Google, Amazon, Mothercare: 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.

Google ad revenues rocket 16% to $32.6bn

Google saw its revenue from advertising rise by 16% year-on-year to $32.6bn (£26.1bn) in the second quarter of 2019, led by growth in mobile search and ads on YouTube.

Google’s parent company Alphabet had reported a slowdown in revenue growth during the first quarter of this year, which led to speculation that the search advertising market was rapidly maturing or a wider crackdown on offensive content on YouTube had impacted audience engagement and advertising in general.

However, during the results update Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat stated that the “Removal of content . . . had virtually no impact on YouTube revenues.”

During the second quarter Google’s parent company Alphabet spent $4.2bn (£3.4bn) on sales and marketing, contributing to a total spend of $8.1bn (£6.5bn) during the first six months of 2019.

This is, however, less than was invested in research and development during the second quarter ($6.2bn/£5bn) and over the first six months of this year ($12.2bn/£9.8bn).

READ MORE: Google advertising rebound propels revenues higher

Amazon ad revenue soars to $3bn

Amazon’s advertising business grew by 37% to $3bn (£2.4bn) in the second quarter of 2019, while growth in its subscriptions arm rose by 37% year on year to $4.7bn (£3.7bn).

During the same period Amazon invested £307m (£247m) in marketing, an increase of 62% year on year.

The online giant did, however, miss earnings estimates due to its move to Amazon Prime one-day shipping, which “reinvigorated revenue growth” but cost more than the company anticipated, according to reports in the Financial Times. During the second quarter Amazon’s shipping costs rose 36% to $8.1bn (£6.5bn) and total operating expenses increased by 21% to $60.3bn (£48.3bn).

However, overall revenues grew by 20% year on year to $63.4bn (£50.8bn).

Amazon pointed to expansion during the second quarter of its Amazon Go checkout-free experience to two new stores in New York, taking the total to 13 stores across the US.

The company also noted the addition of Lady Gaga’s HAUS Laboratories make-up range to Amazon Beauty, as well as the roll-out of new shopping experiences on Amazon Fashion, including The Drop, which gives customers exclusive access to limited-edition collections designed by fashion influencers via the Amazon App.

READ MORE: Amazon profits miss as one-day shipment costs bite

Mothercare plans to spin-off UK stores as an independent franchise

Mothercare is planning to spin off its struggling UK retail operations as an independent franchise.

In a trading update, chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said the maternity retailer’s immediate priority was “to complete the transformation of the business with a near-term focus on evolving and optimising the ownership, structure and model for our UK retail operations as an independent franchise”.

The statement did not specify which potential franchise partners Mothercare is in talks with. Any deal would cover the retailer’s remaining 79 UK stores.

Last year the business avoided collapse by closing down 55 stores and signing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors.

Elsewhere in the trading update, Mothercare said UK like-for-like sales were down 3.2% year on year in the 15 weeks to 13 July.

Online sales were also down by 12.1% during the period, due in part to the impact of the extensive store closure programme.

Newton-Jones confirmed that Mothercare would press ahead with plans to develop its international franchising model going forward.

“We have recently presented the newly designed global product range and the global brand marketing campaign to our franchise partners, both of which have received a positive response,” he said.

READ MORE: Mothercare kicks off talks to offload struggling UK arm

TSB back in profit following IT meltdown

TSB is on track to make a first half profit of £21.1m versus a loss of £107.4m last year when a failed IT migration cost the bank £330m, caused 80,000 customers to switch to rivals and forced the resignation of its CEO Paul Pester.

Parent company Banco Sabadell described the past six months as a “turning point” for TSB, which recorded a 2.6% increase in deposits and 1.2% growth in loans in the first half of 2019. Mortgages amounted to £2.9bn at the end of June, representing a year-on-year increase of 13%.

Meanwhile current accounts being opened by SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) rose by 6% and savings from SMEs grew by 25%. TSB has cut the average amount of time it takes to onboard an SME customer from 20 days to less than three.

The bank’s mobile NPS is almost back to pre-migration levels, while the use of TSB’s mobile app has increased by 10% in the first half of the year. The roll-out of new tech continues with the launch of a feature on the UK mobile app that allows customers to open a bank account remotely with a selfie.

Debbie Crosbie, who became TSB chief executive in May, says the bank’s new chapter was underpinned by “improving business performance and strong fundamentals”.

She adds: “My priority, along with my new executive team, will be to renew our focus on our customers and create our three-year strategy.”

This is a significant turnaround for TSB which, following the botched IT migration, is thought to have spent a total of £125m on customer compensation, £49m to cover fraud and operational losses, £122m to fix its tech systems and £34m in lost income due to waived fees and charges.

Australia to open world’s first office to police social media giants

Australia intends to open the world’s first office dedicated to policing Facebook and Google.

The Australian government will open a special branch of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) antitrust watchdog intended to scrutinise how the social media giants use algorithms to match ads with viewers.

According to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the aim of the new office will be to “lift the veil” on how Facebook and Google collect and monetise users’ data.

“These companies are among the most powerful and valuable in the world,” Frydenberg told reporters. “They need to be held to account and their activities need to be more transparent.”

He added that the $5.1bn fine served to Facebook by the US Government in recent days shows regulators are taking breaches of privacy extremely seriously.

Reuters reports that the opening of the new office to police the social media platforms was one of 23 recommendations in the ACCC report, including the need to strengthen privacy laws, seek protections for the news media and create a code of conduct to govern how internet giants profit from user content.

READ MORE: Australia to ‘lift veil’ on Facebook, Google algorithms to protect privacy

Thursday, 25 July


Facebook ad revenue soars despite $5bn fines over privacy concerns

Facebook’s revenues soared to $16.9bn in the second quarter of 2019 as ongoing concerns over the social network’s data practices and mounting worries about competition in the social media space failed to dent its performance.

Revenue was up 28% year on year, while both daily and monthly active users increased by 8% to 1.59 billion and 2.41 billion respectively. The results show how both consumers and advertisers are continuing to use the social network despite ongoing scrutiny of its business practices.

The US government has fined Facebook more than $5.1bn over the past few days as it settled investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. Both fines came as a result of the Cambridge Analytica revelations and questions over its data practices.

The FTC says it found repeated violations of an order it issued in 2012 barring Facebook from deceiving users about how it uses their data, as well as evidence of “a new set of deceptive practices” around data collection. Facebook agreed to the fine and is introducing new corporate governance procedures around privacy, but has not admitted wrongdoing.

However, it remains under fire from regulators, with the FTC currently running an anti-competition investigation and the Department of Justice announcing a broader review of competition online.

Unilever cuts brand and marketing investment as it ups focus on digital spend

Unilever cut brand and marketing investment in the second quarter as it continues to benefit from its shift to zero-based budgeting and ups its focus on digital spend.

Both beauty and personal, and home care saw improved profit margins as the FMCG giant drove “efficiencies” in brand and marketing investment and overheads. That helped overall profit margins to increase by 50 basis points.

More broadly, Unilever saw underlying sales rise 3.3% year on year in Q2, with 1.2% of that growth from volume and 2.1% from price. Emerging markets were a particular high point, with sales up 6.2%, led by Asia where there was broad-based geographic growth.

Beauty and personal care was up 3.3%, led by deodorants and its prestige brands, while home care underlying sales increased 7.4%. Food and refreshment saw the weakest growth, at just 1.7%, in part due to low ice cream sales in Europe and the US following a cool start to the summer.

CEO Alan Jope says: “We have delivered consistent growth within our guided range for 2019, led by our emerging markets. Accelerating growth remains our top priority and we continue to evolve our portfolio and seek out fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations.”

“Our sustainable business model and portfolio of purpose-led brands are key to delivering superior long-term financial performance.”

Nicky Morgan appointed as new culture secretary

Nicky Morgan has been appointed the culture secretary as part of new prime minister Boris Johnson’s shake-up of the UK government. She replaces Jeremy Wright, who had been in the position for just over a year.

Morgan is the MP for Loughborough and has previously served in the cabinet under the latter years of David Cameron’s tenure as PM as the education secretary and minister for women and equalities. Most recently, she was chair of the treasury select committee.

On moving to the new role, the MP says: “An enormous privilege to take on this fabulous role – although I’m sad to move on from Commons Treasury which I have absolutely loved chairing. Thank you to my fellow Select Committee members & committee staff.”

Morgan’s appointment marks the fourth culture secretary in a little over a year and a half, after Wright, Matt Hancock, who held the post for just six months, and Karen Bradley. Morgan faces a number of key challenges, including investigations into the digital advertising market and concerns about attracting talent after Brexit.

Diageo credits ‘culture of everyday efficiency’ as it ups marketing investment

Diageo has said creating a “culture of everyday efficiency” has it enabled it to increase marketing spend and up investment behind its brands.

Marketing investment was up 8%, ahead of net sales growth, driving a 22 basis points higher investment rate in the year to the end of June, while investment between 2017 and 2019 was up 30 basis points. At the same time, operating margin increased 83 basis points in 2019 and 198 basis points since 2017.

Diageo says it expects to “further up-weight” its overall marketing investment in the year to the end of June 2020, focusing on the US, as well as smaller and new-to-world brands.

Speaking on a webcast today following the company’s preliminary results, CEO Ivan Menezes says: “We have successfully embedded a culture of everyday efficiency in the business. This has allowed us to up-weight our investment behind our brands to fuel long-term growth while improving spend effectiveness through the use of cutting edge analytical tools.”

That increased investment has come as Diageo posts growth, with reported net sales up 5.8% year on year to £12.9bn for the year to the end of June, while reported operating profit was up 9.5% to £4bn.

Ad regulator teams up with ITV to help Love Island contestants navigate social media ad rules

The Advertising Standards Authority is partnering with ITV to give contestants on its hit show Love Island advice and help on how to navigate the rules around advertising on social media when they leave the villa.

The ASA has created an ‘advertising survival kit’ that aims to equip contestants with the tools they need to ensure they are clear to followers if and when content they post is paid for by a brand or advertiser. The rules around social media advertising clearly state that if an influencer is paid to post they must label that post clearly as an ad, preferably using #ad.

On top of the checklist, the ASA will work with ITV to provide advice and training resources. The aim is to avoid the ASA having to investigate Love Island contestants for breaching the ad code.

ASA chief executive, Guy Parker says: “Our checklist is a quick and effective way of helping Love Islanders ensure their social media posts stick to the rules and avoid misleading their followers. Our message is simple: make sure you’re upfront and clear when you’re being paid to post.”

CIM aims to improve standing of marketing by accrediting business degrees

The Chartered Institute of Marketing has recognised the business degrees of two universities as it expands its ‘recognition programme’ to marketing content taught as part of wider business courses. The hope is that in doing so, the importance of marketing as a business function will be raised, while ensuring that marketing content of non-marketing courses reaches industry standards.

Business degrees at both Derby and Sheffield Hallam universities are the first to be recognised. At Derby, its BA in business management has received recognised status, while Sheffield Hallam’s BSc and MSc courses in sports business management have been recognised.

Maggie Jones, director of qualifications and partnerships at CIM, says: “There has been demand for universities to map their marketing content within their degrees to our recognised status. Both Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Derby set the benchmark for other leading universities to follow suit by enhancing and differentiating their learning propositions.

“The new programme ensures a greater level of synergy between CIM and the UK leading universities, while adding value to the qualification’s students receive. This in turn helps students achieve their professional goals.”

Wednesday, 24 July

ITV ad revenue down in first half

ITV has reported a “better than expected” 5% decrease in ad revenue for the first half of 2019, largely thanks to Love Island – which will air twice a year from 2020 – providing a “strong finish” to the half.

Total ad revenue fell to £849m for the period ending 30 June, down from £890m in the same period in 2018.

The broadcaster’s online business performed strongly, with revenue up18%, viewing up 13% and monthly active users up 37%.

Overall, total external revenue was down 7% to a little under £1.5bn.

“The economic and political environment remains uncertain but we are very focused on delivering our strategy and creating a stronger, more diversified and structurally sound business to enable ITV to take advantage of evolving viewing and advertising opportunities,” says ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall.

“We are making good progress in each area of our strategy as we become an increasingly digital entertainment company. BritBox is set to launch in Q4, as is our new programmatic addressable advertising platform, and we are accelerating our digital and data capabilities.”

ITV anticipates the volatile macro-environment to continue to impact the demand for advertising and is forecasting total advertising revenue to be in a range of -1% to 1% in the third quarter.

ITV reports it now has more than 500,000 subscribers to its on-demand platform Hum+ and over 650,000 BritBox US subscribers.

Thomas Cook launches summer marketing campaign

Thomas Cook has launched a multi-million-pound advertising push to “remind” holidaymakers what its holidays are about.

Featuring the strapline ‘This Is Thomas Cook’, the new campaign targets both families and adults using imagery to encourage people to picture themselves by the pool, on the beach and in the sea.

“There’s no denying it’s been a tough 12 months for the travel industry from last summer’s prolonged heatwave to Brexit uncertainty and clearly Thomas Cook has been making headlines quite a bit recently,” says Phil Gardner, sales, e-commerce & marketing director at Thomas Cook UK.

“Our new campaign aims to remind the Great British public that Thomas Cook is here to help make memories that will last a lifetime. As always our own-brand hotels sit at the heart of what we offer to our customers and show that we have our finger on the pulse to curate holidays that best suit our customers’ needs – today and in the future.”

The campaign will run across TV, radio (including DAX and Spotify), print, online and out-of-home.

Budweiser signs deal with Premier League and LaLiga

Budweiser has signed multi-year partnerships with two of the top international football leagues, the Premier League and LaLiga, in an effort to bring fans closer to footballers through a series of unique programmes across the globe.

The AB InBev-owned beer brand will create opportunities for people to celebrate their favourite players both on and off the pitch, with the year-long campaign including exclusive parties for fans, limited edition packaging in retail showcasing the league trophies, as well as content about the players.

“These partnerships will allow us to further connect with key consumers and football fans across the globe,” says Pedro Earp, CMO at AB InBev. “We are passionate about football, and so are our consumers, so we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate the sport, the players, and most importantly, the fans.”

The sponsorship will kick-off the football season in August with Budweiser’s largest integrated marketing campaign this year, which includes a new TV ad, out-of-home campaign and new packaging design.

TikTok unveils first travel campaign in the UK

TikTok is launching its first travel campaign in the UK in a bid to incentivise its users to discover their local area and move away from tourist spotlights.

The #HiddenGem campaign, which is open to all UK users, asks people to share short-videos with their “hidden gems”, which might be a secret camping spot, unknown restaurant or somewhere scenic off the beaten track.

As part of the campaign, TikTok commissioned a nationwide study to find out more about under 40s’s thoughts on travel and tourism and the types of experiences they seek out.

The study found that 85% of millennial Brits pride themselves on seeking out unusual sights and destinations.

38% say they seek out ‘hidden gems’, spots mostly known by locals, while over 53% try local cuisine, 35% “immerse” themselves in the local culture, and 29% claim they always read up on local customs before they make the trip.

Ticketmaster bolsters senior marketing team

Ticketmaster has promoted Kathryn Frederik to chief marketing officer and made two new senior marketing hires.

Alongside Frederik, StubHub’s David Eisenberg joins as vice president of partnership marketing while Fox Sports’s Andrew Samson will take on the role of vice president of brand marketing.

Frederik, who joined Ticketmaster in 2015 and previously served as senior vice president of growth and insights, will report to Amy Howe, president and chief operating officer of Ticketmaster North America.

“Since joining Ticketmaster, Kat has built the tools and strategies that have made her team the market leaders in customer acquisition,” Howe says.

“In her new role as Chief Marketing Officer, she will continue to develop innovative solutions for Ticketmaster and our clients to further engage fans across all our channels from the initial event search to the event itself and beyond.”

Tuesday, 23 July

Coca-Cola pledges to aid aspiring footballers via new campaign

Coca-Cola has enlisted former footballer Jermaine Jenas for its new campaign, which aims to highlight the challenges young people encounter when gaining support from coaches and finding spaces to play football.

The company’s ‘Ball Games Allowed’ initiative is designed to address the fact that 50% of young people say it’s difficult to play football in their local community due to restrictions on outside space or a lack of coaching staff.

In research, Coca-Cola found that 49% of 16- to 25-year olds say they have a ‘no ball games’ sign near their home, 86% believe they would benefit from having football coaches in their community and 68% would benefit from having safe spaces to play.

The campaign captures Jenas shining a light on the lack of football spaces and coaches in local communities, meeting aspiring players and sharing their love of the game.

Through its longstanding partnership with StreetGames, Coca-Cola is pledging to unlock access to coaches and pitches as part of a new multi-brand on-pack promotion that will also offer consumers the opportunity to win tickets to Premier League matches.

Government delays Huawei 5G decision

The government has delayed its decision on whether Chinese telecoms giant Huawei should be excluded from the rollout of 5G, meaning the tech firm’s equipment will continue to be used across the UK’s 5G mobile networks for now.

The BBC reports that culture secretary Jeremy Wright says the government is “not yet in a position” to decide what involvement Huawei should have in the 5G network. He says until the US sanctions on Huawei become clear the government would be “wrong” to make a decision.

In May, the US stopped businesses from selling components and technology to Huawei and another 68 related companies due to security concerns, before introducing a temporary licence that enabled some companies to continue supporting existing Huawei networks and devices.

Just last week, MPs called on the government to make a decision on Huawei, citing it as “a matter of urgency” and suggesting delays were hindering international relations.

However, Huawei has continually denied suggestions that use of its products presents security risks.

UK mobile operators are continuing the rollout of 5G, all of them using Huawei equipment.

READ MORE: Huawei: Government decision on 5G rollout delayed

British Airways pilots support summer strike

British Airways (BA) pilots have voted in favour of an August strike over pay, meaning thousands of passengers face potential disruption during a key summer travel period.

Some 93% of BA’s 4,000 pilots voted in favour of taking industrial action after declining a pay deal that includes a pay increase of 11.5% over three years.

The airline is now trying to acquire an injunction to stop a strike, with a hearing due in the high court today, The Guardian reports.

This means The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) could set a strike date for as early as 6 August if the injunction attempt is overthrown and the union provides notice of planned walkouts immediately.

BA says it is “very disappointed” the union is threatening the travel plans of thousands of customers.

“We are very disappointed that Balpa has chosen to threaten the travel plans of thousands of our customers, over the summer holidays, with possible strike action. We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action and we urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible,” the airline says in a statement.

Balpa general secretary, Brian Strutton, says the mandate, on a 90% turnout, demonstrated the need for BA to improve its offer if it wants to avoid strike action.

He adds: “Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands. We do not wish to inconvenience our customers which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November. It is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”

READ MORE: British Airways pilots back August strike.

Ted Baker shares rocket amid news its ex-boss is considering a buyout

Shares in Ted Baker have climbed following news that the fashion retailer’s founder Ray Kelvin is considering buying the company. Kelvin stepped down as chief executive in March amid allegations of misconduct toward staff including an alleged ‘hugging policy’.

The Guardian reports that Kelvin, who already owns 35% of Ted Baker and had been CEO since the company’s launch in 1988, is prepared to support a deal to take the company private.

Shares in the business climbed more than 16% to 976.25p following the news.

The potential buyout comes after Ted Baker’s shares lost more than a quarter of their value last month when the company warned that underlying profit for the year would fall short of analysts’ estimates.

Since Kelvin’s departure, his former finance director Lindsay Page has been running the company.

READ MORE: Ted Baker soars on reports founder Ray Kelvin considering buyout.

Newport County latest club to join Paddy Power campaign

Newport County is the latest club to join Paddy Power’s Save Our Shirt campaign, with the Welsh club declaring its kits would be ‘unsponsored’ this season.

The Exiles join Championship side Huddersfield Town and Scottish Premiership outfit Motherwell in shedding their sponsors.

The move is part of wider marketing plans by Paddy Power, which aim to call time on the football shirt sponsorship market with a new campaign lobbying brands to keep kits commercially clean.

The Save Our Shirt campaign follows a hoax marking the bookmaker’s first foray into football sponsorship courtesy of a year-long deal with Championship side Huddersfield Town.

The campaign is designed to return the sacred shirt to the fans by removing their logo from them completely.

A spokesperson at Paddy Power says: “Newport County are the latest team to join our Save Our Shirt movement, which sees their shirt go sponsor-free for the upcoming season.

“We’re sure the fans are excited to shed their sponsor as they head into League Two following their play-off heroics.”

Monday, 22 July

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Digital advertising growth set to be overtaken by cinema

Cinema is set to overtake digital advertising as the fastest-growing marketing medium for the first time in two decades.

Digital advertising is forecast to grow by 10% globally next year, the lowest level since 2001, according to research by the global media agency group Zenith. In contrast, cinema advertising is forecast to see 12% growth.

The slowdown in digital growth is in part due to brands’ concerns over issues such as brand safety and ad fraud. That means they are seeking less risky choices with traditional media such as cinema and outdoor.

Cinema is also benefitting from a renaissance in attendance in the UK, which its highest levels since 1970 last year.

Outdoor is expected to see 5% growth, with radio on around 2%. The report forecast that TV, newspaper and magazine ad spend will all decline next year.

READ MORE: Internet advertising to grow at slowest rate since 2001 dotcom bust

Former Unilever CEO looks to recruit “heroic” execs to stop inequality

Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman is calling for a group of “heroic chief executives” to help him tackle inequality and climate change.

Polman, who left Unilever last November, was well known for putting the focus on sustainable business while at the FMCG giant. And he taken that focus into his roles since leaving.

In the past year, Polman has invested in Imagine, a foundation to push the UN’s sustainable development goals, and a campaign championing disability rights.

Polman believes it is now a necessity for executives to drive the shift to a low-carbon, more inclusive, way of doing business.

He explains: “If you don’t address inequality and climate change, to keep it simple, a lot more people are going to be dissatisfied, feel not included or left behind, and making these choices of rejection at the ballot box. The fact we are having these issues of populism and schisms in society is exactly because we are not addressing the underlying issue to evolve capitalism and make sure it works for everybody.”

He says it will take a group of “heroic chief executives willing to step up and move outside of the comfort zone and take personal risks” for this to be achieved.

READ MORE: Ex-Unilever boss seeks ‘heroic CEOs’ to tackle climate change and inequality

Whirlpool to launch £1m ad campaign for washing machine recall

Whirlpool is launching an ad campaign to raise awareness of the recall of some of its washing machines.

Whirlpool is recalling an estimated 500,000 tumble dryers – certain models of Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan, and Proline dryers built between 2004 and 2015 – over fire risk concerns, after the government ordered it to take action.

Whirlpool says it has already resolved the issue for 1.7 million customers following a safety campaign in 2015. But consumer groups have criticised the company for not doing enough, leading to the Office for Product Safety and Standards ordering a recall.

The company is now launching a fresh appeal and recall of the unmodified machines – backed by a £1m advertising campaign – as part of a drive to raise consumer awareness.

Whirlpool’s vice-president Jeff Noel defended a decision not to recall dryers when the fault emerged. He told the BBC many cases had been dealt with “faster and sooner” by a programme to fix faulty machines but still apologised for the scandal.

He said: “People’s safety is our top priority, which is why we are expanding this important campaign. We are committed to doing the right thing for our consumers and will continue to take every action possible to resolve this issue. The crucial message is to contact us immediately if you still own one of these tumble dryers and haven’t already had it modified or replaced by us.”

READ MORE: Danger tumble dryers: ‘I’m sorry’ says Whirlpool executive

UK airlines face potential carbon charge

UK airlines are facing a potential carbon charge as the government explores creating a compulsory tax for plane tickets.

Ministers are considering new measures that would require all airlines to introduce carbon offsetting payments at the point of purchase to encourage consumer awareness and help decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Payments would be voluntary but could work on an “opt-out” system. Similar measures could also be applied to trains, buses and ferries.

A flight between London and New York could increase by just under £30, falling to half that when travelling with the most fuel-efficient airlines, according to the Times.

The report by the Department for Transport said the tax would be one way of raising consumer awareness about carbon emissions for different modes of transport.

The report says: “One way to increase uptake could be to follow an opt-out rather than opt-in model, under which the cost of offsetting carbon emissions would be automatically included for consumers.”

The tax could mean that transport operators will have to give passengers information about levels of carbon dioxide associated with their journey. Some airlines do run offsetting schemes, including Ryanair, while other brands like British Airways allow passengers to donate to carbon reduction projects.

Transport accounted for about a third of Britain’s CO2 emissions last year however it is estimated that only half of airlines give passengers the opportunity to offset CO2.

READ MORE: Air travellers to be hit by carbon charge on all tickets

Sleep tech firm urges the nation to ‘take sleep more seriously’

Mattress company Simba is encouraging people to “take sleep more seriously” in a campaign to promotes its new app.

The #TRYFOR8 campaign, featuring international rugby star Maro Itoje, is encouraging Britain to aim for eight hours of sleep a night with the help of its new sleep app.

The digital campaign sees the England rugby star take a workout-like approach to sleep as he encourages consumers to train themselves into better sleeping habits.

The app features a ‘pro-sleep trainer team’ made up of Itoje, Welsh rugby star Jamie Roberts, and health and wellbeing expert Peta Bee. They have created personalised video coaching sessions, tips and advice to help consumers get the right amount of sleep on Simba’s app.

Steve Reid, co-founder and CEO of Simba, says: “Rugby is associated with resilience and a spartan, scientific approach to training. Maro and his support team believe that proper sleep should be disciplined and equally important as training or nutrition. We’ve enlisted Maro to help encourage people to change their approach to sleep. It’s that important.

“The #TryFor8 campaign and the new Simba Sleep app have been created and developed to give everybody the tools they need to try and get eight hours in bed every night and give sleep a chance.”

The majority of people in the UK get six hours of sleep a night despite prolonged poor-quality sleep causing a decline in concentration and mood.