHS Nightingale sites. The first batch of Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s phones have been delivered to NHS Nightingale field hospitals in Newcastle, Harrogate and Bristol.

“Digital connectivity is more important than ever and we’re proud to be supporting The Big Night In Appeal, showcasing the vital work our people are doing to help communities keep in touch,” says O2 CMO, Nina Bibby.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to help keep the nation connected during this unprecedented period.”

Age UK unveils £10m coronavirus emergency appeal campaign

Age UK Age UK has launched a campaign to support its £10m coronavirus emergency appeal as the charity seeks donations to fund its advice and information line, friendship services, community support and food supplies for the elderly.

The six-week TV campaign, starring actor Jim Broadbent and developed by creative agency Brave, aims to drive awareness of how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the older population, shining a light on the difficulty of getting basic necessities such as food and medicines, as well as the isolation of not being able to see loved ones.

Demand for Age UK’s services has soared during the crisis, with calls to its national advice line peaking at levels 88% higher than before the pandemic, while the charity’s friendship services and local Age UK branches are experiencing huge increases in the number of older people in urgent need of support and comfort.

“Making a film during lockdown required all sorts of creative approaches and we’re so grateful to Brave, Jim and all involved for turning it around so quickly,” says Age UK fundraising director, Laurie Boult.

“We hope the film helps everyone to understand how tough and worrying this crisis is for older people. Age UK is determined to be there for older people who need our help and especially for those who have no one else to turn to in this time of crisis. Demand for our vital services has skyrocketed during this unprecedented health emergency.”

Tuesday, 21 April

Virgin Atlantic at risk amid Covid-19 pandemic

The airline Virgin Australia has filed for voluntary administration, while its sister brand Virgin Atlantic will need financial help if is to survive the Covid-19 pandemic according to founder Sir Richard Branson.

Branson has written an open letter to the 70,000 staff across Virgin Group to reassure them he is “working day and night” to invest across his business interests, including putting £250m of his estimated £4.4bn fortune into shoring up the businesses and protecting jobs. He admits his companies are particularly exposed to the impacts of the crisis because many are in the health and leisure industries.

In the letter, he writes: “Over the five decades I have been in business, this is the most challenging time we have ever faced. It is hard to find the words to convey what a devastating impact this pandemic continues to have on so many communities, businesses and people around the world.

“From a business perspective, the damage to many is unprecedented and the length of the disruption remains worryingly unknown.”

Branson is believed to be asking the UK government for a commercial loan of around £500m to see Virgin Atlantic through the crisis. And he has offered his Necker Island home as security against the loan.

Virgin Australia is hoping to find an investor. It has been forced to cancel almost all its flights and has a A$5bn debt.

READ MORE: Coronavirus – Branson offers Caribbean island to secure Virgin bailout

Consumer concerns could lead to  lengthy UK recession

There are mounting concerns the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to a lengthy recession due to consumer worries about returning to work and to spending.

The Bank of England’s deputy governor Ben Broadbent is warning that escaping a deep recession may not be possible. He suggests the 35% contraction in the UK economy in the second quarter predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility does not look unrealistic.

“We will have to think about whether behavioural responses of people mean that even if the government-imposed lockdown is lifted, demand may remain weak in some areas just out of people’s natural caution,” he says, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The fear is that many people will remain effectively locked down even after the government lifts restrictions, in the same way many people locked themselves down before they were told to. This could lead to a ‘U-shaped’ recession rather than the ‘V-shape’ previously hoped for.

READ MORE: UK braced for lengthy recession due to virus fear factor (£)

Ted Baker introduces digital pop-up shop

Ted Baker is launching a digital pop-up shop that will sell limited-edition products, with profits going to local communities impact by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially, products for sale will feature three exclusive Ted Baker designs: a rainbow, an applause emoji and a ‘Home Hope Love’ slogan. Prices range from £5 for an A4 poster print to £25 for a T-shirt, with other products in the collection including tea towels, cups and beanies.

Donations from the first batch of products will go to the charity Magic Breakfast, which provides breakfasts to UK school children at risk of hunger. There will be regular product drops dedicated to different charities or relief efforts as needs evolve.

The pop-up forms part of Ted Baker’s online site and will encourage shoppers to make a purchase though ‘stylish acts of kindness’. It goes live on 1 May.

Giffgaff launches hardship fund for those impacted by coronavirus

Giffgaff is launching an initiative called ‘goodybank’ that aims to help local communities and people facing hardship during the coronavirus outbreak.

It will enable Giffgaff customers to purchase additional minutes, texts or data to donate to another customer. The mobile network will then match donations made by customers.

Customers will also be able to make a donation directly to a ‘Neighbourly Community’ fund. Giffgaff has already donated £75,000.

Giffgaff CEO Ash Schofield says: “At Giffgaff, we have always had community at our heart and never has a sense of community been more important. We are already helping vulnerable members, many of whom contacted us as a result of the current crisis and will continue to do so.

However, our members are an altruistic bunch, and the goodybank allows them to get involved should they be able to help. Even if we’re far apart, we want people to know they can ask for help and someone will always be there to offer that help and keep them connected.”

ITV launches ‘Shout Outs’ ad offering

ITV is introducing a new ad offering on its digital platform, ITV Hub, that aims to allow brands to share important information, or messages of support or gratitude.

‘Shout Outs’ will consist of short video clips of between three and five seconds. The idea is to offer brands the opportunity to inform and support the public, rather than raise aware of products or promotions.

The launch comes as broadcasters struggle with declining ad revenue despite an increase in viewing. ITV Hub has experienced an 82% increase in consumption hours, while Channel 4’s online platform All4 had its biggest ever quarterly viewing figures in the first quarter of 2020.

ITV’s head of digital, Patrick Kelly, says: “The ITV Hub Shouts are a perfect solution for advertisers of any size and scale to spread information quickly and impactfully outside of linear TV campaigns.”

Monday, 20 April

Pret retail range to hit shops this month

Pret is to start selling a range of coffee products in supermarkets in the next few weeks.

The coffee chain’s chief executive Pano Christou says discussions about introducing a range of whole and ground coffee beans are under way, with products likely to be available by the end of April.

The coffee chain had planned to launch a coffee range in supermarkets by the end of the year, however it is speeding up its plans as a result of Covid-19.

“My sense is that Pret might be a very different operator model after this – if coronavirus persists,” says Christou.

READ MORE: Pret A Manger hastens launch of retail coffee range because of pandemic

Public Health England and NHS launch mental health campaign

Public Health England & the NHS have launched a national mental health campaign, Every Mind Matters, aimed at supporting people with their mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The range of new resources, designed specifically to help people manage their mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include a tailored Covid-19 mind plan, as well as Covid-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones.

The campaign also includes a film, narrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, that portrays a range of people whose lives have been affected by Covid-19. It will be shown during prime-time slots on national TV channels from today.

“We have focused Every Mind Matters on providing content that will support people in facing the challenges of self-isolation and the lockdown period, and have delivered a campaign that is very much an integrated strand of the whole Covid-19 communications framework,” says Public Health England’s marketing director, Sheila Mitchell.

“To build reach and impact we’ve secured the support of partners across the commercial, VCSE and public sectors, including that of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Developing and delivering the campaign from the homes of colleagues and agencies  was an interesting challenge, but we managed to pull it off, and to the tight deadlines demanded by a timely response to the evolving Covid-19 context.”

Pladis appoints new UK CMO

Pladis has appointed Caroline Hipperson to the newly-created role of chief marketing officer for UK and Ireland.

Hipperson, who was previously CMO for Holland & Barrett, will look after Pladis brands including McVities, Jacob’s, Carr’s, Flipz and go ahead!, as well as leading the McVitie’s brand and strategy globally.

Prior to Holland & Barrett, Hipperson worked for brands including Bacardi, Carlsberg, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.

“Caroline’s diverse background and brand experience, together with her passion for leading teams will be invaluable as we move towards the next phase of building a legacy for our incredible brands,” says Pladis’s managing director for UK and Ireland, David Murray.

“Caroline will be an excellent addition to our already strong marketing team and I look forward to welcoming her to the pladis family.”

Halifax highlights colleague contribution during UK lockdown

Halifax is aiming to showcase the hard work and dedication of its key worker colleagues across the UK in a new ad, which was filmed by employees over the past week.

The film, which first aired on Saturday during the ad break of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, shows colleagues working in branches, call centres and at home, with a specific focus on helping customers navigate the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“It’s at times of adversity when you see the best in people and I am incredibly proud of our colleagues right across the country for their dedication at this challenging time,” says Halifax’s managing director, Russell Galley.

“They are the heart and soul of Halifax and continue to show such commitment and compassion for customers despite the current circumstances. This is why we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase the effort colleagues are making to maintain their support for hundreds of thousands of families every day, whether that’s within a branch, call centre or makeshift office space at home.”

Industry bodies back government’s keyword blocking call

Industry bodies representing UK advertisers, agencies, publishers and ad tech companies have come together in support of a message by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) calling on brands to review their use of keyword blocking during the Covid-19 outbreak.

It follows concerns that overzealous keyword blocking of coronavirus-related terms is impacting publishers’ ability to monetise news content.

ISBA (representing UK advertisers), IAB UK (the industry body for digital advertising) and IPA (representing agencies) are contacting members in support of the government’s message. They have jointly published specific advice on how to responsibly review content verification strategies in the current climate. It has been shared by culture secretary Oliver Dowden in a letter to 100 major UK brands.

ISBA’s director general, Phil Smith, says: “The use of keyword blocking is a critical component of how advertisers direct their advertising in the open display market. But by making best use of content verification technologies, brands can avoid the sort of blanket approach that may lead to them inadvertently blocking trusted news sources, whilst maintaining brand safety.

“This is particularly important during this crisis. We encourage all ISBA members to take account of the guidance available to them through our knowledge hub.”