Peloton, Virgin Money, Apple: 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.


Peloton slashes cost of bike to appeal to an ‘everyday price point’

Peloton is cutting the price of its original Bike product by roughly 20% in a bid to make the brand more “attainable”.

The US fitness company will slash the price across all its markets to $1,495, (£1,088) or $39 (£28) per month with its 39-month financing plan. Peloton is also introducing a longer 43-month 0% financing term option for its Bike+ and Tread products across all regions, which equates to approximately $59 (£43) per month. The brand says it knows price “remains a barrier” and wants to offer its most popular product at an “attractive everyday price point”.

Peloton made a loss of $313.2m (£228m) during the fourth quarter to 30 June, despite revenue growing by 54% to $937m (£682m). The fitness brand’s connected fitness subscribers, who pay to synchronise workout classes with their Peloton equipment, grew 114% to over 2.33 million. The 12-month retention rate of these customers was 92%.

Paid digital subscribers, who can access live and on-demand classes with or without equipment, grew 176% to over 874,000 during the period, while total membership numbers increased to over 5.9 million.

Peloton spent $229.3m (£167m) on sales and marketing during the fourth quarter, up 172.3% from $84.2m (£61m) during the same period in 2020. The brand reports that sales and marketing expenditure represented 24.5% of total revenue in the fourth quarter, versus 13.9% the previous year.

The year-over-year increase in marketing spend reflected the resumption of media investment during the fourth quarter as order-to-delivery windows normalised, as well as the impact of the “unusually low spend” in 2020. The brand now forecasts a “substantial sequential ramp in sales and marketing expense” as it restores media investments over the next quarter.

Peloton is also looking to push corporate subscriptions, encouraging companies to offer its services as part of their employee wellbeing packages. To date Sky, Wayfair, Samsung, SAP and Accenture Interactive have all signed up.

The business describes the corporate wellness market as large and growing, adding that it is “uniquely positioned to add value” through its ability to drive “high engagement and member satisfaction”.

UK eyes post-Brexit data reforms in shift away from EU standards

The UK government says it wants to enter a “new era of data-driven growth” by reforming data legislation following the country’s exit from the EU.

Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sport Oliver Dowden says he wants to “seize the opportunity” by developing a “world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend” for UK businesses. Dowden’s ambition is to reform the nation’s data laws so they are “based on common sense, not box-ticking”.

Part of this strategy is for the UK to seek “international data partnerships” with the US, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia. Future partnerships are also being prioritised with India, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia, the aim being to make it easier for UK organisations to exchange data with “important markets and fast-growing economies”.

The government says with these partnerships it wants to remove “unnecessary barriers and burdens on international data transfers”, opening up global markets and giving consumers access to “faster, cheaper and more reliable products and services”. It will, however, be necessary for the EU to approve any changes to the data standards, as otherwise it could impact data transfer between the EU and UK.

It is important to note that GDPR rules, introduced by the EU in May 2018, remain part of UK law under the Data Protection Act, regardless of Brexit.

The government has also named New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards as its preferred candidate to become the next Information Commissioner, heading up the UK regulator responsible for enforcing data protection law.

Data & Marketing Association (DMA) CEO Chris Combemale welcomes the provisional appointment of Edwards, adding that it is “critical” the new commissioner prioritises striking a better balance between innovation and privacy to help build public trust in data sharing and grow the digital economy.

“Current interpretations of the GDPR are restricting growth across Europe, so the DMA is working closely with the ICO to approve a direct marketing UK Code of Conduct,” says Combemale. “This will help businesses to innovate, while maintaining a high level of privacy protection – the degree necessary to promote the true benefits of data exchange to society.”

READ MORE: UK to overhaul privacy rules in post-Brexit departure from GDPR

Virgin Money says time is right to close charitable giving site

virgin moneyVirgin Money is to close its charity fundraising website Virgin Money Giving by the autumn in a bid to cut costs.

The site will be wound down after the London Marathon in October, Sky News reports, closing for donations on 30 November. The decision to terminate the not-for-profit site, which launched as a lower cost alternative to JustGiving back in 2009, comes as Virgin Money prepares to end its sponsorship of the London Marathon after October’s race.

The company says that without the “brand exposure” provided by the London Marathon sponsorship and given the “significant investment” required to keep the site competitive, it makes sense to close the Virgin Money Giving platform. The closure of the site puts 26 jobs at risk.

Chief brand officer Helen Page says that following the end of the London Marathon sponsorship it is the “right time to bring the service to a close” and help charities migrate to an alternative sustainable giving platform.

Since it was launched to coincide with Virgin Money’s London Marathon sponsorship 12 years ago, the platform has helped 20,000 charities and more than 1 million fundraisers raise in excess of £900m.

READ MORE: Virgin Money to shut down charity fundraising platform in cost-cutting move

Apple makes discount offer to publishers as content focus ramps up

Apple NewsTech giant Apple says it will halve the commission it makes on publishers’ in-app subscription sales if they agree to commit to its Apple News service.

For media outlets which join the News Partner Programme and optimise more of their content into Apple’s preferred format, the company will take a 15% commission on their subscription sales, versus the usual 30%. Apple says that it wants to offer Apple News readers trusted news and information from the world’s top publishers, while supporting publishers’ financial stability and “advancing efforts to further media literacy and diversity in news coverage and newsrooms”.

The programme is designed for subscription news publications that provide their content to Apple News in the Apple News Format (ANF). This format supports advertising, with publishers retaining 100% of ad revenue.

However, to join the new initiative media outlets have to maintain a “robust Apple News channel” in Australia, Canada, the US and UK, publishing all content to the channel in the ANF format. The publisher must have an app that is available to download on the App Store and allow the purchase of auto-renewable subscriptions, while the primary function of the app itself must be to deliver “original, professionally authored news content”.

“Providing Apple News customers with access to trusted information from our publishing partners has been our priority from day one,” says Apple senior vice-president of services, Eddy Cue.

“For more than a decade, Apple has offered our customers many ways to access and enjoy news content across our products and services. We have hundreds of news apps from dozens of countries around the world available in the App Store and created Apple News Format to offer publishers a tool to showcase their content, and provide a great experience for millions of Apple News users.”

In a subsequent move relating to its wider app ecosystem, Apple has agreed to allow developers to email users about alternative payment methods beyond the in-app system, from the tech giant takes a commission on each sale. The concession is part of a US lawsuit brought by iPhone app developers.

Heineken extends commitment to women’s sport

Heineken is expanding its commitment to women’s sport through a series of new partnerships with the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Women’s Euro 2022 and 2025 tournaments, and motor racing championship W Series.

The beer giant’s Champions League partnership will extend until the end of the 2024/25 season and will provide Heineken with additional ticketing, hospitality and branding opportunities, as well as digital fan and in-stadium activations. The deal with UEFA is an extension of Heineken’s 25-year relationship with the organisation across men’s and women’s football.

Through its multi-year deal with the W Series, Heineken will gain visibility at races and run track-side fan experiences, while online the brand will push its ‘Heineken Star of the Track’ activation designed to promote its no alcohol ranges.

For the first time since it launched in 2018, this year W Series will join eight Formula 1 Grand Prix races across the season, giving motorsport fans the opportunity to watch the world’s top female drivers compete. W Series describes the partnership with Heineken as an “exciting step forward” in its mission to further the interests of female racing drivers.

“Our multi-year deals with W Series, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 and 2025 enable us to create even more world-class experiences to enhance the sports that fans love,” adds Heineken global sponsorship manager Julia George.

“We know that fan passion is not determined by gender, but by coming together over the love for the sport and the world class athletes. That’s why we are proud to announce extensions to our partnerships in football and motorsport.”

Thursday, 26 August

TikTok shows entertainment evolution with Ant & Dec

A new ‘Entertainment Now on TikTok’ campaign launches today, featuring TV stars Ant & Dec. It marks the latest stage of the social media platform’s relationship with the entertainers, following a recent partnership with the Saturday Night Takeaway show.

Launching across TV and digital media, the campaign sees Ant & Dec take viewers on a humorous journey through entertainment across the ages. The duo appear as prehistoric cavemen, musical performers in Ancient Rome, Shakespearean actors, and 1920s slapstick players, before being shown in the present day on a TV production set.

The ad then showcases the breadth of entertainment available on TikTok via its community of creators.

“Ant & Dec are the indisputable kings of British entertainment, and we are proud to be working with them on this campaign,” says TikTok head of marketing EMEA James Rothwell. “The sense of joy running through the ad is what TikTok is all about, with an added dose of humour that is unique to their personalities. On TikTok, our community delivers endless entertainment day in, day out in so many different forms and I can’t wait to see how TikTok will evolve as a place where culture is brought to life through video.”

“When TikTok came to us with the idea for this campaign we instantly loved it,” say Ant & Dec. “Creating entertaining content has been at the heart of everything we have done and continue to do.”

Hollister extends teen confidence programme

Fashion brand Hollister is expanding The Hollister Confidence Project to EMEA markets. The year-round initiative is dedicated to helping teenagers feel confident, comfortable and capable.

From this week, organisations that champion teenage wellness are able to apply for Confidence Project grants of up to $50,000, for either one-year general operating expenses or specific projects. According to the company the scheme welcomes applications focused on areas including teen mental health, creating equitable opportunity for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC), and improving safety and inclusion for LGBTQIA+ young people.

“The Hollister Confidence Project has been an important, impactful movement for our customers and communities since its inception in 2020, when it was launched in the US alongside the annual Hollister World Teen Mental Wellness Day,” says Katie Adams, EMEA marketing director at Hollister’s parent company Abercrombie & Fitch.

“After a successful first year of the grant programme, we couldn’t be more proud to expand our funding efforts to EMEA to help enhance teen wellness on a larger scale. We were encouraged by the strong reaction to World Teen Mental Wellness Day in the UK earlier this year and are excited to see the appetite and passion for building confidence among teens in EMEA year-round.”

Hybrid working model for Premier Foods

Oxo Premier FoodsPremier Foods is introducing a new hybrid working model for office-based staff, such as marketing teams, in a bid to boost productivity and improve personal wellbeing.

From this month the group, which is home to brands including Bisto, Oxo and Mr Kipling, is to let more than 800 staff choose the location where they feel able to work best. All of those in people management roles are being given extra training, on issues such as mental health provision and practical help, to support the transition.

Colleagues who can work remotely will be encouraged to work where they are most productive, not at a set location. The change follows a number of focus group sessions that involved more than 100 employees.

“This isn’t about getting rid of the office altogether, it’s about shifting our mindset on what it means to be flexible. Work is a verb not a place and whether it’s for a team meeting of just personal preference, our office remains open for anyone who wants to use it. What it’s not, is somewhere  colleagues have to be for the sake of showing their face,” says Premier Foods group HR director David Wilkinson.

“This is a significant step change that reflects how far we’ve come as a business. Innovation has always been a key focus for Premier Foods and so it makes sense for us to apply the same progressive thinking to our policies, as we do our brands,” he adds. “Our new model will create a workplace that fosters mutual flexibility and trust, while retaining our ways of working, which have seen us deliver continued outperformance over the past few years.”

Palmers sponsorship deal for Married at First Sight

Cocoa butter brand Palmer’s has agreed a new sponsorship deal for E4 reality show Married at First Sight UK.

Launching next week, the show will feature Palmer’s branding on E4 and streaming platform All 4. Palmer’s will use the exposure to showcase the depth of its range, which includes the Coconut Oil Formula Body and Hair range, self-tanning products, and a new Coconut Oil Formula Facial range. It’s target audience is women and E4’s key 16-34 year old demographic.

“We are thrilled to be sponsoring such an exciting show, that has a huge and cult-like following. At its core Palmer’s is a feel-good brand that grows with you and is there for all the milestones in one’s life, which is why this is the perfect partnership for the brand,” says Palmer’s marketing director Zahira Beddou.

“The Married at First Sight UK sponsorship provides the brand with a fantastic platform to connect with a core female audience and showcase the depth of the Palmer’s range.”

Nutella launches nationwide tour

Nutella is setting off on its first-ever UK tour, with a ‘Happy Portion’ van offering consumers a free breakfast in exchange for a smile.

Starting today at Boxpark in London’s Shoreditch, the van will travel more than 450 miles over five days to visit Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, before stopping at Chester Zoo. TV celebrity Joe Swash will be present at the start of the tour.

A choice of two breakfasts will be on offer from the van, both featuring the cocoa hazelnut spread.

“We are always looking at ways to spread happiness and what better way than to provide a delicious Nutella-topped breakfast on us,” says James Stewart, marketing director for Nutella, Ferrero UK & Ireland. “There are so many different ways to elevate your breakfast with one heaped teaspoon of Nutella, so we decided to get on the road with two tasty recipes for our fans to try and all we are asking in exchange for our delicious breakfasts is a smile.”

Wednesday, 25 August


Airbnb offers temporary housing to Afghan refugees

Home rental brand Airbnb is to offer temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide.

The company says that it has already been working with partners in the US to find safe housing for 165 refugees after the arrived in the country over the weekend.

“We are providing this housing through resettlement agencies and partners, who are in direct coordination with refugees and are advising on their needs for length of stay,” an Airbnb spokesperson told reporters.

“While we are only providing temporary (not permanent) housing, we are committed to housing these families for as long as they need.”

The move will be funded by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and donations to the company’s charity.

READ MORE: Airbnb to provide temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees

Channel 4 and TikTok team up to create Tokyo 2020 Paralympics hub

Channel 4 has partnered with TikTok to create a Paralympics hub, showing highlights and captivating moments from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which began yesterday.

The hub will feature a schedule of Paralympics content from Channel 4, created by its 4Studio digital content unit, including behind-the-scenes access with athletes, event and medals highlights, with a split-screen ‘reaction’ format and Q&As.

TikTok users in the UK can use the hub without leaving the platform, while Channel 4 videos will also use TikTok’s ‘text-to-speech’ feature to help members of the community with visual and reading impairments enjoy the content.

“We’ve seen huge engagement with our C4 and E4 accounts on TikTok with over 23 million views since launch in March this year,” says Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon.

“We hope the hub will not only attract new audiences to the Games but also further improve visibility and understanding of disability, and inspire the next generation of Paralympians.”

General manager for TikTok UK and Europe Rich Waterworth adds that the link up with Channel 4 was the latest in the social platform’s ongoing coverage of live sports events.

“We’re delighted to be working even more closely with Channel 4 to support them to make the Paralympics even more discoverable and accessible to the widest possible UK audience,” Waterworth says.

“With Paralympics content already doing well on our platform, we’re confident the Hub will be a huge success and give fans new and creative ways to enjoy the thrill of the tournament.”

Amazon offers £1,000 joining bonus to UK staff

Amazon UK warehouseTech giant Amazon is reportedly offering a £1,000 joining bonus to new UK recruits as it struggles to find staff, including warehouse pickers and packers.

As well as the one-off bonus, job ads are currently offering up to £11.10 an hour (and double that for overtime shifts).

It’s the latest move by an under-pressure household name that’s been left reeling by both the fallout from Brexit and reopening after lockdown, most notably with a drastic shortage of lorry drivers, causing ongoing problems for supply chains.

The jobs are on offer at Amazon warehouses across the UK, including at Darlington, Dartford, Swansea, Redditch and Coventry, and the bonus offer is available until later on next month.

READ MORE: UK hiring woes: Amazon lures new recruits with £1,000 joining bonus

Sure hopes to inspire people to move without fear of judgement

Deodorant brand Sure’s ‘Watch Me Move’ campaign is hoping to challenge stereotypes and encourage greater inclusivity within the movement space.

Timed to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and centred around a 30-second television slot, the campaign features eight content creators and athletes who defy society’s ability and standards, including Manchester City and England amputee footballer Sean Jackson.

Created by UStudio and produced by MoFilm, the campaign follows a recent consumer study that found one in two UK adults do not feel represented by sports advertising, by athletes on television or on social media.

“We know that people often feel hindered because of perceptions of what makes a ‘mover’, and by shining a light on the inspirational people in our ‘Watch me Move’ film we want to start to address some of the barriers that exist when we exercise,” says Unilever vice-president of beauty and personal care UK and Ireland, Chris Barron.

Budweiser extends deal as official beer partner of The O2 arena

Budweiser Brewing Group UK and Ireland is to extend its partnership with the O2 arena by a further five years.

A founding partner when the London venue first opened back in 2007, Budweiser Brewing Group has had its beers available exclusively across the venue, including at a number of branded bars.

Budweiser Brewing Group UK and Ireland on-trade sales director Jean-David Thumelaire explains that the group likes to build partnerships for the long-term.

“We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with our customer pubs and bars throughout what has been an incredibly challenging period,” he says.

“The extension of our partnership with AEG, and the iconic The O2 arena, further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the recovery of our live event partners.”

The group has played a central role in upgrading the venue’s concourses and branding of island bars on multiple levels. The O2 has sold over 25 million tickets for more than 2,000 shows since opening.

Tuesday, 24 August


Boots to sell makeup and medicine on Deliveroo in on-demand trial

Boots has become the latest high street brand to partner with Deliveroo, as the retailer launches a 14-store trial in cities across the country.

The pilot covers areas including London, Edinburgh and Nottingham, with plans to roll out more widely if successful.

Deliveroo will be able to offer customers around 400 Boots products, from vitamins, plasters and pain relief, to No7 cosmetics, make-up, sandwiches, toiletries and baby essentials.

“We are very excited about this new partnership with Deliveroo and have carefully selected over 400 products for its launch to help our customers get the things they need, when they need them,” says Paula Bobbett, director of at Boots UK.

“It will be super handy for times when you need something urgently but can’t leave the house, like if you’re feeling unwell or are looking after your kids. Our online business continues to grow and this partnership offers our customers a way to access our products quickly and easily.”

Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic Boots has seen a continued increase in online sales, with website sales soaring 85% between March 2020 and a year later. Over the same period a number of supermarkets joined the Deliveroo platform, including Waitrose, Co-op, Sainbury’s and Aldi.

However, there is serious doubt as to whether high street stores and supermarkets will be able to make a profit from rapid, on-demand delivery, due to the high fees charged on sales. Nevertheless, Deliveroo is continuing to develop its on-demand offering, with grocery coverage now reaching 70% of the UK population.

READ MORE: Boots to offer drugs and make-up on Deliveroo

Currys PC World unveils flexible mobile plan amid brand overhaul

Tech retailer Currys PC World has launched a “market-first” mobile offering, promising flexibility, transparency and greater value.

The proposition will allow customers to create a tailored package in line with their needs and budget, packaging up a device, multi-network connectivity and accessories, while the cost can be spread through flexible payment options.

According to the retailer, the mobile offering has been two years in the making and comes following feedback from store colleagues on the challenges customers tell them they face when looking for a new mobile package.

Customer research by the brand also found that 93% of its customers want to see a mobile offering that offers greater value, package flexibility and transparency of cost. Meanwhile, Brits are holding onto devices for longer and using more data than ever before, consuming an average of 34% more data last year compared to 2019.

The service is housed on the Currys brand website, as the business transitions from four brands in the UK to just one. The rebrand is rolling out to stores early next year.

“We exist to help everyone enjoy amazing technology, and for many of our customers, a mobile phone is the most important and most used piece of tech in their lives,” says Ed Connolly, chief commercial officer at Currys PC World’s parent company, Dixons Carphone.

“We’ve really listened to our customers and have also applied many learnings from the last 12 months. The result being a more agile and nimble mobile offering that truly reflects how people want to phone-shop in today’s post-pandemic world – a flexible, transparent, and great value offering.”

Balmain teams up with Channel 4 on first branded drama series

Luxury fashion house Balmain is launching a short-form drama series with Channel 4, marking the broadcaster’s first branded entertainment series and the first time a fashion house has partnered with a broadcaster in this way.

Launching on 2 September to coincide with London Fashion Week, ‘Fracture’ consists of five eight-minute episodes, with the cast’s wardrobe featuring Balmain’s ‘Fall 2021’ designs. The series is set in the desolate Le Rêve Motel on the outskirts of L.A., a “shabby but charming” landing spot for an array of characters.

Viewers can watch the series on Channel 4’s YouTube channel, as a box set on All 4, or on a bespoke co-branded website created for the series.

Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing oversaw the creative direction of Fracture, which was created by Michail Papadogkonas and Catherine Hope, written by Glenn Waldron and directed by Bradley & Pablo.

“Fracture helps to make very clear Balmain’s determination to continue to break down boundaries and engage in unexpected, compelling and entertaining ways with lovers of fashion, music and design,” explains Rousteing.

4Studio’s commercial lead Matt Ford adds: “4Studio is leading the re-invention of short-form branded entertainment, supporting the delivery of Channel 4’s Future4 strategy to accelerate digital growth. We’re looking forward to pushing boundaries together with more premium brand partners in the future to create quality content that our viewers love – wherever they’re watching.”

Virgin Media encourages Paralympics support with new campaign

Virgin Media has today launched #WeAreHere, a virtual campaign intended to rally the nation around the GB team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Like the Olympics, strict Covid restrictions in Japan mean the Paralympics is unable to host any in person fans, friends or family – so Virgin Media believes the role of home support is “more important than ever”.

Celebrities Alex Brooker, Roman Kemp, Sophie Morgan and Lutalo Muhammad feature in a launch film which encourages viewers to join Virgin Media’s ‘Wave of Support’ on social media. Fans across Britain are asked to upload videos of themselves using the #WeAreHere hashtag on Twitter, recreating their own version of a Mexican wave.

#WeAreHere is designed to demonstrate how Virgin Media’s connectivity can help fans show their support for athletes despite being 6,000 miles away and eight hours behind.

“With our Paralympians competing on the other side of the world without fans, friends, family or loved ones in attendance, they need our support more than ever,” says Virgin Media O2’s director of brand and marketing, Simon Groves.

“That’s why we’re calling on a host of stars and the British public to join our WeAreHere campaign and take part in the Wave of Support to show them our support that will hopefully spur them on to success in Tokyo.”

The campaign is the first launched by Virgin Media O2 under the leadership of Groves, who was promoted to the top marketing role last week. He has replaced former marketing heads Cilesta Van Doorn and Nina Bibby, who both departed following the merger of the two companies.

Online grocery purchases fall amid recovering in-store sales

With most Covid restrictions lifted, UK supermarkets experienced 50 million more in-store visits in the four weeks ending 14 August than during the same period last year, driving £7.7bn in in-store sales.

Consequently, online grocery sales have dropped by 10% to £1.1bn, according to till data released today (24 August) by NielsenIQ. However, online remains a popular channel with UK shoppers even as pandemic regulations ease. Online share of grocery spend has declined to 12.7%, but remains close to the 13.4% recorded in May 2020 during the height of the first lockdown.

Visits to stores rose 12%, an increase Nielsen attributes to improved shopper confidence following the growth in vaccination rates, the removal of social distancing restrictions, and a boost from summer weather.

Indeed, total till grocer sales grew by 1.1% over the period, assisted by a short heatwave in the week ending 24 July when sales peaked at +6.2% – the most upbeat weekly sales since Easter.

Categories experiencing healthy growth include confectionery (+9.6%), soft drinks (+5.5%), delicatessen (+9.5%), and bakery (+8.1%). On the other hand, frozen food and alcohol saw sales decline by -4% and -6% respectively, although this is due to the categories having experienced exceptionally high sales last year.

Discount supermarkets Lidl (16%) and Aldi (7.3%) led the market in terms of growth in the last 12 weeks, while at the more premium end, Marks & Spencer (5.5%) also continued to experience good growth.

“The decline in online sales was expected as it is largely due to shoppers no longer needing to make such large shops as lifestyles finally started to normalise,” explains NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins.

“What is important is that despite there being a lack of new online shoppers over the last 12 weeks, existing online shoppers are staying – just spending differently.”

Monday, 23 August

Apple storeApple puts off return to office until 2022

Apple will not order employees back to the office until 2022 over concerns about the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and rise of the delta variant.

Previously the technology giant told its global corporate workforce it would start a phased return to the office from October.

According to Bloomberg News, the iPhone maker has said employees will be notified a month in advance of reopening plans. The company does not expect to close its retail stores or offices, but strongly recommend all staff get vaccinated.

Apple had reversed its decision on its mask-wearing policy for retail staff, which was only scrapped in June. In its previous plan for office workers, staff were asked to come in Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In the UK, Apple has 7,000 staff and 38 retail store, the most in Europe. It plans to open a new 42 acre European HQ in Battersea power station in London.

Microsoft has also pushed back its office reopening from September to 4 October. Amazon is allowing staff to work remotely until 3 January and has extended its voluntary work from home period until 18 October.

READ MORE: Apple delays return to corporate offices until 2022 as Covid cases rise

Morrisons accepts takeover bid

morrisonsMorrisons has accepted an improved £7bn bid from US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

Prior to the agreement, the supermarket brand recommended shareholders accept a £6.7bn bid from a US-based investment group Fortress. The latter is yet to concede as it is “considering its options”.

The rival investment group has urged Morrisons’s shareholders to “take no action” on the improved bid from CD&R. However, Morrisons’s board has unanimously accepted the new offer.

Previously the supermarket had turned down a bid from CD&R worth £5.5bn, stating it significantly undervalued the business.

Shares in the supermarket grew 4.4% following the announcement, to 291.4p per share.

READ MORE: Morrisons backs US firm’s improved £7bn takeover offer

Tesla humanoid robot to launch next year

TeslaTesla has unveiled a humanoid robot prototype dubbed the “Tesla Bot”, which will launch next year to carry out “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work.

Chief executive Elon Musk showcased the robot at the car manufacturer’s AI Day. The robot is 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall and weighs 125 pounds (56kg). Examples of the tasks it will be given include attaching bolts to cars picking up groceries at stores.

Musk says the innovation has the potential to plug gaps in the workforce in times of shortage and highlights how vital it will be for the machine to not be “super expensive”.

The robot will be an extension of Tesla’s self-driving cars and use the same computer chips and navigation systems with eight cameras.

The announcement comes as Tesla is being investigated by the US government over the safety of the ‘Autopilot’ feature in its cars after 17 people were injured and one was killed while it was active.

READ MORE: Humanoid ‘Tesla Bot’ likely to launch next year, says Elon Musk

Cadbury launches digital campaign for Wispa Gold

Cadbury has unveiled a digital campaign to support the launch of its new Wispa Gold hazelnut chocolate bar in a bid to attract younger consumers.

Created with agency VCCP London, the campaign is titled ‘A New Type of Gold’ and will roll out across social, press and PR.

Cadbury is presenting the new chocolate as a rare mineral such as gold and silver, offering the opportunity to secure a #WispaGoldHF share which can be exchanged for Wispa Gold Hazelnut Flavour bars.

The value of one share will be updated on the @CadburyUK Twitter account and those who secure shares will be given the chocolate before general release.

The campaign is also supported by YouTube content creator Niko Omilana, who will “inject a new youthful personality to Wispa Gold and head up the campaign.”

Cadbury junior brand manager Joshua Collier says: “We’ve branded our Wispa Gold hazelnut flavour bar our ‘New Type of Gold’ due to its rarity and delicious hazelnut-flavoured caramel filling.

“Just like real gold, we’ve decided to turn our bars into a new (and fun) commodity, giving our fans the chance to receive a very tasty dividend of multiple bars of the limited-edition chocolate bar to share with their friends and family.”

Avanti West Coast to broadcast “feel-good vibes” in campaign

Train operating company Avanti West Coast is launching a “major campaign” to showcase its travel services.

Created with adam&eveDDB, the campaign is titled ‘Feel Good Travel’ and stars a rollerblading turtle.

A TV ad follows the turtle’s journey as it skillfully ducks and dives through the streets of London on its rollerblades, avoiding traffic jams and roadworks, before effortlessly escaping into the countryside – surprising a horse and some sheep.

The creative will break on TV with a 60-second advert. The ad also appears on video-on-demand, out-of-home sites and radio, in print and digital media, and with supporting social activations.

Avanti West Coast marketing director Kate Squires says: “We really want to inject a feel-good vibe when people think about travelling with us. That’s the purpose of this campaign.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring people back on board and shout about all of the great reasons why it’s the best way to get around. This is the perfect way to do it.”