Lidl, The Guardian, Quorn: 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.

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Energy price cap to go up by 80%

Energy regulator Ofgem has hiked the price cap to £3,549 a year. The energy price cap, which will come into effect from October, represents an 80% increase on the current figure of £1,971.

The cap was also increased 54% in April. The upcoming increase will see a typical default tariff customer paying an extra £1,578 per year.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley says the cost of energy has been driven up exponentially due to an “aggressive economic act by the Russian state”.

“Ofgem has no choice but to reflect these cost increases in the price cap,” he says. He adds Ofgem is working with ministers, consumer groups and industry on a set of options for the incoming Prime Minister.

“The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us,” he adds.

The regulator is not predicting a price cap figure for January next year, because it says the market conditions are too volatile. However, it has warned that prices could get “significantly worse” next year.

READ MORE: Energy bills to soar for millions as price cap hiked to £3,549

Guardian Media Group appoints former marketer Anna Bateson as chief executive

Guardian Media Group has appointed former marketer Anna Bateson as its CEO. Bateson previously held the chief customer role at the media business.

She began her time at Guardian Media Group in 2016 as vice president, platforms and partnerships. Then, for five months, she served as the interim CEO before taking on the chief customer officer role in 2017 until her departure in 2020.

She re-joins Guardian Media Group from Josh Wood Colour, a hair colour brand where she was CEO. Bateson has previous experience in the beauty sector, having been director of digital at Charlotte Tilbury Beauty prior to her first stint at Guardian Media Group.

She is credited with having helped develop The Guardian’s voluntary contributions strategy, which has seen readers choose to contribute towards the cost of running the news organisation without it installing a paywall. Last month, Guardian Media Group reported its strongest results since 2008, but warned that “economic and market conditions will be challenging in the year ahead”.

Bateson has spent most of her career in marketing roles at media organisations. At the beginning of her career she worked at Bloomberg, before moving to Artsworld (a channel that would subsequently become Sky Arts). She was then at MTV Networks, followed by ITV, before spending a number of years at YouTube.

She joined YouTube as marketing director, EMEA in 2009. By the time of her departure in 2016 she was director, global consumer marketing at the Google-owned business.

Commenting on her appointment to the role at Guardian Media Group, Bateson says: “I am delighted to be returning to an organisation whose purpose and strategy I believe in so strongly.”

READ MORE: Guardian Media Group appoints Anna Bateson as chief executive

Lidl to sell fruit and vegetables stunted by drought

Lidl storeLidl will start selling fruit and vegetables “stunted” by drought in an effort to help farmers and to reduce food waste.

The supermarket wrote to its suppliers to tell them that “where possible” it would try to sell fruit and vegetables that are different sizes than what consumers are used to.

Potatoes, onions, carrots, apples and Brussels sprouts are likely to be worst-affected by the drought conditions, experts say.

Ten areas of England, as well as a large part of South-West Wales, have been declared to be in drought, following low rainfall and high temperatures across the UK.

The initiative will “help to prevent perfectly good, quality produce from going to waste because of variations in specifications,” Lidl says. It has called on other supermarket to do the same.

“Whilst some supermarkets have chosen to create a separate “wonky veg” label for items that don’t quite fit a certain specification, we don’t believe in a creating a false market,” says Lidl GB’s chief executive Ryan McDonnell

“Instead, we have always strived to work collaboratively with our suppliers to ensure that we are flexible with variations in specifications at different times of the year. However, now more than ever, it’s critical that we and the rest of the sector get behind our suppliers.”

READ MORE: Lidl to sell misshapen drought-affected vegetables

Quorn agrees to collaborate with creator after being accused of “ripping off” song

Quorn has agreed to collaborate on a revised version of a song it released to promote the launch of its “UniQuorns” vegan nugget range, after it was accused of “ripping off” the song from a 2003 viral hit.

The meat alternatives brand had released a video promoting the product, which features unicorns, or UniQuorns, dancing in a loop to a repeating song. Many were quick to point out the similarity to ‘Badgers’, a 2003 cartoon which showed badgers dancing in a loop to a repeating song. The animated Badger meme was created by Jonti Picking, known online as The Weebl.

On Wednesday, Picking quote-tweeted Quorn Foods UK to ask: “Who do I contact about the blatant ripping off of my copyrighted work this time?”

“Agencies. If you like a particular piece by a creator for a project then you might consider contacting them to see if they would be involved,” he also wrote on the social media site.

“It’s often their job, and who could do better at working in the style you like than the one who already does it?”

The meat-free brand were quick to respond to the creator, saying it “loved [his] work” and wanted to chat in more detail. By Thursday, the dispute was resolved and Quorn confirmed that it would be working with Picking on a “revised version of the UniQuorns film, produced under license”.

The brand says it acknowledges this is “what should have happened in the first place,” says a spokesperson.

“Looks like we’ve got a solution to the Quorn situation that everyone should be happy with,” Picking wrote on Twitter.

The UniQuorns video has now seemingly been deleted from the brand’s social media profiles.

READ MORE: Quorn to collaborate with YouTuber following accusations of ‘ripping off’ classic ‘Badgers’ video

Beefeater builds festival tube carriage activation

Beefeater gin has built a life-sized tube carriage at a London festival as part of its campaign, “The Spirit of London”.

“The Underground of Sound” has been built by parent company Pernod Ricard at Luno Presents All Points East in Victoria Park, London. It is an immersive experience aimed at taking consumers through a journey of London’s musical history on the tube carriage. Participants experience a silent disco and tannoy announcements to guide them through their journey, from disco tunes in Vauxhall to carnival vibes at Notting Hill.

Mixmag worked with the gin brand on the journey narrative and music. Production specialists Magic Number and experiential agency Bearded Kitten also worked with Beefeater on the immersive experience.

Beefeater will also have a bar serving Beefeater London Dry, Beefeater Pink Strawberry and Beefeater Blood Orange Gin & Tonic’s at All Points East, which is one of London’s biggest outdoor festivals. Some 40,000 people are expected to attend.

“This is one of the largest activations at a UK festival we have ever commissioned for Beefeater and we’re delighted with how consumers are enjoying the experience so far,” says Pernod Ricard brand director, Liam Murphy.

“Luno presents All Points East is the perfect place to celebrate The Spirit of London, as it brings together such a diverse mix of talent and festival goers with such a great energy.”

Thursday, 25 August

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British Gas to give 10% of profits to customers struggling with bills

British Gas is to contribute 10% of its profits towards customers struggling with their spiralling energy bills, with thousands of households to receive grants of between £250 and £750.

An immediate £12m donation has been made to the company’s Energy Support Fund. Around one tenth of its supply profits will be donated every six months “for the duration of the energy crisis”, backdated to the start of 2022.

The brand serves over nine million homes, making it Britain’s leading energy supplier. In July, parent-company Centrica reported a five fold increase in operating profits for the first half of 2022 to £1.34bn, up from £262m over the same period in 2021. Most of this came from oil and gas drilling.

The 10% figure is based only on British Gas’s retail supply profits, however, which amounted to just £98m.

The average home energy bill is expected to reach an annual figure of £3,553 in October, up from £1,971. Earlier this month, consultancy Cornwall Insight forecast that annual energy bills will exceed £4,200 from January, and could rise as far as £4,426 in April.

Nevertheless, Centrica CEO Chris O’Shea says the business is “proud” to have devised a customer support package worth over £25m in the long term.

“As a responsible business we want to do more to support our customers during this difficult time,” he said.

“This increased investment in supporting our customers adds to the financial support and advice we already offer and ensures more grants will be available as we go into this winter.”

The move follows the release of data earlier this month revealing the impact the energy crisis is having on British Gas’s brand health. According to YouGov’s BrandIndex tool, the brand’s overall health score among its own customers plummeted 16 points between 1 January and 1 August this year, from a score of 17.9 to 1.9.

The energy brand fares no better among the public as a whole, with its score dropping from a neutral 0.0 to -9.3 over the same period.

READ MORE: British Gas to donate 10% of profits to help cut bills

DMA unveils government-funded marketing skills bootcamps

The Data and Marketing Association (DMA) is launching bootcamps in UK cities to help aspiring or current marketers to upskill and reskill in some of the most sought after areas within the marketing industry.

The Digital Marketing Strategy Skills Bootcamps, launching in London, Bristol and Manchester in September, will be funded by the Department for Education’s Skills for Life programme.

The bootcamps are primarily aimed at diverse talent who are either unemployed or working within SMEs, who want to develop their creative, data and digital skillsets and improve their career and employment opportunities. Unemployed people who complete the bootcamps will secure job interviews with reputable employers.

DMA CEO Chris Combemale says the bootcamps will also help businesses to acquire “skilled, diverse talent”, saving them costs on both training and recruitment, “while empowering them to boost growth and productivity”.

“The DMA’s new skills bootcamps will help organisations and the people who power them to benefit from government-funded upskilling and reskilling opportunities during these extremely challenging economic times,” he adds.

Last year, three of the UK’s marketing trade associations – including the DMA – argued the government had missed a “huge opportunity” to help resolve the digital skills gap by not committing some of its £2bn “skills revolution” budget to industry-led training programmes.

Having now secured government backing, Combedale says there remains further opportunity for industry bodies to play a “significant role” in supporting the government’s upskilling and reskilling initiatives, hoping this is “only the start of this exciting journey”.

“We believe trade and professional bodies are best placed to spearhead these types of programmes with their strong industry connections and understanding of the skills that employers require most,” he says.

Peloton ventures outside DTC with Amazon deal

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Embattled fitness firm Peloton has begun to sell its exercise bike and fitness accessories on Amazon in the US, in its first foray outside its core direct-to-consumer business.

Amazon customers are now able to buy Peloton’s original ‘Bike’ for $1,445 (£1,225), as well as its $295 (£250) strength product Peloton Guide. The brand’s premium ‘Bike+’ and ‘Tread’ treadmill are not available on the platform.

Chief commercial officer Kevin Cornils told CNBC that Amazon searches for Peloton products already reach around 500,000 each month, adding the brand is looking to “better” understand the post-Covid retail environment and ensure it is “calibrated appropriately”.

“We want to make it as easy as possible to get a Peloton,” he said. Shares soared 18.4% in afternoon trading following the news.

Peloton has struggled with a considerable sales slowdown following the end of Covid lockdowns and the reopening of gyms. In the second quarter of 2022, the fitness brand reported a rise in revenues of 6% to $1.13bn (£835.4m) alongside a net loss of $439.4m (£324.8m).

In February, the business announced it was cutting 2,800 jobs globally, including 20% of corporate roles, as well as slashing marketing spend as it looked to forge a “clear path to consistent profitability”.

A major management shake-up also took place, which saw co-founder John Foley step down as CEO and replaced by former Spotify and Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy.

READ MORE: Peloton strikes a deal to sell fitness equipment and apparel on Amazon

OnTheMarket unveils three-part Channel 4 series

Online property portal OnTheMarket is launching a three-part observational TV series on Channel 4, as it aims to build brand awareness and take on its larger rivals Rightmove and Zoopla.

Created in partnership with MediaCom UK, Flicker Productions and Channel 4, the ‘Finding the Cornish Dream’ series will follow Cornish estate agents as they show dream homes to prospective buyers. It will also address some of the challenges locals are facing in buying homes as new buyers move to the coast.

The series will highlight the role local estate agents play in guiding sellers and buyers through the property transaction process. OnTheMarket will run a social media campaign featuring selected clips to support the launch.

“As one of the UK’s major property websites, we’re proud to do things differently and our involvement in the series is a major step forward for us as we increase our brand awareness and champion the best agents in the industry,” says CEO Jason Tebb.

The series will launch on Saturday 27 August at 17.30 and feature Caroline Quentin as narrator.

Burger King encourages Whopper fans to go ‘meat free for free’

Source: Burger King UK via Splendid Comms

Burger King is running a one-day campaign in the UK today in which fans of its flagship Whopper burger can try either of its meat free alternatives for free.

Customers can swap their Whopper for a Plant-Based Whopper or Vegan Royale using the click and collect service in the Burger King app. Up to 10,000 free burgers are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The campaign follows a nationally representative survey of 2,000 British adults in early August by Opinium Research, in which more than half (51%) of meat eaters said they would not try a plant-based burger even if it was free.

Burger King launched its first completely meat-free restaurant earlier this year as a pilot takeover of its Leicester Square flagship store, as it pursues its goal of becoming 50% meat free by 2030.

Wednesday, 24 August

Sports Direct taps into Gen Z with new back-to-school campaign

Ahead of the new school year, Sports Direct has launched its 2022 back-to-school campaign. The ad, featuring TikTok influencers such as Stepz and Nizzy, is a continuation of last year’s ‘School Starts Here’ brand platform.

The ad shows the TikTok stars getting ready ahead of their first day back, with anticipation at the centre. Sports Direct says it is “here to provide the drip students need for those first-day-back vibes”.

On Sports Direct’s website, customers can find a dedicated landing page with back-to-school suggestions across items such as trainers and backpacks.

The retailer says the campaign is helping students to “unlock their full potential” by selling them “more than just their sports kit and football boots”.

“We wanted to bring the viewer into the digitally inter-connected world that young people live in, as the hype builds for their return to school,” says CMO Beckie Stanion.

“By working with the hottest young talent, we’re tapping into the engaged Gen Z audience, who are a new wave of tastemakers for fashion and culture.”

Global ad spend to rise 8.3% in 2022 but expected to slow down next year

WARC has downgraded its expectations for global advertising growth by $90bn (£76bn), as economic troubles continue worldwide.

Compared with its forecast in December 2021, the 8.3% predicted rise in global ad spend for this year is 4.3% lower than expected.

The expected rise, equivalent to $67.3bn (£57bn), is due to a “positive” first half of the year for holding companies, as well as an uplift from second half 2022 events, such as the FIFA World Cup taking place in November.

WARC says the advertising holding companies have recorded a positive start to 2022, while small to medium sized businesses (SMBs), who largely buy ad space directly, are “bearing the brunt” of the current tricky economic climate.

The organisation says the SMB slowdown will impact social media companies the most, and expects social media ad spent to rise 11.5% this year, compared with 47.1% in 2021. For 2023, the outlook is that spend will slow down to 5.2%.

“With the growth rate of global output now set to halve and acute supply-side pressures fanning inflation, the economic slowdown has removed close to $90bn from global ad market growth prospects this year and next,” says WARC director of data, intelligence and forecasting James McDonald.

However, he adds “brand are still spending” as Covid recovery continues, and “global ad trade remains on course to top $1trn in value by 2025”.

“Platforms with rich sources of first-party data – most notably Amazon, Google and Apple – are well placed to weather future headwinds by offering measured performance in a climate where return on investment becomes paramount,” he says.

Twitter whistleblower says company ‘deceived’ users

TwitterPeiter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, has accused the company of covering up security flaws and fake accounts.

Zatko was fired by Twitter at the start of 2022, having been brought in by former CEO Jack Dorsey following the company’s hack in July 2020.

The whistleblower alleges that Twitter violated an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding cyber security precautions, and suggested deception at the company around fake or spam accounts – something that could help bolster Elon Musk’s court case.

Zakto has also alleged that Twitter had “foreign agents” on its payroll with “unsupervised access to the company’s systems and user data”.

The claims come after a Twitter employee was found guilty in San Francisco of spying for Saudi Arabia by sharing personal information of users criticising the country’s rulers earlier in August.

“What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” says Twitter.

“Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders.”

READ MORE: Twitter covered up security flaws and fake accounts, says whistleblower

Sustainable period care brand Here We Flo launches in Superdrug

The female-founded, eco-friendly organic period care brand Here We Flo is launching in 161 Superdrug stores across the UK this week.

The brand, which created April’s “most effective” TV ad earlier this year, as reported by Marketing Week, previously launched in 500 Target stores and 500 Wholefoods stores in the US, as well as in Boots, Holland & Barrett and WHSmiths in the UK.

Superdrug chief commercial officer Simon Comins emphasises his excitement in adding the brand to the retailer’s roster of sustainable period products.

“Flo is a female-founded brand that has great eco-friendly credentials – we’re sure shoppers wanting to make more sustainable choices in their shops will be excited to see the brand on offer,” he says.

Every year 5% of the brand’s total profits are donated to charity, such as the period poverty fighting organisation Bloody Good Period and LGBTQ+ homelessness charity, akt.

Branston Pickle celebrates 100th anniversary with launch of ‘Braviar’

Branston Pickle is marking its 1o0th anniversary with the launch of ‘Braviar’, a Branston Pickle caviar, alongside a commemorative tin.

The brand suggestions the new addition can be “enjoyed as a swanky spin on the iconic cheese and pickle combo”. Branston also emphasises that the ‘Braviar’ doesn’t contain actual caviar, so is suitable for vegans.

The brand wanted to “do something special to mark the occasion and pay tribute to Branston’s iconic status as one of Britain’s best loved condiments in a unique and unexpected way”, says senior brand manager Angharad Wilson Dyer Gough.

“We took our iconic taste and created a product that is the epitome of luxury and celebration, offering our fans the chance to experience this unique creation at home and celebrate our 100 years with us.”

Tuesday, 23 August 

TwitterElon Musk summons Twitter founder to help fight legal battle

Elon Musk has summoned Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to appear in court to support his legal fight against the social media giant.

The Tesla CEO has issued a subpoena to Dorsey to attend the court case in October, in the hope he can support Musk’s argument that Twitter played down the volume of fake accounts on the platform. Formerly Twitter CEO and a friend of Musk, Dorsey initially supported the $44bn (£36.5bn) takeover, tweeting in April: “Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”

However, since then the deal has gone sour. Twitter is suing Musk to force him to complete the $44bn (£36.5bn) takeover agreed in April. The Tesla boss is countersuing the social media giant, claiming Twitter “overstated” the scale of daily active users who see ads, a number he alleges is in fact 65 million lower than reported.

While Musk insists figures provided by the platform to the US financial watchdog are “inaccurate and have distorted the value” of the company, Twitter says his allegations have “cast a pall over” the business.

Last week, the veracity of the Tesla CEO’s method for calculating the scale of bots was questioned. Musk’s legal team used online tool Botometer to estimate a third (33%) of “visible accounts” on the social media platform are fake, despite Twitter consistently saying bots make up fewer than 5% of daily users.

Botometer’s creator Kaicheng Yang told the BBC the 33% figure generated by Musk’s team “doesn’t mean anything”, as the tool cannot give “definitive answers” as to whether an account is a bot or not, and much depends on the threshold score chosen. The legal documents fail to make clear the threshold used to reach the 33% figure.

If Musk loses his legal battle in October he will be forced to complete the $44bn Twitter acquisition.

READ MORE: Elon Musk subpoenas Jack Dorsey ahead of Twitter court battle

Adidas to remove CEO three years early in search of a ‘restart’

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Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted will leave his role in 2023, three years earlier than planned, as the brand looks to “pave the way for a restart”.

Rorsted, who joined the German sportswear giant in 2016 from his role as Henkel CEO, will remain in position until his successor is appointed, the search for whom is already underway.

“After three challenging years that were marked by the economic consequences of the Covid-19-pandemic and geo-political tensions, it is now the right time to initiate a CEO transition and pave the way for a restart,” says chairman of the supervisory board, Thomas Rabe.

The Adidas chairman highlighted Rorsted’s “major achievements” over the past six years, noting the CEO had “strategically repositioned the company and fast-forwarded its digital transformation”, growing online sales by a factor of more than five.

Rabe noted how during Rorsted’s tenure Adidas had doubled sales in the North America market, famously dominated by US rival Nike, while under his watch the share of women in leadership positions had “increased significantly”. He also called out the successful divestiture of the TaylorMade, CCM Hockey and Reebok businesses, which have enabled the company to focus on the core Adidas brand.

Rorsted admitted it has required “huge efforts” to master the “significant” disruption caused to the business by “several external factors” over recent years. However, the outgoing CEO claims the brand is heading in “the right direction” with double-digit growth across 85% of its business, the goal being to accelerate this growth in the coming months.

In August, Adidas reported supply chain constraints fuelled by last year’s lockdowns in Vietnam had reduced its top-line growth by around €200m (£167m) during the second quarter, while its decision to suspend operations in Russia reduced revenues by more than €100m (£84m).

At the time, Rorsted also noted the Chinese market was performing “slower than expected” due to Covid restrictions, with sales down 35%.

A month prior, Adidas issued a profit warning owing to the slow recovery in China. The sportswear giant said it expected total company revenues to grow at a mid- to high-single-digit rate in 2022, whereas previously it had predicted the lower end of a 11% to 13% range of growth.

The “less favourable market mix” driven by lower-than-expected revenues in China and initiatives to clear excess inventories in that market saw Adidas round its gross margin down to 49%, compared to previous estimates of 50.7%.

Ben & Jerry’s loses legal fight against Unilever to block sales in West Bank

Ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s has lost its legal bid to prevent parent company Unilever from selling its products in Israeli West Bank Settlements.

Ben & Jerry’s had planned not to renew its licence with local partner – American Quality Products (AQP) – which made and distributed the ice cream in the West Bank, saying selling in the settlements was “inconsistent” with its values. However, in June Unilever sold the brand’s Israeli licence to AQP owner Avi Zinger, a decision Ben & Jerry’s disputed.

The ice cream brand sought an injunction to block the move, claiming Unilever’s decision to sell to Zinger was “made without the consent of Ben & Jerry’s independent board” and went against the merger agreement to protect the founder’s values and reputation, the Guardian reports.

Despite the legal arguments, a US federal judge ruled Ben & Jerry’s had “failed to demonstrate” the move to sell its products  in the Israeli West Bank Settlements caused the brand “irreparable harm”. The judge also ruled arguments the company’s messaging could be harmed or customers could become confused about its core values was “too speculative”.

Unilever acquired the ice cream firm in 2000 for $326m (£276m), a deal which handed Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board rights to “take decisions about its social mission”.

Speaking in June about the decision to sell to Zinger, Unilever said that given it “reserved primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions”, it had the right to enter the arrangement.

The FMCG giant defended the sale, saying it followed an extensive consultation over several months, including with the Israeli government. Unilever currently employs 2,000 people in Israel and says it has invested €250m (£212m) in the business over the past decade across its four local manufacturing plants and network of 2,000 local suppliers.

READ MORE: Ben & Jerry’s lose bid to block sale of ice-cream in Israeli West Bank settlements

Convenience stores benefit from heatwave as UK reaches ‘peak inflation’

InflationUK shoppers spent £3.6bn on groceries at convenience stores in the four weeks to 13 August, accounting for 28.9% of sales.

According to NielsenIQ data, over the four-week period total till grocery sales remained strong with growth of 4.5%, while sales at convenience stores rose 5.4%. The statistics show convenience stores experienced an uplift in volume sales of 2.7%, compared with a decline in volume sales across supermarkets of 3.8%.

Some 21% of total sales within convenience stores were on fresh foods, where value sales increased by 13%. Sales of frozen foods within a convenience store setting jumped 29%, with sales of produce up 8%.

The opportunity to socialise amid the warm weather saw consumers choose to shop locally, with sales of ice cubes (up 44%), ice cream (31%) and frozen desserts and cakes (31%) all experiencing category volume growth.

With the summer holidays increasing travel opportunities and the heatwave encouraging shoppers to visit stores more often, in-store visits rose by 8%. As a result, online sales decreased by 8.7% and the online share of FMCG sales fell to 11.3%, down from 11.5% in July and a 12.9% share a year ago, according to NielsenIQ.

Aldi maintained a 10% market share over the 12 weeks to 13 August, making it the fourth biggest retailer in terms of sales, behind Tesco (26.8%), Sainsburys (13.8%) and Asda (12.6%). Morrisons and Waitrose were the only retailers to experience a sales decline over the 12 weeks. M&S sales were up over 7% and shopper penetration in the last four weeks reached almost 20% of British households.

The extra visits to local stores saw sales at Co-op outlets increase by 9%, making it the fastest growing retailer during the heatwave.

However, shoppers continue to be “very cautious” about how much they spend on groceries, resulting in the fall in volume sales at supermarkets, notes NielsenIQ UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins.

“The market may have recovered from a low point in March, but we are now seeing the start of ‘peak inflation’ and we anticipate shoppers will need to reign in their spending again after the ‘back to school’ period in a few weeks’ time,” says Watkins.

“As inflation continues to bite, retailers that focus on saving shoppers’ money will be the ones that maintain sales momentum and it will those who are most agile and are able to adapt to another change in shopper behaviour that will be able to weather the storm. The battle for loyalty is not going away especially in a time where basket spends are falling and shopper promiscuity is up.”

Tesco Bank names Tracy Abraham as chief customer officer

Tesco Bank has appointed Tracy Abraham as chief customer officer, with responsibility for developing the offering across the brand’s banking, insurance and money services propositions.

Abraham, who joins from her role as group marketing director at The AA, will report directly to Tesco Bank CEO Gerry Mallon and has a seat on the bank’s executive committee. She will be involved in the marketing of new products, including the continued rollout of Tesco Clubcard Pay+, launched in January as a new way for shoppers to pay, save and pick up extra Clubcard points.

Last year the business also acquired Tesco Underwriting, enabling the bank to create an end-to-end insurance firm designed to help shoppers protect their cars and homes.

Mallon credits Abraham’s breadth of experience and customer focus, describing these skills as “invaluable” as the bank develops its strategy of delivering products which “closely align” to customer needs.

The new Tesco Bank chief customer officer kicked off her career in communications in the mid-1990s as an entertainment publicist at Channel 4, before joining Channel 5 in 1996 to set up the fledgling broadcaster’s press office from scratch.

Abraham then returned to Channel 4, assuming the role of marketing manager for entertainment in 1999, with responsibility for implementing all on and off-air marketing plans for the broadcaster’s arts and entertainment programming.

In 2000, she was appointed Microsoft head of UK marketing, with responsibility for all consumer marketing and PR, before returning to Channel 4 five years later for a third stint, this time as head of marketing and communications, digital media.

By 2011, Abraham had been appointed CEO of the Jewish Chronicle, a role she held for three years prior to joining Hearst as strategic operations director. During her time at Hearst, she launched the first two diversification businesses for the Good Housekeeping brand.

Next, Abraham took on the acting CMO role at Monzo, a six-month contract during which she developed the brand, accelerated customer acquisition and lead the digital bank’s first crowdfunding raise.

In 2015, she was appointed as CMO at insurance product business CPP Group, leading the firm’s transformation from B2B2C to DTC, alongside a full global rebrand. Two years later, Abraham took on a one-year contract as marketing director at Experian, before joining The AA in 2019.

Monday, 22 August 

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P&O Ferries will not face criminal action over redundancies

P&O Ferries will not face criminal action over its decision to make almost 800 of its staff redundant without notice.

In March this year, 786 staff were told over video call they were losing their jobs. These staff were replaced with agency workers who came at a cheaper cost to the company, and are being paid less than minimum wage. Following the decision, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng asked government agency the Insolvency Service to look into whether any criminal offences had been committed.

However, the Insolvency Service has now released a statement, which finds there is “no realistic prospect of a conviction”.

“After a full and robust criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the employees who were made redundant by P&O Ferries, we have concluded that we will not commence criminal proceedings,” a spokesperson for the government agency says.

The head of Nautilus International, a union for maritime workers, say the decision will be extremely disappointing for the workers who were “cruelly discarded” by P&O Ferries. General secretary of the union Mark Dickinson also points to the record profits reported by the company only a day before the decision.

Despite claiming back in March that replacing its permanent staff with cheaper agency workers was the only way forward to ensure “future viability” of P&O Ferries, last week, Dubai-based parent company, DP World, said it had made a profit of $884m (£736m) over the six months to the end of June.

After the profit announcement was made, transport secretary Grant Shapps had claimed P&O Ferries would have “no choice in law” but to pay crew members the minimum wage and should reverse the decision now before they are legally forced to.

READ MORE: P&O will not face criminal action after firing almost 800 workers, Insolvency Service says

Google Pixel and KFC Delivery announced as ITV World Cup 2022 sponsors

Google Pixel and KFC Delivery will sponsor ITV’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 coverage. The 50/50 sponsorship deal will kick off in November when the tournament starts and run through to the final on 18 December.

It will cover broadcast, digital and social media content across official ITV Football platforms. The deal was arranged in partnership with ITV, Mindshare and Media Futures Group, Google’s agency with EssenceMediacom.

ITV shares broadcast rights for the 2022 World Cup with the BBC. It says it will show England’s group game against the USA and will have picks one and two of the round of 16 and first pick of the quarter-final stages.

With the tournament taking place in November and December where people in the UK will be experiencing dark winter nights, KFC will use the sponsorship as part of its promotion of the variety of KFC Delivery options available to consumers.

“We can’t guarantee that football is coming home for a second time this year, but there’s one thing we are sure about: KFC is,” says KFC CMO Jack Hinchliffe.

“We’ll be bringing delicious fried chicken to millions of homes across the nation with KFC Delivery and that’s why we are proud to sponsor ITV’s World Cup coverage.”

Financial watchdog cautions buy now, pay later brands over influencer ads


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned buy now, pay later (BNPL) companies about ads and influencer posts that break rules by not flagging the potential risks of such products to consumers.

The watchdog has written to BNPL companies such as Klarna and Clearpay stating it is aware of influencer ads which fail to flag the risks, such as falling into debt. The FCA says it will take action over these if non-compliance continues.

“For example, we use a wide range of enforcement powers, criminal, civil and regulatory, such as withdrawing permissions and issuing fines,” the FCA wrote in its letter to BNPL bosses.

Financial promotions must explain the risks associated with unaffordable debt and missed payments, say regulations.

“As we face a cost-of-living crisis, consumers are having to make difficult decisions about their finances and how they pay for goods and services,” says FCA executive director Sheldon Mills.

“Firms need to ensure consumers, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, are equipped with the right information at the right time, so they can make effective, timely and properly informed decisions.”

One of the most prominent BNPL brands, Klarna told The Guardian that its ads do provide consumers with the information they need.

“Our advertising promotes responsible spending and our financial promotions already comply with the FCA rules,” its spokesperson said

Klarna said it shared the FCA’s concerns “because not all BNPL providers operate to the same high standards as Klarna”.

READ MORE: Buy now, pay later firms in UK warned over influencer ads on social media

Amazon halts roll-out of physical grocery stores in the UK

Amazon has reportedly halted the expansion of its checkout-free Amazon Fresh grocery chain in the UK, amid lacklustre sales.

The Times reports the ecommerce giant has walked away from dozens of UK sites where it was intending to build new branches of its convenience chain. The newspaper reports that any new Amazon Fresh openings in the UK this year will only be in locations where the company has committed to the lease.

Amazon has opened 19 of the stores in the UK since last March, when it initially launched the concept in the UK in Ealing, West London. The online retailer had reportedly planned to open hundreds of stores in the UK.

In the US it currently has 38 stores, with branches in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC.

However, reportedly sales in the UK Fresh stores launched so far have been lacklustre, with most falling under sales targets. This has caused Amazon to reconsider its rollout plans.

Amazon plans to revisit the rollout plans in a year to 18 months to reassess.

READ MORE: Amazon halts expansion of self-checkout supermarkets

EE launches latest Kevin Bacon ad

EE has deployed a skydiving Kevin Bacon in its latest brand campaign “Stay Connected Data”.

The ad sees actor Kevin Bacon fall through the sky helplessly, before being rescued by a timely parachute. The ad draws comparison between the feeling of falling and realising you’re running out of data.

It is directed by James Gray, the film writer and director with credits including Ad Astra, The Immigrant and We Own The Night. The ad is also a nod to the parachute scene in Ad Astra, which sees Brad Pitt’s character in the movie plummet towards the earth with a parachute.

The 30-second ad, developed by EE’s advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi London, sees Kevin Bacon helplessly twist towards the ground, before deploying his parachute and then serenely floating to safety. The parachute is intended to represent EE’s Stay Connected Data, which allows customers unlimited backup on essential apps like Whatsapp and Maps, saving them from that sinking feeling when their data runs out.

The ad debuted over the weekend with a slot on ITV1’s “Epic Game Show” on Saturday evening. The campaign will also run across out of home (OOH) and video on demand (VOD) channels, with edits and content developed specifically for a range of digital and social channels.



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