Santander shutters 111 branches
Santander will close 111 branches across the UK by the end of August as consumers rapidly shift to mobile and online banking, a trend accelerated by the current health crisis.
Branch transactions were already declining 33% over the two years before the pandemic started and dropped a further 50% during 2020. Mobile and online transactions meanwhile grew 20% each year with almost two-thirds of overall transactions now digital.
Santander says it will retain “broad” physical retail coverage with a network of 452 branches, current and business account holders can bank using over 11,000 Post Office branches.
A programme will be carried out to support customers reliant on branches, by helping them transfer to digital services or find an open branch. It pledges to proactively contact vulnerable customers to provide individual support.
The bank did not say how many staff will see their job affected but expects to find “suitable alternative roles” for a “significant number” of those staying on.
Santander’s head of branches Adam Bishop says: “Branch usage by customers has fallen considerably over recent years so we have made the difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together. The majority of the closing branches are within three miles of another branch and the furthest is five miles away.”
Tommy Hilfiger appoints new CMO
Tommy Hilfiger has appointed 25-year marketing veteran Alegra O’Hare as CMO, as part of plans to develop its digital and omnichannel marketing strategy to cater to the next generation of consumers.
Most recently she was CMO at Gap where she led the global marketing team, including communications, retail, digital, social media and PR, through digital-first marketing and an multichannel retail approach.
Prior to this role, O’Hare worked at Adidas for 11 years, leading the Adidas Originals sub-division. She has also worked with other global brands such as Bang & Olufsen, Champion, Lee and Wrangler.
O’Hare will begin her role on 12 April and will be tasked with developing and actioning global marketing strategies to engage existing and potential customers.
Tommy Hilfiger Global president and chief brand officer Avery Baker says O’Hare’s appointment is “crucial” for the brand to convey its new direction to consumers through “world-class creative, digital and omnichannel marketing strategies”.
On her appointment, O’Hare says: “Tommy Hilfiger has always been a brand that’s ahead of the curve, and I’m excited to embark on this new journey with the team amid a drastically changed consumer landscape.”
Investors put off by Deliveroo riders working conditions
Private equity companies have said they will not invest in Deliveroo shares over worker rights concerns and a lack of investor control, a blow to the food delivery service which launches its IPO next month.
Aberdeen Standard, Aviva Investors, BMO Global, CCLA, LGIM and M&G say they are refraining from buying shares. The food delivery service hopes to raise £8.8bn in April and claims “significant demand”.
The news follows the ongoing debate surrounding gig-economy workers. Uber lost its case in the supreme court where it said drivers were self-employed and were not entitled to benefits such as paid holidays, a minimum wage and workplace pension.
M&G head of corporate finance and stewardship Rupert Krefting says Deliveroo’s reliance on gig-economy workers poses a risk for investors and points to Uber’s recent court loss.
“Deliveroo’s narrow profit margins could be at risk if it is required to change its rider benefits to catch up with peers,” Krefting adds.
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) highlights an “unequal voting rights” structure, Deliveroo will allow founder and CEO Will Shu to have over 50% of shareholder voting rights.
“It is important to protect minority and end-investors against potential poor management behaviour, that could lead to value destruction and avoidable investor loss,” says LGIM.
IPA unveils effectiveness accreditation scheme
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has launched an effectiveness accreditation programme for agencies, in a bid to spur a culture of advertising effectiveness across the industry.
The IPA says the accreditation will aid agencies in positioning themselves as “as true business growth partners to brands” and help brands to choose the right agencies.
Agency submissions will be assessed by a panel of leading brand owners, academics, authors and renowned effectiveness specialists, chaired by Unilever’s global director of marketing learning and capabilities, Jo Royce. The accreditation will last for two years at a time.
ISBA director general Phil Smith says brands are under “greater pressure than ever” to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of their media investments in delivering return to the bottom line.
“Anything that focuses the industry’s attention on the importance of effectiveness has to be a good thing and we look forward to seeing the impact that this accreditation will deliver,” says Smith.
Ford phases out Mondeo
Ford will cease producing the Mondeo line as consumers shift towards SUVs and lower-emission cars.
Production of the car at the Ford Valencia plant will stop in early 2022, it was launched in 1993 in the UK, selling over 5 million units since.
The automotive giant plans to have all cars sold in the UK to be fully electric by 2030 with every range to include a hybrid or electric choice by 2026.
Almost 40% of sales in Europe of passenger cars were SUVs or crossovers, compared to 30% in the previous year.
Ford of Europe’s vice-president of manufacturing, Kieran Cahill, says: “Today is another step on Ford’s electrification journey, providing a bridge to an all-electric passenger vehicle future.”
Women feel underrepresented in ads
Only a minority of women feel well represented in advertising, according to a report, with most women feeling discriminated against over their body shapes and how they present themselves.
The survey by Getty Images, Dove and Girlgaze finds only 9% of UK women feel represented, while 7% consider themselves well-represented in communications from companies they do business with.
Just under half (45%) of women say they feel discriminated against in advertising due to their body, shape or size and while over a third (36%) report discrimination because of the way they look, dress or present themselves.
Data from the Visual GPS Platform, a project in partnership with Getty Images, Dove and Girlgaze, found there is more work to be done to represent women across age, ethnicity, ability, body shape and size, gender expression, sexual orientation and religious beliefs.
Getty Images global head of creative insights Dr Rebecca Swift, says: “At Getty Images, we understand the power images can have in shaping and breaking stereotypes and inspiring change so seeing the results of #ShowUs just two years in is incredibly rewarding.
“Yet women around the world are telling us they still don’t see themselves represented in visual communications. Everyone responsible for choosing or commissioning content needs to dig deeper.”
Thursday, 25 March
Consumers act on ITV’s purpose-driven campaigns
Some 7.4 million people took action as a result of seeing ITV campaigns last year, according to the broadcaster’s Social Purpose Impact Report. The report outlines the results of activity across four areas where ITV is seeking to make a social impact.
“ITV is a creative force that does more than entertain; we make a difference to British culture in a way that global competitors don’t,” says ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall. “Our four social purpose priorities – better health, diversity & inclusion, climate action and giving back – help us to express that, both on-screen and off-screen.”
ITV’s research shows that 7.4 million people took action after seeing its campaigns for better health. This includes 890,000 children eating more vegetables as a result of its Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, and 6.4 million people connecting with others as a result of the Britain Get Talking campaign.
The Shows We Never Want to Make campaign encouraged 1.3 million viewers to consider their carbon footprint, according to the report.
“Being a purpose-driven business is more important than ever before. Business can and should play its part in driving positive change, and if anything I think 2020 increased the public’s expectation of that,” says McCall.
Live chat service push for Currys PC World
Currys PC World has launched a new TV ad campaign to promote its ShopLive video call service, which connects customers to its tech experts via a live video chat.
The 30-second ad shows how easy it is to use the service, and features in-store staff members rather than actors. The ad will air this evening on Channel 4 and Channel 5, and will show on ITV on 28 March.
The ShopLive service now offers a connection to more than 800 ‘tech-perts’ to guide customers through their purchases, even while physical stores are closed.
“Nothing beats talking to a real person when it comes to tech advice, whether it’s general buying advice or a question on a product feature,” says Currys PC World head of brand, comms and planning Corin Mills.
“The entire Currys PC World team is incredibly proud of the support provided to shoppers to date thanks to ShopLive, and we are all excited to let even more people know about this amazing service, so we can continue to share our expertise throughout this difficult time and beyond.”
Yum! Brands buys into D2C technology
Restaurant group Yum! Brands is seeking to boost its direct to consumer (D2C) capabilities with a deal to acquire Tictuk Technologies, an Israeli omnichannel ordering and marketing platform specialist.
The deal will provide additional ways to let consumers access and order from Yum! brands – including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill – through popular social media platforms. Tictuk specialises in conversational commerce, letting customers complete orders and interact with brands through channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, QR codes and email.
The Tictuk platform has already been deployed in 900 Yum! Restaurants in 35 countries. The restaurant group now plans to scale the offer to make it available in more markets and for more franchisees.
“As we navigate a consumer landscape reshaped by the events of 2020, we continue to intensify our focus on leveraging our scale and reinforcing our growth model with investments in digital and technologies to enhance the customer and employee experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and enable our brands and franchisees to compete and win in a rapidly changing world,” says Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs.
Earlier this month Yum! Brands said it had agreed to buy AI-based consumer insights company Kvantum.
Le Col embraces travel restrictions with new campaign
Cycling apparel brand Le Col has acknowledged that travel to distant locations for exotic cycling holidays is not possible this year, in its latest campaign.
Instead of using images of cyclists ascending European peaks, the brand has instead highlighted its ranges by showing riders in more local beauty spots – with backdrops of the more traditional ad locations behind them.
“For our launch this year we have been able to adapt at lightening pace to build a new marketing campaign that reflects the current challenging environment with ‘of the moment’ creative,” says Le Col CMO Simon Creasey.
The campaign mixes images of the French Alps with the UK’s South East Coast, and the Stevio Pass on the Italian/Swiss border with a Kent hillside.
“It has been challenging to launch our Spring Summer kit in the way we have done in previous years. Instead of fighting it, or looking for loopholes, we decided to embrace it and show off our creative side,” adds Le Col founder Yanto Barker.
Online magazine environments outperform digital attention norms
Ads appearing on magazine websites command higher quality attention than those on other quality content sites, according to new research from eye tracking advertising research company Lumen and magazine marketing body Magnetic.
In the study ‘Putting Attention in Context’, magazines viewed on mobile generated twice as much attention for display advertising as other types of content sites, at 1634 attentive seconds per 1000 impressions compared with just 806 seconds.
On desktop, magazine websites reached 1620 seconds per 1000 impressions, while other types of quality digital display achieved 1008 seconds.
The research also found that more attention leads to increased intention to purchase, even after a single exposure, with purchase intent 3% higher amongst those who were shown to have looked at the ad.
“Attention is what all advertisers are really seeking, and it’s clear that magazines really deliver on this – and that’s even more the case for magazine websites,” says Mike Follet, managing director at Lumen.
“Advertisers who want to command attention should be looking to ‘slow scrolling media’, intensely read content that creates windows of long viewable time for ads to be noticed, as well as sites that offer fewer, better ads.”
Wednesday, 24 March
‘Unprecedented uncertainty’ prompts closure of 48 TUI stores
Travel agent TUI has confirmed that it will be shutting 48 of its high street stores, with affected staff offered roles in other locations.
Last July the tour operator said 166 of its shops that had been forced to close due to the pandemic would not be reopening.
TUI says it was forced to make the decision after suffering an 88% drop in revenue last year.
“We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do,” the company says.
It adds: “We believe Covid-19 has only strengthened a change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home.”
RB rebrands as Reckitt
British consumer goods multinational the Reckitt Benckiser Group has rebranded as Reckitt, complete with a refreshed brand identity and iconography.
The rebrand was overseen by the Conran Design Group and includes a new logo, colour scheme (with ‘energy pink’ the primary corporate colour) and the introduction of a bespoke ‘energy’ typeface.
“The name reflects the existing widespread usage of Reckitt and is clearer, simpler and more memorable, while retaining positive associations with the company’s heritage,” explains Reckitt’s senior vice-president corporate affairs and sustainability Miguel Veiga-Pestana.
Reckitt, which owns brands including Dettol, Nurofen, Durex and Vanish, will roll out the rebrand over a three-year period, replacing old-branded goods organically.
Wagamama brings benches to city centres
British restaurant chain Wagamama has launched a campaign focusing on the brand’s benches, a central feature of the restaurants’ interior designs since the early 1990s.
‘Kintsugi Benches’ looks forward to the gradual lifting of social restrictions by placing Japanese-influenced benches around three cities: Brighton, Bristol and Manchester.
The idea is to encourage people to use them to have socially-distanced outdoor meet-ups and enjoy a free cup of green tea.
“We can’t nourish young people in our restaurants at the moment but we do want to support them coping with the pressure to put their game face on and ‘party’, as soon as lockdown eases,” says Wagamama CEO Emma Woods.
The benches are inspired by Kintsugi, a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the cracks with gold lacquer.
It is the first campaign for Wagamama by creative studio Uncommon.
Music industry enjoys revenue boost
The recorded music industry saw a 7.4% increase in revenue last year, with streaming sites like Apple Music and Spotify accounting for 62.1% of the total overall figure of $21.6bn (£15.7bn).
That’s the highest amount since 2002, with artists like BTS and The Weeknd all selling in big numbers during 2020.
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), over 443 million people subscribe to a music streaming service, compared to 85 million in 2019.
The IFPI’s figures do not include live music revenue, which is the sector of the industry most affected by the pandemic.
With some major festivals scheduled to make some sort of return this summer, the IFPI highlighted the importance of livestreaming and virtual, online concerts during the pandemic.
Brands need to rebuild consumer trust, research finds
Brands are under increased pressure to rebuild consumer trust, according to research carried out by out-of-home media platforms Clear Channel and JCDecaux.
Just 34% of the 1,000 consumers questioned say they trust the brands they use, with 81% confirming trust is a deciding factor when it comes to making a purchase.
The research reveals the top three brand qualities to build trust with UK consumers are product quality (76%), value for price (72%) and transparency (61%). Fair pricing (61%) and no hidden costs (60%) also score high.
That compares to the relatively low-scoring social responsibility (in 10th place, with 56%), environmental sustainability (56%) and ethical (55%).
The research also suggests brands need to consider their advertising spend and how they use influencers and messaging. Just one in five respondents say they are more likely to trust a brand if it is used by influencers or public figures.
“With most of the western world having spent much of the last 12 months in lockdown, consumers have been bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of news, messaging and advertising, and the need for reliable and trustworthy sources of information is increasingly important,” says Clear Channel UK’s joint managing director Richard Bon.
Tuesday, 23 March
Mondelez pushes into wellbeing with Grenade deal
Mondelez International has acquired UK nutrition brand Grenade as it looks strengthen its position in the “important area of wellbeing”.
Grenade, which makes protein bars including Carb Killa, has been the best selling product in the category since 2016, with a 13% share. It is now available in more than 50 countries across regions including North America and Asia Pacific.
The brand was founded by husband and wife team Alan and Juliet Barratt in 2010 and has a strong ecommerce presence, with around 25% of sales coming from online. In addition to protein bars, Grenade has extended its offer to include shakes, spreads and cookies in recent years.
Cadbury owner Mondelez, which is acquiring the gym bar brand from private equity firm Lion Capital for £200m, plans to operate Grenade as a separate business to “nurture its entrepreneurial spirit and maintain the authenticity of the brand”.
Its current leadership team, including Alan Barrett, will continue to run the business from its headquarters in the West Midlands and will retain a minority equity interest in the company.
Mondelez’s chairman and CEO, Dirk Van de Put, describes Grenade’s “on-trend products” as a “great platform for Mondelez International in the UK market and beyond”.
“This is another exciting opportunity to deliver on our strategy to be a global leader in broader snacking, including in the important area of wellbeing,” he adds.
Waitrose bans kids’ magazines with plastic toys
Waitrose is banning children’s magazines offering disposable plastic toys from its shelves as it looks to clamp down on pollution.
The retailer says free plastic toys tend to have a very short lifespan and cannot be easily recycled. It is urging publishers to start offering more sustainable alternatives and for other retailers to “follow our lead”.
Educational and reusable craft items such as colouring pencils and collectable models are exempt from its ban.
Waitrose says it was inspired to make the move after hearing about a campaign by a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd to persuade publishers to end the practice.
The supermarket will remove all offending magazines from its shelves over the next eight weeks.
Waitrose’s director of ethics and sustainability, Marija Rompani, says: “While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive.
“Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution. We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children’s magazines.”
Government is UK’s biggest advertiser in 2020
The Government is was the UK’s biggest advertiser in 2020 as it upped spend significantly to deal with the pandemic. HM Government increased ad spend by 238% last year, hitting an estimated total of £164m, according data from Nielsen.
Unilever came in second with an estimated ad spend of £137.5m, a rise of 76%, while Sky came in third having dropped spend by 31% to £124.2m followed by Procter & Gamble on £117.2m, down 16%.
The rest of the top 10 is made up of McDonald’s (£89.7m down 41%), Tesco (£81.1m up 1%), Public Health England (£80.5m up 796%), Reckitt Benckiser (£75.1m down 10.9%), L’Oréal (£72.4m up 7%) and Amazon (£67.3m down 40%).
Overall spend across the top 10 UK advertisers dropped 19% in 2020, with an estimated combined ad spend of £7.3bn. Five of the top 10 reduced ad spend, with just three brands, excluding the Government and Public Health England, increased investment.
Looking at specific channels, spend was down across the board last year. TV remains the largest channel with a total estimated spend of £4.4bn, followed by out-of-home (£1.1bn), press (£969m), radio (£783m) and cinema (£54.9m).
Nielsen’s UK managing director, Barney Farmer, says: “Not only have we seen the UK Government increase advertising significantly to ensure vital public health messaging, we’ve also seen the biggest players in the advertising space hone in on data and insights available to them to ensure ad spend is as effective as possible.”
WeWork seeks investment as it reveals $3.2bn loss
WeWork lost $3.2bn (£2.3bn) last year as the pandemic forced its co-working spaces around the world to shut.
The loss is a slight improvement on 2019 when the firm posted a loss of $3.5bn thanks severe cost cutting, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. WeWork slashed its capital expenditure from $2.2bn in 2019 to just $49m last year.
WeWork is now looking for $1bn of new investment in a stock market listing, the ‘Project Windmill’ documents reveal. The firm is aiming to go public at a valuation of $9bn including debt, through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company known as a Spac.
Which? launches campaign to address UK’s £1.7bn scam problem
Which? has launched a campaign warning consumers of the three top scams that catch people out each year, costing the UK public £1.7bn.
The brand has created three caricatures to highlight the scams – identity thief, bank impersonator and savings swindler – with each designed to warn consumers of personal and financial scams in a more light-hearted way.
Which? chose to avoid taking a “frightening” approach as it says these types of campaign can be “off-putting” and stop people listening to the message.
The campaign, which has been created by St Luke’s, will launch on social and digital media, print and out of home and also promotes the free Which? scam alert service.
Which? brand director, Neil Caldicott, says: “Which? research shows the devastating financial and emotional impact scams can have. As the scammers become increasingly sophisticated and harder to spot, anyone can be caught out – not just those we might consider most vulnerable.”
Monday, 22 March
Trump plots social media return with ‘own platform’
Donald Trump is plotting a return to social media that will see him launch “his own platform”, after being banned from Twitter in January following the storming of the US Capitol.
Yesterday, the former US president’s advisor Jason Miller told Fox News that Trump will make a return to social media in “two or three months”. Miller claimed Donald Trump’s new platform will “completely redefine the game” and attract “tens of millions” of users. There is also speculation that the former president might create his own TV network to lure right-wing viewers away from Fox News.
Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter for inciting violence during the storming of the US Capitol, and has also been removed from Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook heading for UK competition probe
Facebook is set to become the subject of an antitrust investigation examining the way the social media giant uses customer data to dominate rival platforms and control the online advertising market.
According to the Financial Times, the Competition and Markets Authority will begin its investigation in the next few months, coming a matter of weeks since the body began examining Apple App Store fees and Google’s new privacy settings.
A source close to the investigation told the FT the CMA probe will look into Facebook’s free Marketplace platform, which the European Commission is currently scrutinising amid claims the service is distorting the classified advertising market. The UK investigation is also likely to examine how Facebook is able to collect data from its users to boost its competitive advantage.
The CMA’s new digital markets unit was set up in January to police codes of conduct for the Big Tech giants, working in parallel with the EU. Speaking last month, CMA boss Andrea Coscelli told the BBC Google and Facebook have too great a share of the UK online advertising market and he wanted regulatory changes to deal with their market dominance.
Deliveroo targets £8.8bn IPO as value of orders soars 121%
Deliveroo is targeting a valuation of £8.8bn when it makes its debut on the London Stock Exchange, as orders continue to surge due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The food delivery app, which plans to list at between £3.90 and £4.60 per share, also confirmed that the total value of orders it received rose by 121% in January and February, compared to the same period in 2020.
Deliveroo, which has 45,000 restaurants on its UK platform, is opening the flotation up to customers, who will be able to buy up to £1,000 worth of shares in the firm. The company plans to make £50m worth of total shares available to customers who can register their interest via the app.
The delivery giant also intends to reward its 100,000 riders with cash bonuses of £10,000, £1,000, £500 or £200 depending on the number of orders they have delivered.
Verizon pledges $10m to back #StopAsianHate movement
Telecoms giant Verizon has committed $10m (£7.2m) towards supporting Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the US following rising incidents of hate and abuse.
The $10m donation will be split between organisations advancing social justice for the AAPI community, with $5m (£3.6m) worth of ad inventory being donated through Verizon Media for campaigns and causes that advocate for AAPI rights and mental health, or promote Asian-owned and run small businesses.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg says “staying silent and still is not an option”, adding that action is needed to root out “pervasive hate and discrimination” and there needs to be a united front against racism.
“It’s critical that we as one Verizon and we as a society stand up to hate and support the Asian American community,” adds CMO Diego Scotti.
This decision to support the #StopAsianHate movement comes after Verizon made a $10m donation in June 2020 to social justice organisations in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. A month later the telecoms giant also launched “Citizen Verizon”, an initiative aimed at training 500,000 low-skilled ethnic minority workers for future jobs.
MoneySuperMarket airs new ad before retiring the Money Calm Bull
MoneySuperMarket has rolled out the final campaign featuring its Money Calm Bull character, which made its debut in June 2020.
The campaign, the last to be developed by Engine Creative, shows the Money Calm Bull staying chilled in his final anxiety-inducing scenario – a face off with a Godzilla-style beast in a car park.
The ‘Monster’ ad opens with actor Matt Berry’s voiceover explaining that the Money Calm Bull has just saved £200 insuring his sports car, before the monster decides to stamp all over the vehicle. As well as TV, the ad will run across video-on-demand, social and online for the next three months.
UK’s farming credentials celebrated in new campaign
Not-for-profit food standards organisation Red Tractor is celebrating the beauty of responsibly sourced British produce with a new ad campaign aimed at “price-conscious mainstream shoppers”.
The organisation’s first TV ad since 2018, the new campaign is targeted at shoppers concerned with food safety, provenance and animal welfare. The previous ad focused on raising awareness of the Red Tractor brand and its logo.
The creative, developed by Manchester-based agency Love, will run on video-on-demand and social, as well as across several TV spots including during Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Gogglebox. The campaign features 2.5D stop motion characters and handcrafted miniature sets, exploring Red Tractor’s core values through the eyes of a supermarket shopper trying to make educated food choices.
“Our farmers have enormous pride in the food they grow and rear to feed us, so it was important that this care was replicated in the production of this ad,” says Red Tractor’s head of marketing and commercial, Richard Cattell.
“Love’s creative approach fitted perfectly with these values. Our previous advertisement really chimed with consumers, so we’re excited to bring back some of the characters and visual charm and hope that we can make supermarket navigation for those shoppers who are looking for food that is safe, traceable and farmed with care, that bit easier.”